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Project Server Data Populator tool

Project Server 2007

Updated: March 26, 2009

Updated: 2009-03-26

In this article:

The Project Server Data Populator tool is a utility in the Project Server 2007 Project Resource Kit (PRK). It enables Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 administrators to generate custom field, resource, project, task, and assignment data in bulk by using the Project Server Interface. Whether you are planning new Enterprise Project Management (EPM) implementations or expanding existing ones, you can use this tool to validate performance and storage-related metrics and determine hardware and architectural requirements.

The Project Server Data Populator can be run from a command prompt or by using the provided graphical user interface. All data properties and settings are stored in XML files.

Click to download (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=A33D253C-6424-48E4-B87E-0861D1977BB7&displaylang=en) the Project Server 2007 PRK from the Microsoft Download Center.

Requirements

The Project Server Data Populator tool has the following requirements for usage:

  • Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2003.

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.x or 3.x.

  • Administrator permissions on the Project Server 2007 instance that you are accessing.

Use new or saved settings

Download the Project 2007 PRK and extract the files. The file named PSDP.exe is the executable file for the Project Server Data Populator tool.

After starting the tool, the Step one: Use New or Saved Settings page appears. On this page, you choose between new and existing settings:

  • Specify whether you want to generate data with new data settings or use existing data settings.

  • If you are creating new data settings, select which data types you want to create in the Settings summary section.

    Project SErver 2007 data populator - Step 1

Create new data settings

Select New data settings if you want to create new data population settings. After you select this option, you can also choose to use an existing template to facilitate easy execution of a common data population scenario.

NoteNote:

Any data settings that you configure in a session can be saved to a template. This can be done after settings configuration is complete. See the "Save data settings to a template" section later in this article.

Use existing data settings

Click Existing data settings if you want to use a saved data file. You can browse for previously saved settings files which will automatically populate all custom-field, lookup-table, resource, project, task, and assignment data in the Project Server Data Populator tool.

Click the button next to the Settings File field to browse to the saved settings file you want to use. After selecting the file, click Open. This command automatically fills the data settings with the saved settings information.

NoteNote:

Settings files that are reused often should be saved to a template. This will make them easily available from the Template drop-down list. See the "Save data settings to a template" section later in this article.

Settings summary

In the Settings summary section of the Step one: Use New or Saved Settings page, administrators can select which features they want to include within Project Server. The choices are:

  • Custom fields

  • Lookup tables

  • Resources

  • Projects

  • Tasks

  • Assignments

The features you select determine what other steps appear in the wizard.

  • If you are creating new data settings, select the features you want to populate in Project Server.

  • If you are loading the settings from an existing settings file, these options are selected depending on the contents of the settings file. You can choose to modify a loaded existing settings file as needed, however.

Click Next when you are ready to proceed to the next page in the tool.

Connect to Project Server

On the Step Two: Connect to Project Server page, you specify the Project Server 2007 instance to which you want to connect, and you specify the authentication mode with which you are connecting to it.

Project Server 2007 data populator - Step 2
  1. In the Project Server URL box, type the URL of your Project Server instance. Click Check to verify that you can connect to the URL you specified.

  2. In the Connect using section, select an authentication mode for connecting to Project Server. Select either:

    • Use Windows Account information.

    • Use Project authentication. If you are using forms-based authentication to connect to Project Server 2007, use this option. You will also need to enter your user name and password.

      NoteNote:

      Project Server 2007 only supports Windows or forms-based authentication.

    You can use the Check button to verify whether you can connect to Project Server with the information you have entered.

    NoteNote:

    Connection information is stored in the PSDP.exe.config file. Passwords are not stored.

  3. After configuring this page, click Next.

Configure enterprise custom fields

If the Custom Fields or Lookup Tables option was selected in the Settings Summary section of the Step one: Use New or Saved Settings page, then the Step Three: Enterprise Custom Fields page appears.

