# Generating Test Data: Part 1 - Generating Random Integers and Floats

• Jeff,

The following thought occurred to me last night but I didn't get a chance to test it until this morning.

Isn't the modulo function designed to always return a positive integer?

Hence, in this part of your data generator, I don't believe you need to use ABS:

`SomeRandomInteger = CHECKSUM(NEWID()) % @Range + @StartValue`

I didn't try it for a million rows but the first 200 came up all as positives.

My mantra: No loops! No CURSORs! No RBAR! Hoo-uh![/I]

My thought question: Have you ever been told that your query runs too fast?

My advice:
INDEXing a poor-performing query is like putting sugar on cat food. Yeah, it probably tastes better but are you sure you want to eat it?
The path of least resistance can be a slippery slope. Take care that fixing your fixes of fixes doesn't snowball and end up costing you more than fixing the root cause would have in the first place.

Need to UNPIVOT? Why not CROSS APPLY VALUES instead?[/url]
Since random numbers are too important to be left to chance, let's generate some![/url]
Learn to understand recursive CTEs by example.[/url]
[url url=http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/St

• Hi Guys

By declaring the variables as below - Will that guarantee that every number generated is Unique?

`SELECT @NumberOfRows = 10000000,`

` @StartValue = 1,`

` @EndValue = 10000000,`

` @Range = @EndValue - @StartValue + 1`

Thanks

• derekr 43208 (3/27/2012)

Hi Guys

By declaring the variables as below - Will that guarantee that every number generated is Unique?

`SELECT @NumberOfRows = 10000000,`

` @StartValue = 1,`

` @EndValue = 10000000,`

` @Range = @EndValue - @StartValue + 1`

Thanks

Yes for the rownumber generator, No for the random number generator.

If you want unique but randomly sorted numbers, it will involve a sort (which will be time consuming for as many rows as you've identified) using NEWID() to sort on.

`WITH`

`cteRowNumberGenerator AS`

`(--==== Prevents sorting all the rows of the cross join.`

` SELECT TOP (1000) --Put your desired number here`

` UniqueNumber = ROW_NUMBER() OVER (ORDER BY (SELECT NULL))`

` FROM sys.all_columns ac1`

` CROSS JOIN sys.all_columns ac2`

`)--==== Randomly sorts just the numbers generated from above.`

` SELECT UniqueNumber`

` FROM cteRowNumberGenerator`

` ORDER BY NEWID()`

`;`

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to Post Performance Problems
Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

• dwain.c (3/26/2012)

Jeff,

The following thought occurred to me last night but I didn't get a chance to test it until this morning.

Isn't the modulo function designed to always return a positive integer?

Hence, in this part of your data generator, I don't believe you need to use ABS:

`SomeRandomInteger = CHECKSUM(NEWID()) % @Range + @StartValue`

I didn't try it for a million rows but the first 200 came up all as positives.

It's pretty easy to show that the modulus operator will return a negative number:

`select x = -1111%100`

Results:

`x`

`-----------`

` -11 `

• Jeff Moden (3/26/2012)

Michael Valentine Jones (3/26/2012)

Here is an alternate method that I use to generate the pseudo random numbers. The basic method is to take the right 7 bytes from the NEWID function and convert that to a BIGINT before applying the MODULUS operator. No need for the ABS function, since 7 bytes can only produce a positive BIGINT number.

`if object_id('tempdb..#t','U') is not null begin drop table #t end`

`-- Generate 20,000,000 rows`

`select top 20000000`

`NUMBER = identity(int,1,1)`

`into`

`#t`

`from`

`(select top 4473 * from master.dbo.syscolumns) a`

`cross join`

`(select top 4473 * from master.dbo.syscolumns) b`

`-- Show distribution of rowcount around average of 40000`

`select`

`a.RandomNo,`

`Rows = count(*)`

`from`

`(`

`select`

`RandomNo =`

`(convert(bigint,convert(varbinary(7),newid()))%500)+1`

`from`

`#t aa`

`) a`

`group by`

`a.RandomNo`

`order by`

`count(*),`

`a.RandomNo`

`RandomNo Rows`

`-------------------- -----------`

` 335 39455`

` 3 39457`

` 76 39481`

` 426 39489`

` 494 39535`

` 242 39539`

` 278 39539`

` 490 39548`

` 445 39553`

` 244 39566`

`...`

`...`

`...`

` 124 40400`

` 228 40402`

` 425 40410`

` 286 40434`

` 45 40458`

` 463 40463`

` 373 40531`

` 152 40586 `

`(500 row(s) affected)`

Like I said in the article, the conversion to VARBINARY will slow things down and to no good end if you don't really need BIGINT for the random integer. If you really want BIGINT capability (and I realize that wasn't one of your goals in your example), I believe you'd also have to convert the whole NEWID() to VARBINARY.

