SQLBits 9 Roundup

I’ve written quite a bit about SQLBits since I started blogging almost two years ago, this time however I had a very different experience from previous events. In August I accepted a position at Quest software and asked if I could work on the stand, so for this SQLBits I was an exhibitor, not an attendee. What was noticeable was just how much work the organisers put into the event, at other SQLBits I had been a volunteer performing duties such as registration and room monitoring but had always been going to see sessions. As an exhibitor I saw how much work the guys were doing during the sessions as well. I think that James Rowland Jones (Twitter) deserves singling out for his continual work and helping me move some rather heavy bits of kit, bravo JRJ!

The hotel hall was nice at the Adelphi, if a little on the warm side and the session rooms seemed a good size from what I saw. Staff were all very pleasant and courteous and did a good job of catering for a mass of SQL geeks whose only real hunger was for SQL Server knowledge and a cool breeze. I should really point out here for anybody who didn’t go that it was an extremely hot period and the Saturday was recorded as the hottest day in October in the UK since records began.

Although at Liverpool I didn’t have a chance to attend any of the sessions other than the lunchtime sessions (with the exception of one which I will mention in a moment) it was extremely satisfying to talk to attendees about the issues they had (with SQL Server) and give them pointers on how they might be able to solve them, not only by using Quest products, but also by talking to them about things like RAID levels and how they might need to change their I/O subsystem architecture to provide better performance to their internal customers.

The casino night on Friday was a big hit with lot’s of guys pretending to be James Bond, including myself – there are pictures somewhere. One of the funniest parts of the night was watching Richard Doering (Blog | Twitter) with a toy white cat pretending to be a Bond villain, I wish I had a picture of that, it was inspired.

On the Saturday I took part in the “Lightening Talks” session which helped me to supersede one of the goals I set in my blog post End of year review 2010 and goals for 2011 which was to present a SQL nugget at a local SQL Server user group where I had some nice feedback from Jason Thomas (Blog | Twitter) on Twitter.

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The talk was on Problem Steps Recorder which I also presented at Mark Pryce-Maher’s Southampton User Group, for some bizarre reason I tweeted but didn’t blog about talking there. You can find credit for it on Mark’s site http://southamptonsqlserverusergroup.co.uk/as well as other information about his group. If you do live near Southampton in the UK I urge you to go along, Mark’s a great guy and will make you feel very welcome!

I’d like to sign off on a personal note, I met some fantastic people at SQLBits this year that I had known of by various social media channels and blogs there are far too many to name, but here’s a selection of a few of them:

  • Kevin Kline (Blog | Twitter) is now a colleague of mine albeit on a different continent and as an MVP I had heard of him years before I joined Quest because of the great work that he does in the community. When I met him I was humbled by his humanity and amazed by his SQL knowledge and stories, ask him about kilts and escalators sometime.
  • Thomas Kejser (Blog) from the SQL CAT team showed me some amazing stats from the Fusion IO card he was testing. That kit will revolutionise the database market, guaranteed.
  • Laerte Junior (Twitter) was very friendly and a real gentleman, flying all the way from Brasil to talk shows a lot of commitment!
  • Olla Hallengren (Blog) was a real nice guy. It was nice to meet him after using his scripts at previous companies, I was shocked to discover he knew who I was through seeing some of my answers on the MSDN forums.
  • Mark Broadbent (Blog | Twitter) and I have spoken many times over twitter, most recently was a random conversation on how not to sit on a train. He’s a great guy and if you live or work near Cambridge then go to his SQL user group.
  • Mark Rasmussen (Blog | Twitter) told me all about his precon “SQL Server Storage Engine and MDF File Internals”, really wish I could have been there for that one.
  • I met the elusive Phil Factor (Twitter) who made me swear not to give away his real identity. You’re secret is safe with me.
  • Chris Testa-O’Neill (Blog | Twitter) as one of the organisers of not only SQLBits but also SQLRelay which kicks off Monday 3rd October Chris has been a very busy guy, however he found the time to entertain us all with his band – I’ll never forget that Darkness cover as long as I live. Great job Chris!