A few thoughts from SQLBits 7 in York.
Getting there early was definitely a good idea – it gave me the chance to see the sponsors before they start getting busy. Thanks to the guys and gals from (in no particular order) Microsoft, Redgate, Idera, Datenfabrik, SQLSentry, FusionIO, SQLWorkshops, Coeo, Quest Software, Attunity, DBSophic, Adatis, and Simpson Associates. Not just for sponsoring the event, but also for providing some top notch prizes…
I walked in and immediately saw one of the people I had been hoping to see – Jonathan “FatherJack” Allen (blogger on Simple-Talk, and one of the high-ups in AskSSC). I then got breakfast (coffee), and bumped into the other Ask SQL Server Central guy I was looking for – Kev Riley. Ten minutes in, and had met two of the four guys I was hoping to meet. Good start!
There were lots of interesting sessions to choose from. I ended up going to:
First session – a substitution. Microsoft’s one and only Buck Woody talking about data strategy. Buck has his own inimitable style – part serious speaker, part stand-up – and was well worth the price of admission.
Second session, Brent Ozar was speaking about dealing with databases on the Terabyte scale. Some very useful (and potentially expensive) tips and tricks to bear in mind. Jonathan Kehayias was in evidence at the back, throwing out interesting questions, and Rob Farley was also chipping in from nearer the front.
Third session, I went to see James Boother talking about Powershell, and showing some of the simple ways of administering SQL Server using PoSh. This is something I really must dig into in the near future.
Lunchtime – and no rest here. Went to the lunchtime session sponsored by Quest – “Major Myths about MS SQL Server”. This was of the form of a quiz session, with Iain Klick, Kevin Kline and Brent Ozar from Quest, and Buck Woody managed to inveigle himself onto the panel as well. Fun and games – six rounds, five questions per round, and prizes going out all over the hall – t-shirts, drinks tokens, books…
After lunch, Rob Farley presented on spatial data – mapping data onto Bing maps in ReportBuilder, and also showing similar data using PowerPivot. Much of this went over my head, but it’s given me some ideas about visualising data that may come in handy in the future.
And the final session I went to was a bit of a wind-down – Chris Testa-O’Neill talking about SQL Server certification paths. This is of particular interest to me, as the last time I was MS certified was about 10 years ago, when I got my MCSD (now woefully out of date), so I was keen to see what the advice was for MCTS vs MCITP and the relationships between the two. The session was hijacked to a certain extent by Brent Ozar and Christian Bolton who spoke about the MCM – a very useful session to end the day on.
It was definitely worth the effort of going, and I’ll be sure to make the time to go to the next one – ideally for more than just the “Community Day”. Thoroughly recommended.