Like most folks, I seem to have a perpetual need for realistic test data. While there are many databases available, sometimes the need is quite simple. All I need is some names, perhaps dates and phone numbers that can be used for testing my applications, SSIS or SQL Server Reports. I decided to take care of this need once and for all, and set out with a simple goal. At the conclusion of my work I wanted to wind up with a realistic looking, but totally fake set of data. I wanted to do it in the simplest means possible, using whatever tools I had available. Finally, I wanted to do it as quickly as possible.
Along the way I documented my efforts, as well as created a sample table with 100,000 rows. When I started I thought to publish everything in a blog post, but it turned out to be far too much for a single blog post. Thus I decided to document everything in a white paper, and upload all the code to a MSDN Code Gallery site. Note that while I used the 2008 versions of SQL Server and Visual Studio, the SQL Scripts should run just fine with SQL Server 2005.
You can find everything at http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/SqlServerSampleData . Look in the downloads section for the complete PDF with all the details, as well as all of the sample data. Using the techniques outlined in the white paper you too could easily be generating your own test data for a wide variety of projects.