Creating sample data for SharePoint with SPDG

If you work like I do trying to setup test environments in SharePoint often, the experience is great when you finally get all the bells and whistles activated for the features you need to test, but then what?

Now you have a great looking environment with no data! A SharePoint farm with no data in it is like a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips in it. You might as well throw it away and go get something else to eat.

Never fear though as I have recently discovered a great tool that can auto generate much of the content needed to flesh out a SharePoint farm and it happen to be an open source project on GitHub created by the same fine folks that created SPDocKit!

It’s called SPDG (short for SharePoint Data Generator) and it’s another awesome tool to add to your arsenal if you don’t already use it.

Just head over to Github at the following link and check it out here!

Below is an example screenshot to give you an idea of what it looks like:

What is even better about this tool is that you can use it to generate as much content or as little as you need to flesh out your test box. It works with SharePoint Online, and even older versions of SharePoint like 2010!

This tool is so great and I can see so many uses for it, I may just have to do a demo video of this sometime down the road, so stay tuned! I’d love to see more folks talking about this because it definitely saves a lot of time and effort to fill up an empty farm when you need to give a demo!

Many thanks again to the guys over at SysKit for developing something awesome like this!

I hope you enjoy it as well!

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Keep your VM’s neat and tidy

If you are like me, you tend to create Virtual Machines (VM’s) every so often to test different scenarios. And if you are also like me you are constantly running into and complaining that you have no free storage space on any drives internal or external to create more VM’s to do more testing with. What can I say? Nature abhors a vacuum.

So today I want to make you aware of a couple of things that I like to do for monthly maintenance items when using personal VM’s.

First, I like to go into the VM itself and run storage cleanup on the drive itself to get rid of things like windows updates, temp storage, and cached items from other sources that just take up unnecessary room on the OS drive in my VM.

Usually this starts by right clicking on the OS drive itself and choosing “Disk Cleanup”.

Hardware 
local Disk 
file system NTFS 
used space 
Free space 
Cap acity 
126.195.417.088bytes 
385.388.032.OOObytes 
511.583.449.088bytes 
Chive C 
Shanng 
117G8 
358 Gd 
476 Gd 
Disk Cleanup

The above image came from a Windows 10 box, but your mileage may vary and most windows servers and client machines have a similar setting.

On certain servers however, you may have to go in and activate the “Desktop Experience” feature in order to have this button show.

Here’s a link to TechNet for Windows Server 2012 as an example.

So now you may have freed up some valuable space on your VM, but did you know if you use VMWare there is another setting that can be just as beneficial?

If you use VMWare Workstation there is a setting under the VM menu, located under the manage section called “Clean Up Disks…” and this can be just as beneficial at freeing up more space. Find this option after highlighting a VM in your list of VM’s.

Choosing this option will open another window that will look like this:

Disk Cleanup 
Disk cleanup can redaim disk space thatisallocated to virtual disk files but 
that the guest OS no longer uses. 
Disk space used by this virtual machine: 80.8 GE 
O Reclaimable space: 4.7 GE 
Clean up novv

By selecting the “Clean up now” option this will give back space to your drive that you can now use to create more and more lovely Virtual Machines to test more and more scenarios with.

I’m not sure if Virtual Box or Hyper-V have a similar setting, but hopefully they do. That may be another post down the road…

Hopefully this helps with any spring cleaning you might do, but it’s definitely one thing to revisit if you are actively testing scenarios locally or in a big virtual environment.

Enjoy!

-BJ