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What Will I See at SQL Connections?

By Steve Jones,

This year I'm attending two SQL Server conferences, the PASS Summit and SQL Connections. This will be my first time at the Connections event, and I'm looking forward to it. I've heard great things about the event in the past, and past speakers there have told me there is a whole different group of people that attend. I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of new SQL Server professionals. Be sure to stop me and say "hi" if you'd like.

Since I'll be there for 3 days, I don't have a party to plan or run (this year), I decided to check out the list of sessions at the event. I've been watching the banners rotate by, and seeing a fantastic list of speakers.  Most of them have a lot to teach me and you, so I'll give you my top list of sessions and why. Note that I'm not going by the schedule for now. I'll figure out what to do with conflicts later.

  • SBI205: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Data Visualizations in SSRS 2008 - Visualizing data is something that I think DBAs ought to help more business people with. We deal in result sets, and it's easy for us to understand large amounts of data this way. Lots of business people would do better with graphs and charts, and I'd like to see how well SSRS can present data.
  • SDV302: Minimally Logged Operations and Other Data Modification Enhancements in SQL Server 2008 - This caught my eye since I see so many questions on logging these days. I'm sure Itzik can teach me a thing or two (or ten).
  • SDV307: SQL Server Covering: Concepts, Concerns and Costs - Indexing has changed a lot in SQL Server 2005 and 2008. I always enjoy Mrs. Tripp speaking, and am looking forward to a few practical hints.
  • SDV303: T-SQL Power! Learning to Harness the Under-Used OVER Clause -This solves a bunch of problems I used to have in SQL Server 2000, but I haven't done a lot with it. I'm curious what Adam can do with this clause.
  • SDV210: What Happened? Auditing, Tracking, and Change Monitoring Technologies in SQL Server 2008 - Everyone could probably learn more about auditing. It seems every discussion I have about this enlightens me. I'm curious how the new features are used in the real world.
  • SDB304: Practical Performance Monitoring in SQL Server 2008 - I like practical things. I am sure this is a session where you'll want the slides, and need to take notes.
  • SDB408: Can You Account for Your Memory? - It's always good to understand more about how memory is used.
  • SDB410: What Are You Waiting On? - Wait states are somewhat of a mystery to me. I have an idea of what they are, but I don't dig in enough to really use them.
  • SMS05: Manageability Series: Uncover Hidden Secrets of T-SQL Scripts with Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio - Tips and tricks for SSMS would be nice. I found a lot of them in Query Analyzer years ago, but I deal with the bare bones of SSMS, so I'd like to learn a few things here.
  • SQS306: Scouting Out Execution Plans - I don't do enough tuning, so I'd like to see what Grant's discovered while writing his book: SQL Server Execution Plans
  • SQS404: Darling, Your SQL is Sooo Last Season! - Joe Celko talks T-SQL. A legend in the SQL world, I think this is worth seeing.
  • SQS307: MUQT: More Unnecessary Query Tuning - I could always use a refresher on things to look for in tuning.

There are only 9 sessions on Wed and Thur, and I've listed 12, so I'll definitely have to make some choices here.  As someone that writes relatively little T-SQL, and is more interested in how I can present information back to others, I'm tackling some areas that I think I can help get more information out about.

Tuesday is taken up with Microsoft sessions, and I've listed one here (SSMS tricks), but I find that these can be good sessions for general knowledge, but they often get a lot of marketing and "shiny bits" focus, without deep technical information. Nothing wrong with that, but I read a lot about the products already, so I don't need someone explaining those same things to me.

I think it helps to have a bit of a plan when you're attending a conference. Most of the talented people I know in the SQL Server world typically do have an agenda before they attend, and a list of sessions they want to attend. You can just go and learn something in most sessions, but I'd recommend you focus on topics that will help your career and/or your employer. Dig through the list and pick out some good ones before you attend.

And look for plenty of blogging and notes from me on my experience.

Steve Jones


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