The sqlsaturday for Jacksonville FL has once again come and gone. This year we had a TON of participants, with registration well over 500. I’m not sure how many people actually showed up, but I would guess somewhere over 325 or maybe 350. Pretty good for a town the size of Jacksonville, which, although it is the largest town in the country by sq. mile, is not nearly that large by population.
The diner this year was interesting. There were so many people packed into the room that it really felt like a party. Confio and Pragmatic Works split the costs, with Confio essentially deciding to allow the room an open bar. This led to the very strange conversation between Troy (Grateful DBA) and the waiter wherein he had to explain about half a dozen times that yes, he really did want a Khalua and Orange Juice. There were many people who showed that I don’t believe that I had met in the past. Unfortunately, with the volume in the room (it was loud) and the arrangement of the tables, I didn’t do much socializing beyond the people next to whom I was sitting. As is, it was a pleasant evening and well worth skipping out a few hours early from work. Great food.
Eric Humphry and his wife ordered a brownie as the diner was closing down that was gigantic! I was eventually roped into helping to try to lessen the mass before the table gave up and allowed the remnants to be taken away…
I spent a good 45 minutes or so after the diner chatting with Jorge and David about life, the universe and everything before my wife and niece arrived to cart me off down to St. Augustine for the evening.
Registration / Morning Activities
The morning was run pretty well, with plenty of coffee and donuts for everyone (of course, I substituted soda for coffee 😛 ). The lines never got too long for registration and the vendors seemed to be getting decent traffic. I spent this time running into a few of the people I had not gotten a good chance to talk with the evening before and shaking hands and saying hello with anyone else who cared to introduce themselves. Here I ran in to my good friend Josh, who works with me, and we roamed around looking for trouble to get into.
Common SQL Programming Mistakes (Plamen Ratchev)
Plamen is an excellent speaker who did not disappoint. I had run into nearly every mistake to which he eluded and yet I would still recommend this presentation.
Policy Based Management Administration Made Easy (Jorge Segarra)
I will one day set up Policy Based Management, I’m just not sure when. Until then, I plan on trying to continually get refreshers on how to do so as it seems like such an great tool to use. Jorge walked through some samples which showed how easy it is to set up quick checks to ensure that your environment is following standards. A good presentation by a great member of the SQL Community (@SQLChicken).
Analysis of the Local Job Market (Tek Systems)
This lunch time vendor session was in the room which I would be using for my session. I don’t know that I would say that it was a great and informative session, but it was interesting. The recruiter talked of various attributes of the local job market and the commitment which is associated with working with one of the recruiting firms. Apparently, Jacksonville saw a huge job spike for programming (especially DBA positions) in the first quarter and is set up to see another spike in June.
SSIS Configurations, Expressions and Constraints (Eric Wisdahl)
I had a full class room for this session. I would guess somewhere between 30 and 35 people. All in all, I think I did an OK job. The evaluations I got back were pretty positive. With that said, I recently reorganized the session and in doing so did not give myself enough time to really get into the end game demos. I will be providing the demos and the slides on both my sky drive and on the SQL Saturday website for anyone who is interested…
I didn’t want to set myself up for rushing between systems, and I wanted to check out some of the vendors and talk with some of the event organizers, so I sat this session out.
An Introductory Look at Execution Plans (Eric Wisdahl)
I started off the session by asking who all considered themselves an active member of the community. I then asked about various “big names” of the community and how many people recognized them or knew who they were. All in all, I’d say out of about 25 or 30 people there were only 5 who knew most of the names I mentioned and who considered themselves a part of the community.
This was the first time I have done this presentation and I feel like the session itself went pretty well. The class seemed to get at least some information from the session.
I did get one comment back with a negative score stating that I spent too much time explaining how you would go about getting to the execution plans and not enough about how you interpret them and / or use them to help to tune your queries. I don’t think that the abstract stated we would be doing that, but, if so I am sorry. Also, if you are looking for that sort of information I would highly recommend Grant Fritchey and Sajal Dam’s SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled.
Powershell for the Data Professional (Aaron Nelson)
The session was good at driving home how powerful and useful powershell can be for a DBA. The session also reinforced how easy it is to iterate over the database constructs and get to nearly anything you could want, as well as how you might present the information you retrieve. Of course, you still want to use the right tool for the right job, but powershell sure seems like it will fit in a lot of cases.
Closing Ceremony / Swag
Scott Gleason did a great job keeping the closing ceremony light hearted. As he pointed out, there were a lot of women at the event this year (a good thing). Unfortunately, as with last year, there wasn’t a ton of swag. But some people got a few really cool items and everyone still seemed very happy with the event.
We went back to 7 bridges this year. I’d say about 50 to 75 people from the event showed up, and it seemed like most everyone was having a good time. After about 45 minutes, a few of us retired out to the patio to order some real food and try to engage in conversation that might be a bit easier to hear. I had a great time and some good conversations with Andy, Karla, Rodney, Aaron, Scott, etc.
Congratulations to Brian Knight on the little one.