Monday, 11 March 2013

SQL Saturday Exeter - Review

This last weekend I attended my first SQL Server Saturday event. The event was held in The Jury’s Inn in Exeter and was superbly arranged and organised by Jonathan (b|t) and Annette (b) Alan and the great team of volunteers from the SQL South West User Group.

Just after Christmas I submitted two sessions for this event one on AlwaysOn Availability Groups and another on SQL Server Virtualisation. My Virtualisation session got selected after a round of voting and discussion by the organisers which meant I was going be lucky enough  to deliver a session at the event too.

I travelled down on Friday evening, it was later then I planned, I was hoping to make the speaker dinner but unfortunately time got away from me. By the time I had checked into the hotel and gone down to look at the room I was speaking most of the speakers and and organisers were getting back from the speaker dinner. I had a couple of beers in the bar (which was full of speakers and organisers) I met a few nice people too including a DBA who is a DBA/Developer for one the top Premier League sides – Not the mighty Pool though.

I was scheduled in the first slot of the day so I had an 8am start, so I didn’t spend too long in the bar, I was  quite happy with the 8am slot as it let me get up deliver my sessions and then enjoy the rest of the day.

My session seemed to go pretty well, there a few familiar faces in the crowd including my friend and former colleague David Postlethwaite who is a regular contributor to this blog. I didn’t count the actual numbers in attendance but I think there  was between 20 and 30 which I was happy with as it was the early session.

The sessions were 50 minutes long and I took up all the allocation of time. I did cover just about everything I intended to and people seemed to enjoy it. I’ll know more about people’s thoughts on the session when I get the feedback later in the week.

I skipped the keynote speech (naughty me) which was being held in the same room as my session straight after I’d finished. I wasn’t staying in Exeter after the event so I needed to get breakfast and get checked out of the hotel.

After the keynote I had a tough decision to make, I wanted to see both Christian Bolton’s session SQL Server 2012 HA and DR Architectures and Denny Cherry’s indexing session. I chose Denny’s session as he had travelled from California to attend and speak and I hadn’t seen any of his sessions previously. Having seen Christian at several SQL Bits I thought I’d see someone new. It was a great session.

The before lunch I took in Dave Ballantyne’s session on statistics and Mladen Pradjic’s SQL Sever Injection session that were both great.

Lunch was plentiful and enjoyable, there was plenty of networking and chatting going on.

In the afternoon I took in Gavin Payne’s session on how to be a better architect, Williams Durkins’ first ever presentation on Replication and finally Neil Hambly’s session on SQL Server Waits.

All-in-all it was a great day that I really enjoyed. I’d like to thank the all the guys that helped put on the event, they worked tirelessly to ensure everything run smoothly and their efforts paid off as the event was great. I hope they organise another one next year.

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