Project Server data populator - Step 3

If you chose one option but not the other (for example, you chose Custom Fields but not Lookup Tables), then the non-selected section would be unavailable on this page (in this example, the Lookup Tables section would be dimmed).

Use this page to configure the parameters for your custom field and lookup table for the data you are populating to Project Server.

The following are the custom-field parameters that are configurable on this page:

Parameter Description

Name prefix

The string that is added as a prefix to all custom field names.

Use new lookup table only

Ensures that text custom fields with lookup tables specified for this session only use lookup tables created in this session. Not checking this option means that text custom fields with lookup tables created in this session can use lookup tables that currently exist on the server.

The following fields are available under all three custom field types (Resource, Project, and Task) and share common descriptions:

  Text

The number of Text fields.

  Text with LT

The number of Text fields with a lookup table.

  Number

The number of Number fields.

  Date

The number of Date fields.

  Cost

The number of Cost fields.

  Duration

The number of Duration fields.

The following are Lookup Table parameters that are configurable on this page:

Parameter Description

Count

The number of lookup tables.

Item character length

The number of characters in the node.

Number of levels:

  Average

The average number of levels within a lookup table.

  Deviation

The deviation range (higher and lower) from the average.

Nodes per level:

  Average

The average number of nodes within a specific lookup-table level.

  Deviation

The deviation range (higher and lower) from the average.

After configuring this page, click Next.

Configure enterprise resources

If the Resources feature was selected in the Settings Summary section of the Step one: Use New or Saved Settings page, then the Step Four: Enterprise Resources page appears.

Project Server data populator - Step 4

Use this page to configure your resource and user parameters for the data you are populating to Project Server.

The following are the resource parameters that are configurable on this page:

Parameter Description

Count

The number of resources to be generated.

Name prefix

The string that is added as a prefix to all custom-field names.

Digits count

Determines how many digits make up the index string for the resource name. For example, if "Res" is the name prefix, a Digits count value of "3" would produce a resource name of "Res001".

Start index

Index with which the resource name suffix should begin. Using the previous example, a Start index value of "100" would produce resource names starting with "Res100", followed by "Res101", "Res102", and so on.

Type

The type of resource: Cost, Material, or Work.

Custom fields

Determines how many custom field values should be assigned for each resource. Custom fields are chosen randomly.

Generic resources

Resources are created with the Generic flag set to True.

Create user

Enables a Project Server logon account for each resource. Without this account, generated resources cannot log on to Project Server.

The Data Populator tool can automatically generate Windows or Forms authenticated accounts for resources. When creating Windows accounts, the user must have appropriate permissions for a given domain.

The following are the user parameters that are configurable on this page:

Parameter Description

Auth

The type of account to be created:

  • Windows

  • Project (forms-based authentication)

    NoteNote:

    Project Server 2007 only supports Windows or forms-based authentication. Select Project to create forms-authenticated user accounts.

Password

The password assigned to each account.

Domain

The domain in which the accounts will be created. Available only for Windows authenticated accounts.

Create Login

You must select this option for the accounts to be created. Do not select this option if the accounts already exist.

User new data only

Custom fields that currently exist on the target server are ignored. This applies only if the Custom Fields field (configured in the Resource Parameters section) is greater than 0.

Load Security Info

You can automatically assign resources to Project Server security groups and categories on the target server. Load the security groups by clicking the Load Security Info button to fill the lists, and then select the security groups and categories from the lists.

Security Groups

This list fills with security groups from Project Server after you click the Load Security Info button. From this list, you can select the security groups to which you want to assign resources. To choose more than one security group, press the CTRL key while selecting multiple items.

Security Categories

This list fills with security categories from Project Server after you click the Load Security Info button. From this list, you can select the security categories to which you want to assign resources. To choose more than one security category, press the CTRL key while selecting multiple items.

After configuring this page, click Next.

Configure projects and tasks

If the Projects feature was selected in the Settings Summary section of the Step one: Use New or Saved Settings page, the Step Five: Projects and Tasks page appears.

