I went to (and spoke at) SQL Saturday #234 in Baton Rouge this past weekend. It was incredible - yet again! I wanted to list the sessions I went to and a little blurb about each.
8:40 - 9:40 AM == I attended a class taught by Thomas LeBlanc - "Execution Plan Basics - Beginners". When I learned about how active and friendly the SQL community was last year, I started a 5 year plan to get my name known and help others. I finally broke down and joined Twitter. Tom was the first person to follow me, which had me very excited to meet him. I walked in with very little knowledge of the execution plans. I knew they existed and I knew I could use them to find what the SQL Engine does to get and return the data. His session taught me about several little tricks to see more performance tuning data, and to be able to read an execution plan. He started by giving an overview of the history of execution plans, including showing us the text that used to be the only way of reading an execution plan - now there is an easier to understand GUI. He showed many examples and demos and was very easy to understand. I was really glad I attended. During his presentation he also gave many pointers on where to look for more information. Here is the link to the abstract and his slidedeck on the SQL Saturday website.
9:50 - 10:50 AM == The next session I attended was taught by Ryan Adams - "SQL 2012 AlwaysOn Quickstart". I went into this class not expecting to learn all about it, but hoping to learn enough to be able to research on my own. I had no doubts in Ryan's teaching abilities, but I have heard a lot of very brief things about AlwaysOn and knew it was a very big topic. I also knew that it was something I didnt think I had enough overall SQL knowledge to understand quite yet. I was pleasantly surprised when the session was over, because Ryan explained everything in a simple enough manner that I feel I have a very good understanding of the entire concept of AlwaysOn. I know I have a lot to learn about the specifics, but overall I was thrilled to be able to have thought of 3 distinct ways it would help us out at my current job. I saw a presentation of his at last year's SQL Saturday, also in Baton Rouge, and even though he had to play charades a bit due to the projector difficulties, I still walked away with a couple key points I had learned. This year was even better. Here is the link to the abstract and his slidedeck on the SQL Saturday website.
11 AM - 2:30 PM (except for the lunch break) == I am going to talk about the next 2 sessions I attended together. They were taught by Sean McCown - "Beginning PowerShell for DBAs 1.0 and 1.5". I have to put a disclaimer here that I was SUPER excited about meeting him and his wife this year. I had first learned about the SQL Community in general when I learned about the SQL Saturday event in Baton Rouge last year. This was right-up-my-alley and I had a great time. I met Sean and Jean at sessions last year, but I was a no-body so they wouldnt have known about me. I found out about their website and weekly webshows - so I started attending the shows regularly. By the time I got to meet them this year, I knew they would at least recognize my name. I like the way Sean teaches beginner sessions and since I have been chomping at the bit for learning PowerShell, it was perfect opportunity. His sessions taught me a lot and now when I go onto the midnightdba.com site to learn more, I have a very good context to pull from. He stepped through the very basics of PowerShell and emphasized the point that whether you are working with the OS, SQL, Exchange, etc., it is all the same - same cmdlets, same syntax, etc. He showed the use of PowerShell and went into examples of applying those scripts to multiple servers or DB instances very easily. All in all, I had high expectations for this class, and as usual, his knowledge and ease of teaching exceeded those expectations. Here are the links to the abstracts on the SQL Saturday website: link for the 1.0 class; link for the 1.5 class.
2:40 - 3:40 PM == This is the session where I was the speaker (so I kind of HAD to attend). I taught "The ABCs of SSIS". Here is the link to the abstract and slidedeck on the SQL Saturday website, you can also access it on this website at this link. I have given this presentation online before, but this was my first live technical presentation. I was very impressed with the way everything was handled. There was plenty of notification before the event via email and on the phone. I knew that anything I needed would be answered promptly. They gave me all the information I needed though, and since I had been an attendee before, I had a very good understanding of what to expect during the event. What I didnt know though, was how much fun the people who run it are! As an attendee you dont see all the camaraderie that I was privvy to. It was great to see the hard work that was put into it, but also the way the event leaders, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers interacted. I sincerely hope I get to speak at the next year's event. What a wonderful first experience! I will be constantly comparing other events to this one - it was just that good. :)
I cant imagine all the work that goes into the event each year, but this is yet another year where things look flawless from the end user perspective. :) The coordinators and volunteers didn't show the panic behind the scenes at all - in fact they looked like it was just a barrel of laughs. I look forward to going next year!