Manufacturing organizations are able to accumulate large amounts of plant floor production and environmental data due to advances in data collection, communications technology, and use of standards. The challenge has shifted from collecting a sufficient amount of data to analyzing and making decisions based on the huge amount of data available. Data analytics (DA) can help understand and gain insights from the big data and in turn help advance towards the vision of smart manufacturing. Modeling and simulation have been used by manufacturers to analyze their operations and support decision making. This paper proposes multiple methods in which simulation can serve as a DA application or support other DA applications in manufacturing environment to address big data issues. An example case is discussed to demonstrate one use of simulation. In the presented case, a virtual representation of machining operations is used to generate the data required to evaluate manufacturing data analytics applications.