In a new post to his blog Matthew Turland looks at a contribution he recently made to the PHPunit project to help it support database testing without the need for dumping the contents of your database out to a CSV.
If you're using MySQL as your database, CSV has been the only format supported by both the mysqldump utility and the PHPUnit Database extension up to this point. My contribution adds support for its XML format to the extension. While this support was developed to work in the PHPUnit 3.4.x branch, it won't be available in a stable release until 3.5.0. In the meantime, this is how you can use it now.
There's four steps you'll need to do to get it installed - grab the latest from github, create the seed data XML file, make a test case extending PHPUnit_Extensions_Database_TestCase and run your tests against the database information.