SQLBits 7 the forgotten photos part 2

dazed and confused – my normal condition

Well SQLBits 8 voting has now ended so perhaps it is a good time to publish the second and final post of the series. I wonder if any of my sessions will get selected this time? One of my submitted sessions is the same one that has made it to the reserve list for the first ever SQLRally in Orlando and although slightly disappointed at just making the reserve list I was very proud that out of all the reserve sessions I came joint top (I took 38% of the vote in my category). The winner of that category is the well known Edwin Sarmiento (blog|twitter) and he is an absolutely smashing chap so I’m nothing but pleased for him.

Not too long ago I posted “SQLBits 7 the forgotten photos part 1” which told you about day 0 and 1 of my trip to York. Before I move on to day 2 and 3, the “SQL wizard”, DBA -or is that Project Manager Steve? (in joke) Steve Hindmarsh (blog|twitter) has sent me a further picture so that I may humiliate myself with it. OK well it is not quite that bad, but I think you can tell from the expression on my face that drinking has begun. I think the hardest thing about being a DBA is all the drinking that seems to be required and I am sure that by the time I retire my liver will be shot to pieces.

Anyway swiftly moving on to the paid for Friday and Free Saturday sessions…

One of the first sessions I attended was given by Maciej Pilecki (blog|twitter) who presented “Lies Dammed Lies and Statistics – Making the most out of SQL Server Statistics” and the thing I remember most about this session was the problems he had to endure with the audio visual equipment and the good humour in which he dealt with it. Most importantly once it was fixed, he went on to present a fabulous session which I have now had the pleasure of watching over again via the SQLBits videos. My voice even pops up right at the end when I ask whether SQL Server takes the opportunity to update its index stats whenever a table scan is performed -quite a neat idea if you ask me 🙂 …and the answer? Well listen and find out!

Maciej Pilecki

Having reviewed the sessions on offer at SQLBits before the event, I have to confess that I hadn’t intended on visiting any of Buck Woody’s (blog|twitter) ones. Alongside most of his presentations there were usually at least two other presentations that I felt were more beneficial. Up to this point I only knew Buck Woody via his blog and twitter and so although I knew that technically he would be very good I had no idea what to expect. Then something happened on the Friday morning to change my plan. Whilst I and a few other attendees were sitting down together drinking coffee before proceedings for the day, Buck walked up to us asked us how we were doing and started to chat to us about the event, SQL Server and Cloud Computing. Even more importantly he sounded as though he was interested in what we had to say! It turns out too that he used to live where I currently do here in the UK – hows that for coincidence!

Buck was so a charming, charismatic and funny that I thought his sessions would be not only informative but also entertaining too. And boy, did I get this right! As you can see in the photo from his session below, his first slide “Please do not LICK the Screen.” was an indication of things to come. Brad McGehee (blog|twitter) was sat just behind us and Buck was really having a good laugh at his expense (in a nice way) which was so funny to listen to and whilst everyone rolled around with laughter there were some really strong points made along the lines of how safe and recoverable is your data. I particularly liked it when he stressed points and said things like “are you sure…..really?……are you really sure?!”

This presentation “Creating a business continuity plan” is a must see for your Business streams to watch and ensure that their IT management is enforcing policies and plans to protect your data and ultimately your business itself – and not just saying they are doing something, or just as bad, implementing a poor plan which will only ever truly get tested in a disaster scenario. Sometimes I could cry when I see things occurring outside of my control which I know will end up being a disaster in months or years to come, and however much I try to change the mindset it is not always possible to bend the unbend-able arm, and some companies really have to wake up and smell the coffee *sigh*. I am set on implementing another Eastern (Zen) technique very soon to overcome the issues that I face, but more on that another time :).

I know Buck’s response to me would be that the failure is mine because I have not succeeded in presenting a convincing argument to force change in those places. I am sure to some degree he is right and I am even more sure that if anyone could, it is him.

Buck Woody

As well as Buck, this year I have got to know SQLServerPedia’s editor in chief Iain Kick (blog|twitter) and also had the pleasure of meeting Brent Ozar (blog|twitter) on a few brief occasions too. Lets also not forget Kevin Kline (blog|twitter), who although I have not had the pleasure of meeting, have accidentally ignored over another breakfast table whilst saying hello to Iain (ooops sorry Kevin I really didn’t recognise you!) – I think Iain found this quite funny though :).

Anyway, imagine if all four of those people could be put in the same room at the same time and you would have “Weird, Deformed and Grotesque Horror Stories from the World of IT by Iain Kick, Kevin Kline et al“. It was a very funny presentation and most enjoyable. I really enjoyed all of the Quest sessions at SQLBits and will definitely attend them again at future events.

Quest – Buck, Kevin, Iain, Brent

We then move onto quite an exciting occasion and it was the gathering of SQLCAT (blog|twitter) for “SQLCAT Open Panel“. Observant readers might also spot Buck Woody on the panel (holding the microphone). Essentially the session revolved around the theme of “we are not going to tell you what is coming in Denali, but say what you would want, and we will tell you if you are going to be happy”. During this presentation I had mixed emotions, I went from being very excited at times and having moments of disappointment. I believe there have been a couple of missed opportunitys in Denali. The first is the lack of an Oracle style RAC implementation and the second is the lack of imagination that has gone into Tempdb database architecture in the future roadmap of SQL Server. At some point in the future I shall discuss these in more detail. Still overall Denali sounded (and is) an awesome prospect.

SQLCAT Open Panel …and Buck Woody!

I was a little unsure about attending the following session but since you hear very little discussed these days on SQL Injection, I felt it was my DBA duty to attend Kevin Kline’s “Understanding and Preventing SQL Injection Attacks” and I was very pleased that I did. The presentation was very well done and some of the injection techniques that Kevin discussed really gave me food for thought. I wonder how many databases and servers are still exposed to these risks …I would guess a VERY high percentage. Look into the eye of the dragon and ….despair!

Kevin Kline

And finally it is time for one last visit to Quest’s session “SQL Server expert lunchtime quiz major myths about Microsoft SQL Server” with guest appearances from Brent Ozar and Buck Woody (Buck gets everywhere!). In this session it was more of a fun Q&A where the audience was posed with questions about whether a “myth” was fact or fiction. I was surprised at how many of these I knew, but of course with all the changes through the versions of SQL Server it was no surprise that even the panel got some of these wrong. In these last three photos we can see Kevin clapping somebody winning a prize of some description, the two lovely Quest ladies handing out candy and finally Brent getting rather excited!

Quest – Iain, Kevin, Buck and Brent

The lovely Quest Ladies

Quest – Iain, Kevin, Buck and Brent (excited!)

Well that’s the end of my SQLBits 7 forgotten photos, unfortunately I didn’t have any photos of my presentation I gave on the Saturday, but it is readily available from the SQLBits website if you haven’t already taken a peek. If I get to come to SQLBits 8 I sincerely hope you drop by and say hello, or even better still, enjoy a beer with me in the evening. Roll on Brighton!