4 days of Dockercon – Day 1

It’s those little things in life that you come to be grateful for when you are staying in a different country and significantly helps make your trip more relaxing and enjoyable. A quick visit to Starbucks in the morning or being able to grab a half decent lunch in a nearby restaurant during the conference or simply popping into a nearby newsagent to grab a newspaper to read in your room in the evening just make the days away from home a little more bearable…

Sadly (for me) the hotel I am staying in is not only a good 15-20 minute walk from anywhere that fits these requirements, I am struggling to understand why there only seems to be only a single restaurant on site! If you are looking for a fast bite then forget it because this one is a fine dining experience (see 4 days of Dockercon – Day 0) and you will be looking at a minimum of a 2-hour eating experience. Given the hotel that I am staying in is joined to the conference venue, has a bedroom capacity of at least several thousand people, and the nearby area itself has a significant population (if the number of flats is any indication), the complete lack of nearby amenities is completely puzzling. Imagine for instance staying in the Seattle Sheraton hotel and then having to walk twice the distance from there to Pike Place Market to grab just a (decent) coffee! Yes that is exactly what I am facing but I’ll just have to learn to live with it.

Ok, so that is the moaning out of the way (for now at least) and today was Day 1 of Dockercon EU -or more precisely preconference workshop day. I awoke at 6.30 am, having burned the candle a little later than I intended (being the insomniac that I am) so I checked my emails and had a look at the Dockercon schedule. At first it appeared that all I needed to worry about was registration today, which was oddly running from 12 am onwards. Never mind I thought and grabbed another hour in bed…

When I woke again I decided to double check my emails and to my horror came across joining instructions for a Docker Workshop session! I was registered for the Swarm Orchestration: From Zero to Hero session, so hastily got washed and ready for my day ahead. My first hurdle was getting past the very long precon registration queue – which took approximately 15 minutes to get past! This process was a little odd given that organizers would have known how many people were attending and that the sessions were scheduled to start in minutes, but still it wasn’t quite as painful as it could have been.

As you might expect, pretty much the entire day was focused on Swarm management and deployment, and I felt that my registration fee was justified in minutes as we were given links to all training materials and more. The session was delivered in a hands-on style of “keep up if you can” which worked really well for the morning, but as the day went on (and the trainers delivery just got faster) I started to flag and fall behind. Most of the value for me was gained from the morning section, but at least I have the materials to go try this out at my leisure in private. I guess the area that I wished would have been covered (that was missing) was a discussion on (and comparison with) other orchestration and clustering platforms such as Kubernetes. That aside, it was a very worthwhile experience and the full value of attending is now down to me!

At the end of the day I decided that I needed to have an early night but was very hungry, so I bit the bullet and did my 20-minute walk to the shopping mall for a quite bite to eat. Tomorrow is the start of the main conference days -so I need my beauty sleep!

Other posts in this series
4 days of Dockercon – Day 4
4 days of Dockercon – Day 3
4 days of Dockercon – Day 2
4 days of Dockercon – Day 0

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4 days of Dockercon – Day 0

It’s around this time of year that I’d usually begin blogging my traditional 5,6 or 7 days of PASS (another conference about another technology) and I have been doing this for at least 3-4 years (primarily as a speaker). This year, due to a multitude of reasons, I decided to pull my sessions just prior to selection after deciding that it really was time for me to do something different. Those people who know me quite well will know that I have harbored a very strong interest in Microservices and container technologies (long before they started getting “hip” in the world of Microsoft) and have had a bucket list desire to attend Dockercon since it’s inception.

This year, Dockercon was hosted in Austin, Texas and by all accounts was a great success, and whilst I came very close to attending, it was just not quite at the right time of year for me this time around. So when Dockercon EU was announced and to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark (the home of SQLNexus -an event that I help organize) it was a no-brainer for me to try and get here since I am already familiar with the place. After much deliberating about lost earnings and reward/ return I decided to bite the bullet and stop procrastinating. So here I am….

Yesterday was supposed to be my day to prepare but given I had a dog to take for numerous walks, and then one of my children decided to hang around, I got very little packing and prep done.

