The Ed-Fi ODS / API ships with a sample dataset containing approximately 1000 students. For a variety of reasons, you may want to install a different sample database than the one that ships with ODS / API. The Ed-Fi alliance provides two separate data sets that can be used for testing and development purposes. The Glendale database contains approximately 50,000 students, while the Northridge database is about half of that size. Both contain realistic but fictional student information.

This article walks through how set up the Glendale database as your template for a populated database. If you prefer to manually update the sandbox with Glendale dataset instead of integrating it as a populated template, steps are listed in Appendix A, below.

Step 1. Update the Config File

The "ApiSettings:PopulatedTemplateScript" key in <source directory>\Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation\Application\EdFi.Ods.WebApi\appsettings.json file configures the dataset for the populated template. 

appsettings.json Example
   "ApiSettings": {
        "PopulatedTemplateScript": "Glendale"

This tells Initialize-DevelopmentEnvironment which source selection script to run. If no script is provided, or the name specified does not exist, the Initialize-DevelopmentEnvironment will fail when trying to reset the populated template.

In development environment, you can use secret.json to override this setting to deploy Glendale dataset. In a PowerShell session navigate to <source directory>\Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation\Application\EdFi.Ods.WebApi and use user-secret CLI to setup the override. See Configuration Details - SecretManager for more details. 

Import the Initiallize Development Module
PS C:\Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation\Application\EdFi.Ods.WebApi\> dotnet user-secrets set "ApiSettings:PopulatedTemplateScript" "Glendale"
Successfully saved ApiSettings:PopulatedTemplateScript = Glendale to the secret store.

In non-development environments (usually staging or QA) that also deploys the populated template, you will need to add the same key to the file: <source directory>\Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation\Scripts\NuGet\EdFi.RestApi.Databases\configuration.json.

Step 2. Run Reset-PopulatedTemplate

In a PowerShell session navigate to <source directory>\Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation\.

Execute .\Initialize-PowershellForDevelopment.ps1.

Import the Initiallize Development Module
PS C:\Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation\> .\Initialize-PowershellForDevelopment.ps1
Importing Module: InitializeDevelopmentEnvironment.psm1
Using repositories from environment variable: Ed-Fi-Ods;Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation

Execute Reset-PopulatedTemplate.

Execute Reset-PopulatedTemplate
PS C:\Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation\> Reset-PopulatedTemplate
Using repositories from environment variable: Ed-Fi-Ods;Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation
Downloading file from
Download complete.
Extracting EdFi_Glendale_v32-20190610.7z...
Extracted to: C:\Ed-Fi-ODS-Implementation\PopulatedTemplate\Database\EdFi_Glendale_v32-20190610.7z
Task                    TotalMinutes
----                    ------------
Reset-PopulatedTemplate       3.78

When the process successfully completes, you should see something similar to above.

How To: Manually Update Sandbox with an Alternative Sample Database

While integrating the alternative dataset as a populated template as described above is required for building alternative sample dataset into CI/CD and enabling full feature set of the ODS / API.   

Limitations Of This Approach

  • Steps provided here only describe how to use the demo databases with a sandbox (multitenant) mode installation.
  • Ed-Fi provided sample databases do not contain extensions and change query related artifacts. Since demo databases are manually replaced after initialize development (i.e., initdev) process:
    • Extensions feature should be disabled, which means this approach wouldn't work with TPDM .
    • Change queries feature should be disabled


  • 7zip, or a similar compression / decompression tool that supports the 7zip format, should be installed. This can be installed on the database server. Download 7zip for free from
  • The database server should have sufficient space to download and install the sample database. For the larger data set, Glendale, this will require 380 megabytes of space to download the compressed version of the backup, 14 gigabytes for the uncompressed backup, and 17 gigabytes in SQL Server space.

Installation Steps

Ed-Fi ODS installation

  • Build the Ed-Fi solution from the source code, per the instructions here. Before running initdev, open the appsettings.json file in the WebApi and change the "IsEnabled" value for the changeQueries feature and Extensions feature to "false".
    • Download the compressed version of your backup database from one of the following links:

      v6.1 Glendale sample ODS database download MS SQLServer


      v6.1 Northridge sample ODS database download MS SQLServer 


    • Uncompress the download using the 7zip utility.
    • If you downloaded and uncompressed the file someplace other than the database server, copy the uncompressed ".bak" file to a folder on the database server.
    • Log into SQL Server Management Server with credentials that have database administrator access.
    • Right-click on the "Databases" folder in the object explorer and choose "Restore".
    • Choose "Device" as the source and click the "..." button next to it.
    • In the next screen, choose "Add". Browse to the uncompressed .bak file and select it. Click the "Replace" button in the options panel.
    • Click "Ok" in the remaining messages.
    • Wait for the notification that your database restored successfully. The data is now ready for use. 
    • Download the compressed version of your backup database from one of the following links:

      v6.1 Glendale sample ODS database download Postgres
      v6.1 Northridge sample ODS database download Postgres 
    • Uncompress the download using the 7zip utility. It will be a .sql file
    • Open the "PG Admin" (or similar) utility.
    • Create a new database with a name like "v6.1_NorthRidge_Sample_ODS"
    • One should be able to open the SQL file in PG Admin but some testers could not get it to work, so we'll use the psql.exe command-line utility.
    • Open a cmd or other shell (PowerShell or DOS)
    • Run the psql.exe utility, passing the admin username (-U), the database name you just created (-d), and the .sql file that was just unzipped -f. The psql.exe is located in the bin directory of the Postgres install. For a typical installation, the command will be, e.g., C:\Program Files\PostgreSQL\11\bin\psql -Upostgres -d v6.1_NorthRidge_Sample_ODS -f E:EdFi_Ods_Northridge_v61_PG11.sql.
    • The script will take a few minutes to run.
    • When the script completes successfully the data is ready to be used.

    Configuring a Sample Database for API access

    At this point, there will be a new database that contains the fictional Northridge ISD sample data. You can learn the Ed-Fi data model, write queries, and work on data-out and extraction use cases that interact directly with the database. If you would like to access this data using the Ed-Fi API, these additional steps are needed.

    • Create a sandbox instance using the Sandbox Administration tool. Note and remember the key and secret values. Choose the option to have sample data.
    • Go back to SQL Server Management Studio. Find the sandbox database that was just created (you might need to right-click on the databases folder and do a "Refresh"). The database will have the word "Sandbox" in it and contain the key that was provided when the sandbox was created.
    • Record (or copy) the name of the sandbox database.
    • Rename the sandbox database. For example, add "-backup" to the end of the existing name.
    • Rename the sample (i.e., EdFi_Ods_Glendale_v61) to what the sandbox database was named.
    • You should be good for internal access.

    If you receive "internal errors" from the API, you can check the Ed-Fi logs for clues as to the cause.


    The following GitHub link is the PowerShell script for Glendale Source Selection