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SQLSaturday #49 Orlando – Recap

This past weekend I had the pleasure of presenting at another great SQLSaturday event, number 49 actually and the 3rd one I’ve been to in Orlando. One of the greatest things about this event is not only the great stuff you learn but most importantly the amazing people you meet!

This event was especially exciting for me for several reasons. First being that this is the first event I’d be attending as a PragmaticWorks employee, which still boggles my mind that I can say that! Secondly, in addition to all the amazing people that were presenting this weekend there were a couple of folks that I’ve come to know/admire/respect online for the past year which I finally got to meet face to face for the first time. Most notably of these were Mike Walsh (Blog | Twitter), Kathi Kellenberger (Blog | Twitter), Ed Wilson (Blog | Twitter) and the SQL Rockstar himself, Tom LaRock (Blog | Twitter)! For those of you who followed along the #sqlsat49 Twitter stream that weekend, you’ll have noticed that Tom and I have developed what can only be termed as a bro-mance. It couldn’t be helped people, this is what happens when outstanding geekiness meets pure shenanigans. It’s an unstoppable force of nature and I can only imagine what the week of PASS Summit will hold in store.

Man-love aside, let’s talk about the event and the awesome schedule that was laid out for us. As I have changed my career path from being a DBA to a BI consultant I’ve decided that from here on out I’d attend as many BI-centric sessions at events as possible. I kept this goal in mind but I couldn’t resist going to see Tom’s session on Wait Stats as I had missed him give this presentation online. Wait stats are a vital thing to learn no matter which tree of SQL Server you’re specialized in so I really enjoyed the topic. Tom’s a great presenter and one of the things that really struck me is this: Tom works for Confio, Confio makes Ignite 8 which focuses on wait stats and reporting on them in an easy and generally awesome way. You’d think this session would basically be an Ignite 8 infomercial but it wasn’t at all! In fact he did something really awesome in displaying Ignite graphs without specifically telling you where they’re from. Let the fish come to the bait, so to speak. One thing that was really cool from this session is I had no idea about was the SQL Diagramming method by Dan Tow (Website). I’ll definitely try to use this in the future.

I wasn’t able to attend a session during the second time slot since another exciting event took place. Recently PASS has re-launched the Regional Mentor program, of which I’m proud to say I’m one of the RM’s for the U.S. Greater Southeast region along with Adam Jorgensen (Blog | Twitter). Also in attendance at this event were several other RM’s including Patrick “The Ego” LeBlanc (Blog | Twitter) and Karla Landrum (Blog | Twitter). Since we had so many RM’s together we met with Andy Warren (Blog | Twitter) and fleshed out some thoughts and ideas for stuff we’re looking to do with and for the RM program. I’ll expound more on this meeting as well as activities from the RM program in another blog post. Suffice to say this was a great meeting and look forward to some exciting stuff to come from PASS in the near future!

Next up I headed over to the BI track and listened to Devin Knight (Blog | Twitter) present on Intro to Analysis Services. If you’re new to BI and want to learn Analysis Services (or anything from the BI stack really) I highly recommend you catch one of Devin’s sessions. Great presentation that demos that make SSAS easy to digest and understand. Unfortunately Devin wasn’t able to use some kind of drug dealer database as his data source (which would have been highly entertaining) so we were “forced” to watch him demo using the standard AdventureWorks data sets. This wasn’t the last time I’d hear about this drug dealer data set today…

After lunch I swung by Patrick’s mini session on “Why Should You Present” and watched Patrick’s ego go into over drive! For those who don’t know, Patrick is a great guy and an amazing presenter. We joke about his ego since when you see him present you can instantly see how comfortable Patrick is up there (and he’ll let you know it too). Great topic and I can’t encourage folks enough to present. Honestly it’s one of the greatest ways to learn something new as it forces you to learn a topic!

I continued my BI knowledge suck by checking out Wes Dumey’s Data Warehousing session. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to stay for the whole thing as I had to leave early to prepare for my session in the next time slot. From the time I was there though, Wes did a pretty good job covering data warehousing concepts and terminology.

After my Policy-Based Management In a Nutshell session, I shot over to my last session of the day, Patrick’s CDC+SSIS = SCD (Slowly Changing Dimensions) session as it seemed like a pretty interesting topic. I wasn’t let down. Patrick, entertaining as ever, covered a pretty topic pretty thoroughly and walked us though a bunch of code which was really interesting. Again, if you ever get a chance go watch Patrick present. If you can’t make it in person make sure to check him out at his site http://sqllunch.com where he hosts free SQL webinars on a pretty regular basis.

The day wrapped us as per usual with tons of great giveaways from sponsors which included prizes like an iPad, free software, shirts, dart boards, and even an Apple TV! A HUGE thanks goes out to the organizers Jack Corbett (Blog | Twitter), Andy Warren and Kendal Van Dyke (Blog | Twitter) for doing such a fantastic job with this event. These guys always put on a fantastic event and their experience shows with how well everything flows and is executed. Another huge thanks goes to the volunteers for the event. Without them an event of this high of quality wouldn’t run as smooth as it does. Thank you Orlando for another amazing event!

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