This past weekend I attended Sql Saturday 111 in Atlanta.
Sql Saturdays are an event concept created by PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server) and feature free training throughout the country with a wide range of topics, and sessions focused from the absolute beginner through “expert”. I always walk away from these events learning something, its not always what I intended to learn, but I always learn something.
The event is broken into a variety of 60 – 75 min long sessions. This year had 5 session slots, with up to 10 sessions per slot. I managed to make it to 4 of the 5 sessions, and spent one just chatting about life / work in the lobby for that other time slot.
The first session that I attended was Brian Kelley’s – Being the Swiss Army Knife of DB Pros: While I didn’t learn anything directly related to SQL Server, it helped remind me not to lose sight of the other skill sets that I’ve acquired in my career, the most important of which is being able to understand that it’s a business, and ultimately it’s all about the bottom line. These are skill sets that have value, even if I primary identify myself as someone in a Data role.
Next up I was scheduled to proctor Jim Christopher’s – Powershell Modules you should know about. I saw Jim speak last year on Powershell, and was glad that I got the chance to see him again, in addition to being very knowledgeable about Powershell, Jim’s a great guy to grab a beer with at the after party. Jim walked through the basics of Import-Module, and highlighted some modules that he uses on a day to day basis. By far the coolest one he showed was one that he has in Alpha currently “SeeShell”, the purpose of this Module is to work with Data, and to assist with an easy way to create a visual representation of the data. The demo’s didn’t go flawlessly, but they showed some pretty cool promise once the “features” are all worked out.
Next up — Lunch! I sat in on a brief talk about RedGate’s Sql Server monitor product while I ate, but mostly I did that to have an opportunity to see Grant Fritchey speak as I hadn’t had the opportunity to see him speak in person previously. After I finished I wandered around, and headed up early for my next session. This one I volunteered to proctor for — to make sure I could get a seat.
Adam Machanic’s – Query Tuning Mastery: Manhandling Parallelism: I’ve heard of Adam’s sessions involving Query tuning, especially coming out of PASS 2011 and the precon that he did there, and was really looking forward to getting a chance to sit in on one of his sessions. It was everything that I’d been led to expect from one of his sessions, very detailed and the time it must have taken to figure out that on result 6401 behavior changed vs 6400. Just an awesome session — I’m planning on downloading his demo’s and playing with them as time allows, no doubt. The only downside to Adam’s session was having to proctor it; as proctors we were given strict instructions to not allow any standing attendees, so I was forced to turn away several people from attending — I know one of them looked like he wanted to eat my liver when I wouldn’t let him in.
Next up — I took a break, I didn’t go to a session in this time slot, instead I wandered around and talked with a variety of people. This is actually an area that I need to work on — being ok with walking up to people and striking up a conversation. I’m getting better, and the approachability of people hanging out in the lobby made it easier.
Final session arrived and it was time to proctor again. Wow — I proctored three sessions — almost getting to the point of “work”. This time I was proctoring for Vicky Harp’s – Introduction to Common Table Expressions. I truly entered this presentation not expecting to get any knowledge out of it — I’ve used CTE’s for a variety of reporting uses in the past, but am very cautious in their application. I have to say that I DID learn something about CTE’s in her presentation. I had never considered using Multiple-Nested CTE’s in the past, but I learned that you can. Don’t think I’ll ever put that into production code anywhere, but it might help with an adhoc report request.
Overall I had a great time, and got to hang out with / meet several cool new people. To the organizers of the event — another job well done.