Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let the Learning Begin

Finally time for the sessions to begin after a day and a half in Seattle being overwhelmed by the people that I’ve had the opportunity to meet.

I started the day meeting with Mike Walsh (@mike_walsh) and Joe Webb (@joewebb) in the Sheraton living area (lobby) where we had a short time of prayer to start the day.  We then went on to meet with some other men of like faith to discuss Brian Moran’s idea about reaching others.  It was great to meet Brian and encouraging to know others in the SQL Server community that share my faith.  Then it was on to the keynote.


I attended the keynote by Bob Muglia and Ted Kummert from Microsoft. Mostly stuff about the new technologies available in SQL Server 2008 R2, Windows 2008 R2, and Visual Studio 2010/.NET 4.  The coolest thing was the LIVE migration of VM’s using Hyper-V.  Move a running VM from one VM server to another without interrupting the virtual server!  Wow!

Session 1

My first session was titled Data Access Layers:  A road map to smarter, efficient, and effective queries.  It was not exactly what I anticipated as it was a session mainly about using Inline Table Valued functions to replace views and direct table access.  I’m not a big fan of UDF’s because they are often mis-used and have to admit I tuned out a little bit and spent time following Twitter so I’d know where the people I wanted to meet were.


Today’s lunch was a Birds of a Feather lunch with MVP’s hosting topic-focused tables.  I went to Paul Randal’s (@PaulRandal) table about Corruption and High Availability.  It was very interesting to hear him tell stories and hear the stories of other folks at the table.  It was also great that he was able to give me reason why a restored database with no activity would have transaction log growth. It was AutoShrink!  AutoShrink is evil in more ways than one.  It was also cool that when I introduced myself, after everyone else had left because I was late to lunch, he recognized my name immediately from the SQLServerCentral forums and Twitter and asked why I hadn’t introduced myself earlier!  I really try not to put people on a pedestal, but he and Kimberly Tripp (his wife) are pretty much universally recognized as SQL Server royalty, so it’s definitely cool to meet them and then be recognized as well!  Both are very nice and desire to help people out.  That’s the great thing about the SQL Server community, it seems that the more well-known you are, the more helpful you are.

After Lunch

Because of my discussion with Paul, Kim, and Gail Shaw I didn’t make the first session after lunch so I spent some time in the vendor exhibit hall looking around and talking with some of the vendors.

Next I went to Andy Leonard’s session, A Tale of Careers and User Groups, where Andy explained how he became involved in user groups and the lessons he has learned.  He gave some good tips about how to get people involved in a user group.  A key way is to recruit  encourage those who come early or stay late to be a part of the user group leadership team.

Finally I checked into Kalen Delaney’s session, Indexing Internals.  It was a good session on the structure of indexes.  The interesting thing was that, having read Kalen’s book and some other resources on indexes, I actually knew the majority of the information.  It was interesting to see what I actually know.

After the session I had a great discussion with Lorie Edwards (@lorieedwards) about what to learn in SQL Server and how the size of your environment definitely affects the features you need.


I went out to dinner with Andy Warren, Steve Jones, Pam Shaw, Rob, Tim Mitchell and Kendal Van Dyke.  We didn’t talk much SQL Server, but more general conversation.  Always a good time with this crew.

After dinner I went to a party sponsored by SQL Sentry and met a ton of new people.  The guys from SQL Sentry (Greg, Peter Shire), Adam Machanic, Peter Ward, Charlie Hanania, Chuck Heinzelman, and others. 

Finally I went back to the hotel about midnight and crashed.

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