SQL Saturday #32 Tampa, FL

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a terrific (and FREE) event held in Tampa FL – SQL Saturday #32. As always, I was able to hang out with a bunch of great guys while down at the event and I had a blast. Thanks to Pam and Jorge for putting in the long hours to make the event go off as well as it did!

Speaker and Volunteer Dinner

For me, this event started on Saturday evening when I went to the Speaker and Volunteer dinner. This time it was hosted at the Spaghetti Warehouse, which I had never been to before. The food was fantastic (I had the 15 layer lasagna). I was able to spend time with a number of the other speakers, including Brian Knight, Adam Jorgensen, Aaron Nelson, Patrick LeBlanc and many others.

Check-In and before.

So, check in at the event was kind of a nightmare. There was a bit of a hiccup due to the name tags not being sorted in any sensible fashion. On the plus side, I didn’t really have to deal with this too much and it seems like MOST people made it to their first sessions within a reasonable amount of time. Plus, as always there was free donuts, coffee, sodas etc to help the wait. Before the sessions I got another chance to socialize with some of the vendors. If you go to these events, make sure to stop by the booths… some of the products might surprise you.

First Session – Intro to SSIS (Brian Knight)

OK, so some of you might ask why I went to an Intro to SSIS presentation. That’s a valid question. And the answer is really rather silly… In my mind I didn’t do to well the one time that I tried to give an intro session and I wanted to see how it was that Brian went through the topic. And, of course, the more important reason was that it was in the room that I would be in for the next two presentations and I wanted to make sure that I was prepping for my session without loosing track of time J

All in all, it seems like most people enjoyed Brian’s session. It also seems like a fair number of them, brand new to SSIS, stayed in the room and listened to me ramble on. Hope that they were able to learn a thing or two.

Second Session – SSIS – A Beginning Framework.

This was my main presentation for the day. I had a lot of fun and feel like the session went pretty well. I certainly had some good feedback between the sessions and I think that I was able to break up the material a little more with some of the demos.

I will try to put up the material from the session to my sky drive shortly (as well as posting the power point slides to the SQL Saturday website).

Third Session – Iron Chef Competition: Loading a Data Warehouse (Brian Knight / Adam Jorgensen / Patrick LeBlanc / Scott Gleason / Mike Davis / Christian Loris / Eric Wisdahl)

To me, it seems like this session was more comedy than presentation. It was still very worthwhile (and hilarious). Patrick “moderated” or “mc’d” the event and pitted Adam against Brian in a competition to load a data warehouse. Scott, Christian, Mike and I were the judges of the competition. There were many disparaging comments and plenty of heckling as the hour went on. This was a great way to take a break from the serious sessions while still learning some of the different ways to use the tool and what some of the pros and cons are for each. Well worth attending if it is available at a future event.

Lunch

In a word: Awsome! I had chicken, yellow rice and black beans. There were also plantains (which I wanted, but we could only choose two items). It was some of the best conference fare that I have had. During lunch I sat with a couple of different groups of people – hopefully I didn’t annoy anyone. Always try to meet someone new at every event.

Fourth Session – Database Hardening via Powershell (Ron Dameron)

This was the first session of Ron’s that I have been able to attend and it was pretty interesting. This session went over a few scripts which can been used to gather information from the various servers and instances across an organization to bring back information for such things as product and version of the database, groups users, security, etc and quite a few other items.

I know that I ought to take more time to learn about powershell and this was one of my attempts to remind myself to do so. The only thing that I would say is that the flipping back and forth between slides and demos and whatnot didn’t flow as well as it maybe could have. There were a number of opportunities where code could have been discussed a little more, but I think that if you know the basics behind the language that probably would have been pretty boring. All in all, it was a session that I would recommend attending in the future.

Fifth Session – Real Time Problem Identification with Event Notifications (Jonathan Kehayias)

If and when I am made responsible for more operational databases I will need to revisit a lot of the information in this session. Jonathan walked through the items one would need to set up the event notifications using the service broker to capture information about various server / database / table / etc level events such as dead locks, ddl changes, etc.

This was a useful refresher for service broker and it led me to go ahead and attend Kevin Boles SQL Server Service Broker session next. I remember going through this information for the Database Developer test and thinking that there would be a lot of useful applications for the product. And, from nearly everyone that I talk to that uses it, once you start you will begin to see nearly limitless applications that could incorporate it.

This was a great session with lots of useful information.

Sixth Session – SQL Server Service Broker (Kevin Boles)

This was the second time that I had seen Kevin speak at an SQL Saturday (The first time I saw him speak on SQL and SAN) and he was once again an excellent presenter. This session was more of a refresher course for me as I had already learned the basics of Service Broker a few times. However, as I had gotten just enough information from Jonathan the session before to pique my interest I decided to attend. If you have not yet started using Service Broker and want to see what it is all about this is a great intro presentation.

Swag and After Party

There was a lot of swag for this event including many books, t-shirts, jump drives, third party sql software licenses, training sessions, an x-box, a netbook, an Ipod Touch, etc. I was able to grab the T-SQL Querying 2008 book by Itzik Ben Gan. The room was packed and everyone seemed to have a good time.

For the after party we went down to Rock-N-Sports in Ybor City. I don’t think it was quite as good of a turn out as last year, but it was still pretty fun. It is always good to socialize with your fellow geek (or with random bar patrons). If you go to one of these events I highly recommend coming to the party afterwards as well.

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