I also thought you were involved in some testing that showed the use of the square root of the final number of desired rows as a TOP for the self joined table in the Cross Join really wasn't worth it.

The main point that I'm trying to make is that if it's too complicated, folks won't use it.

I never was involved in any testing with cross joins using the square root of number of desired rows. I just grabbed a piece of code I had laying to be able to generate a test table, and I wasn't trying to say that was the way you should do it.

Have you actually tested to confirm that the conversion to VARBINARY and then to BIGINT is slower than CHECKSUM and ABS? I haven't but I would be surprised if there is much difference.

I was just showing an alternate method to get a random number. I think it is useful in cases where the range of random numbers is greater than an INT.

Of course, if you want a random full BIGINT, you would do something like this, instead of stopping at 7 bytes; I just stopped at 7 bytes to eliminate the ABS function.

`select convert(bigint,convert(varbinary(8),newid()))`

• Sorry. Thought it was you. Must have been Peter Larsson.

Yes, we tested it and the conversion does make quite a bit of differrence.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to Post Performance Problems
Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

• Great article! Thanks.

• Thanks for the article Jeff.

Jason...AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
_______________________________________________
I have given a name to my pain...MCM SQL Server, MVP
SQL RNNR
Posting Performance Based Questions - Gail Shaw[/url]
Learn Extended Events

• Kangana Beri (3/27/2012)

Great article! Thanks.

Thanks for the read and the feedback, Kangana. I appreciate it.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to Post Performance Problems
Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

• SQLRNNR (3/27/2012)

Thanks for the article Jeff.

Thanks for the feedback, Jason. Always good to hear from you.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to Post Performance Problems
Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

• Michael Valentine Jones (3/27/2012)

dwain.c (3/26/2012)

Jeff,

The following thought occurred to me last night but I didn't get a chance to test it until this morning.

Isn't the modulo function designed to always return a positive integer?

Hence, in this part of your data generator, I don't believe you need to use ABS:

`SomeRandomInteger = CHECKSUM(NEWID()) % @Range + @StartValue`

I didn't try it for a million rows but the first 200 came up all as positives.

It's pretty easy to show that the modulus operator will return a negative number:

`select x = -1111%100`

Results:

`x`

`-----------`

` -11 `

Gosh. I'm not sure how I missed Dwain's question. Thanks for the cover, Michael.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to Post Performance Problems
Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

• dwain.c (3/26/2012)

Jeff,

The following thought occurred to me last night but I didn't get a chance to test it until this morning.

Isn't the modulo function designed to always return a positive integer?

Hence, in this part of your data generator, I don't believe you need to use ABS:

`SomeRandomInteger = CHECKSUM(NEWID()) % @Range + @StartValue`

I didn't try it for a million rows but the first 200 came up all as positives.

Apologies, Dwain. I'm not sure how I missed your question on this.

As Michael demonstrated, Modulo will return a negative number if the "Dividend" of the division is negative.

`SELECT -1111 % 100,`

` 1111 %-100,`

` -1111 %-100`

`----------- ----------- -----------`

`-11 11 -11`

`(1 row(s) affected)`

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to Post Performance Problems
Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

• Scott Abrants (3/26/2012)

Excellent post! Great examples, great code, and easy to follow!

Nice job Jeff!

Thanks for the feedback, Scott. I appreciate you stopping by.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to Post Performance Problems
Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

• ALZDBA (3/26/2012)

Great extrapolation of the KISS principle, Jeff.

Need it to be sead ... [font="Times New Roman"]I LOVE IT[/font] :w00t:

Thanks for the feedback, Johan. I agree... the simpler, the better.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to Post Performance Problems
Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

• dwain.c (3/26/2012)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jeff,

The following thought occurred to me last night but I didn't get a chance to test it until this morning.

Isn't the modulo function designed to always return a positive integer?

Hence, in this part of your data generator, I don't believe you need to use ABS:

SomeRandomInteger = CHECKSUM(NEWID()) % @Range + @StartValue

I didn't try it for a million rows but the first 200 came up all as positives.

Apologies, Dwain. I'm not sure how I missed your question on this.

I almost wish you had missed it because obviously my thinking cap wasn't on when I posted it.

There still might be a way to use the negative return value to avoid the ABS by adjusting the range. I'm not sure the complication is worth investigating though.

My mantra: No loops! No CURSORs! No RBAR! Hoo-uh![/I]

My thought question: Have you ever been told that your query runs too fast?

My advice:
INDEXing a poor-performing query is like putting sugar on cat food. Yeah, it probably tastes better but are you sure you want to eat it?
The path of least resistance can be a slippery slope. Take care that fixing your fixes of fixes doesn't snowball and end up costing you more than fixing the root cause would have in the first place.

Need to UNPIVOT? Why not CROSS APPLY VALUES instead?[/url]
Since random numbers are too important to be left to chance, let's generate some![/url]
Learn to understand recursive CTEs by example.[/url]
[url url=http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/St

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