Project Server data population step five

Use this page to configure your project and task parameters for the data you are adding to Project Server.

The following are the project parameters that are configurable on this page:

Parameter Description

Count

The number of projects to be generated.

Name prefix

The string that is added as a prefix to all project names that are generated.

Digits count

Determines how many digits make up the index string for the project name. For example, if "Proj" is the name prefix, a Digits count value is "3" would produce a resource name of "Proj001".

Start index

Index with which the project name suffix should begin. Using the previous example, a start index value of "100" would produce project names starting with "Proj100", followed by "Proj101", "Proj102", and so on.

%Published

The percentage of the created projects to publish.

Start date:

  Min

The minimum start date for projects.

  Max

The maximum start date for projects.

Custom fields

Determines how many custom field values should be assigned for each project. Custom fields are chosen randomly.

Owner prefix

Resources matching the prefix specified here become project owners for projects created in this session. Owner assignments are random within the prefix match.

Create workspace during publishing

Published projects in this session will have Windows SharePoint Services workspaces created.

Wait for queue while populating data

The execution of any queue operation waits until the operation is completed before executing the next queued operation. In the case of projects, each subsequent project creation waits until the previous one is completed.

Use new data only

Custom fields and resources that currently exist in the target server are ignored.

The following are the task parameters that are configurable on this page:

Parameter Description

Count per project

The number of projects to be generated.

  Average

The average number of tasks per project.

  Deviation

The deviation range (higher and lower) from the average.

Name prefix

The string that is added as a prefix to all task names that are generated.

%Summary

The percentage of tasks that will be summary tasks.

%Predecessors

The percentage of tasks that will be predecessor tasks.

Duration (in days):

  Average

The average duration of tasks (in days).

  Deviation

The deviation range (higher and lower) from the average.

Custom fields

How many custom field values should be assigned for each task. Custom fields are chosen randomly.

Parallel execution threads

Number of threads running concurrently to generate project data. Increasing this number may significantly decrease the time it takes for the Data Populator tool to generate project data. The number of threads used is completely dependent on hardware capabilities of the server infrastructure, but no more than 10 threads should be used in most cases. The default value is 1.

After configuring this page, click Next.

Configure assignments

If the Assignments feature was selected in the Settings Summary section of the Step one: Use New or Saved Settings page, the Step Six: Assignments page appears.

Project Server Data Population - step 6

Use this page to configure your assignment parameters for the data you are populating to Project Server.

The following are the assignment parameters that are configurable on this page:

Parameter Description

Resources per project:

  Average

The average number of resources in a project's project team.

  Duration

The deviation range (higher and lower) from the average.

Resources per task:

  Average

The average number of resources on a task (the number of assignments per task).

  Duration

The deviation range (higher and lower) from the average.

% Complete per assignment:

  Average

The average percentage complete value per assignment.

  Duration

The deviation range (higher and lower) from the average.

Project Scope:

  Use only Projects created during this session

Assignments to be added to projects created in this data-population session.

  Use all Projects on the server

Assignments are created in projects that currently exist on the server. This is the default selection.

  Project name prefix

Assignments are only created for projects with names matching the prefix specified here.

Resource Scope:

  Use only Resources created during this session

If this option is selected, assignments will only be given to resources created in this data population session.

  Use all Resources on the server

Assignments are created for resources that currently exist on the server. This is the default selection.

  Resource Name prefix

Assignments are given to resources with names matching the prefix specified here.

Publish assignments

All assignments are published.

Wait for queue while populating data

Execution of any queue operation waits until the operation is completed before executing the next queued operation. In the case of assignments, each subsequent assignment creation waits until the previous one is completed.

Parallel execution thread

Number of threads running concurrently to generate project data. Increasing this number may significantly decrease the time it takes for the Data Populator to generate project data. The number of threads used is completely dependent on hardware capabilities of the server infrastructure, but no more than 10 threads should be used in most cases. The default value is 1.

After configuring this page, click Next.