So this morning I awoke with a lot to do. The usual printing off boarding passes, hotel booking papers and trying to figure out how the hell to get from A to B was firmly in progress. The first obstacle of the day was to navigate the fact that no trains were running to the airport from Cambridge! Luckily there was a replacement bus service, so I headed out early and managed to catch the earlier service to the airport.

After jumping some of the queues with my priority ticket, and clearing security, I was in the airport lounge by 11.30am. Given my flight was 2.30pm, there was a fair bit of hanging around so I decided to head to Starbucks to charge my equipment for the flight ahead. The flight was fairly uneventful and I mostly knew my way around Copenhagen airport, so I picked up my luggage and headed for the trains in which I hoped to pick up a metro to the Bella Center. It was here where I made the mistake of changing my plans at the last minute after seeing a signpost to hotel transit -which I already knew would take me directly to the hotel. The only problem was that the walk to the pickup point turned into a short hike, leading me across to the other airport terminal! Furthermore, the bus did not arrive for another 15 to 20 mins (apparently we had just missed the previous bus).

By 5.45pm I had finally arrived at the hotel and decided to eat in their restaurant called BASALT since I really didn’t have the energy to venture any further. I treated myself to Beer, a fire-grilled leek cheese dish and medium rare Sirloin which Gordon Ramsey would have been proud of (although I’d probably have preferred slightly less Beetroot on it since it was quite powerful, and even the cherries had a job taking the full edge off it). But I left really full and satisfied -and who can complain at that!

Tomorrow is the first full day out Dockercon. I’m really looking forward to it and ticking off one more bucket item from the list!

Other posts in this series
4 days of Dockercon – Day 4
4 days of Dockercon – Day 3
4 days of Dockercon – Day 2
4 days of Dockercon – Day 1

Posted in Community, Events | Tagged | 4 Comments

Speaking at SQLSaturday Parma!

Anyone who knows me well will know that I like to fly my colors close to my chest and am a proud Chelsea fan. I have supported them since they fell to and rose back from the English old Second Division as Champions under the then manager Bobby Campbell, and have seen highs and lows (mostly lows) for the next seven years. That is until Dutch legend Ruud Gullit became the manager in ’96 and bought perhaps the greatest player ever to grace the blue shirt of Chelsea FC.

In 1994, I religiously watched each and every match of USA World Cup and was dazzled by the talents of one Gianfranco Zola during the Nigeria vs Italy game. At one point in the match, Zola is wrestled from the ball and chases the defender back towards the touchline. He then performs a rather audacious stamp over the ball to gain back possession and the bemused and confused Nigerian player falls down in a faux crumpled heap. From that moment on I was a fan and recognized that moment of simple but effective (and persistent) brilliance. Sadly the referee did not share my admiration and duly sent him off in what has been recognized (by some) as one of the worst ever refereeing decisions during a World Cup.

Roll forward to ’96. I am driving up to Scotland with my wife and parents in tow when my dad announced that “I heard on the radio this morning that Chelsea had signed a new player”. In my ignorance, I said ironically “who? Gianfranco Zola?!”, to which he replied, “yes, I think so”. I thought it was all a big wind-up of course. My favorite team had signed my favorite player – sure thing!

But it was true, and Zola’s talents reached an even wider audience that they deserved and now nobody will ever quite come close to his greatness in my mind.

So what on earth have I rambled on about football for the last 5 minutes you might ask? What relevance does this have to SQL Server?

At the time I became aware of Zola’s brilliance in 1994, he was by then playing for Italian side Parma. I was myself getting more and more interested in Serie A and naturally, they (because of him) became my “Italian side”.

Therefore, to be selected to speak in the City at which my all-time footballing hero played has huge significance for me and is something I am immensely looking forward to. I will be delivering a new session titled “Persistence is Futile – Implementing Delayed Durability in SQL Server” which I find an incredibly interesting proposition in SQL Server -and one that is completely underused, and not widely understood.

So I look forward to speaking to the awesome Italian audience on something I am passionate about, and sincerely hope you can join me there!

Posted in Community, SQLSaturday, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Tagged | Leave a comment