I left Colorado on Monday to head to SQL Server Connections in Orlando, FL. It snowed at my house Monday morning, but it was 80F in Orlando on Tuesday, which was quite a change. Unlike most people, I would have been happy to stay in Colorado and try to ski this week, and enjoy the cooler weather. However I'm not complaining as Orlando is a great location for a conference, and I'm trying to enjoy the weather. I haven't seen the pool since I arrived, but I'm hoping to take a few minutes to relax on Wednesday by the pool before I head back to Denver Thursday morning.
At the conference I am playing host to the SQLServerCentral track at SQL Server Connections that features guest speakers Brian Kelley and Joe Webb, two very popular presenters that are covering a variety of topics. Andy Leonard, one of our BI authors is also here as part of the SQLskills track, talking SSIS to the crowd, along with notable SQL Server experts Kimberly Tripp, Paul Randal, Brent Ozar, and Denny Cherry. It's quite a lineup and the SQL Server rooms are very busy at the conference.
There are a few things that seem to make the DevConnections event a very enjoyable one for many people. First is the locations, which are always in places that are attractive to the rest of your family. The spring conference is in Orlando, and the fall conference is in Las Vegas, both places where the weather is very enjoyable. While it's snowing in some parts of the country, it's warm here, and quite a few speakers and attendees brought their families along on the trip. That's not something I see too often at other events, and it's nice way to combine some time away from work with a little vacation time.
I also like the relaxed pace of SQL Server Connections. The sessions are not packed together, with just enough time to run from one session to the next. Many of the sessions have an hour between them, which makes for great networking time, a chance to get a bite to eat if you need it, or the chance to wander the expo hall at a more relaxed pace. The conference seems to have a better balance between learning in sessions and getting the chance to talk to other attendees and speakers.
I have enjoyed many different conferences over the years, in a variety of locations, and SQL Server Connections is proving to be one of my favorites.