Populate data

The Step Seven: Populate Data page allows you to:

  • Populate Project Server with data based on your configured settings

  • Save the settings to a file

  • Save the settings to a template

    Project Server Data Populator step 7

Populate Project Server with data based on your configured settings

The Settings summary list shows the quantity of each entity to be created on the Project Server instance. Click Back to go to any of the previous settings pages to make any corrections.

NoteNote:

Before running the tool, note that as data is generated you can record this information to a log file. To do this, select Logfile, and then click the button to specify a path and log-file name.

Click Start to begin populating your Project Server instance with your data. The Log list shows the contents of the log file as data is generated. View your log entries to check for any problems that may have occurred. Errors are highlighted in red.

Clicking Clear Display clears the contents of the Log list.

Save the settings to a file

On the Step Seven: Populate Data page, you have the option to save a specific group of settings to an XML file for later reference. This file can be opened later by browsing to it after selecting the Use existing settings option on the Step one: Use New or Saved Settings page.

NoteNote:

If you plan on reusing the file in the future, you may want to save your settings to a template.

To save your settings to a file

  1. On the Step Seven: Populate Data page, click Save Settings.

  2. On the Save As page, select a location and type a name for the settings file, and click Save.

Save the settings to a template

Common data population scenarios that you plan to reuse should be saved to a template. This makes them easily accessible through the Templates list on the Step One: Use New or Saved Settings page. For example, you may want to create individual templates for a small organization, medium organization, and a large organization with different data-population settings for each. When you are testing for performance across different data scenarios on various servers, data for each can be easily called up through the template.

To create a templates

  1. Click Save Settings to save your settings to an XML file. On the Save As page, select a location and type a name for the settings file, and then click Save.

  2. Using a text editor such as Notepad, create a text file named psdptemplate.xml in the directory that contains the Project Server Data Populator tool executable file (PSDP.exe).

  3. Open the file. Type the following text into the file:

    <templates></templates>

  4. With a text editor such as Notepad, open the settings file that you created with the Data Populator tool in step 1.

    1. Copy and paste the xml data from the settings file into the psdptemplate.xml file. Paste the data inside the templates node you created in the previous step (between <templates> and </templates>).

    2. Edit the <psdp> line (the first line of the xml data you pasted into the file) to include an attribute name. For example: <psdp name="template1">. This is the name that appears in the Templates drop-down list on the Step One: Use New or Saved Settings page.

  5. Save the file.

To create additional templates, create a new settings file, and then copy and paste the XML data from the new settings file to the psdptemplate.xml file as described in the procedure above. Remember to create a psdp name attribute for each additional template file you create. All XML data from the settings files copied into the psdptemplate.xml file is available by selecting the appropriate template from the Template drop-down list on the Step One: Use New or Saved Settings page.

Run the Data Populator from a command prompt

You can also run the Project Server Data Populator tool from a command prompt. This method only allows you to populate your data to Project Server from a saved settings file. You cannot use the command-line option to create new settings or to save your settings to a file.

Run the tool at a command prompt with the following syntax:

PSDPConsole -settings <file> -url <address> [username <user> -password <password>] -log <file>

Option Description

PSDPConsole

Calls the executable file.

NoteNote:

The executable file name for the command-line version of the tool is different from the version that uses the graphical user interface.

settings

The file with the population settings. Running the tool with this file will automatically populate all custom field, lookup table, resource, project, task, and assignment data in the file to Project Server.

You need to have previously saved this file with PSDP.exe, the graphical-user-interface version of the tool.

URL

The Project Web Access address to which you want to populate your data.

Example: http://myProjectserver/pwa

username

(Optional.) Required only if you are logging on to Project Web Access by using forms-based authentication.

password

(Optional.) Required only if you are logging on to Project Web Access by using forms-based authentication.

log

(Optional.) As data is generated, the tool saves information to a trace file. Specify the path and name of the trace file.

Example

PSDPConsole -settings C:\file.xml -url http://contoso/pwa -log c:\log

Download this book

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Project Server 2007 .

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