I was able to attend the SQL in the City event in New York this past Friday. I highly recommend that anyone who can spare the time and travel should attend the next SQL in the City day in your area. I found it to be a very well put-together event with useful content and excellent networking opportunities.
At the event I was able to meet both Steve Jones (who compassionately shook my hand as I walked in dripping wet from the rain during my walk over to 3rd Avenue) and Grant Fritchey (Scary DBA). It was great to have even a brief conversation with each of them and introduce myself. I also got to meet Product Manager David Atkinson and Developer David Simner and talk briefly about the awesome SQL Source Control and SQL Compare products. The presentations I attended, "Database Maintenance Essentials", "Red Gate Tools - the Complete Lifecycle", and "The Whys and Hows of Database Continuous Integration" were all very informative and useful.
The highlight of the day was finding out about Red-Gate's Virtual Restore product. This tool essentially allows you to mount a .BAK file as a database. It supports multiple databases mounted from the same .BAK file, and it is not destructive to the .BAK file. From the description, it works very similarly to VMs that are mounted from a disk file and then store changes in a disk "diff" file. This tool allows you to save both space and time and sounds very awesome for developers.
I must say that I think Red-Gate has made a critical error with the marketing of this tool. Developers hear "restore" and think "DBA tool"; in fact I think that's what the Red-Gate marketing team thought too as this application is included in their DBA bundle only. I would absolutely use this tool as a developer and I might even use it as often as I use things like SQL Compare and the rest of the more developer-oriented tools. It's a game-changer, and I hope Red-Gate figures out that they're doing a very bad job of marketing this product and could probably be making a lot more money from it by just getting the word out that it's not only a DBA tool. For most of the other Red-Gate developer tools, a savvy developer could imagine cooking-up some sort of "good enough" workaround to not have to buy it (though certainly not in a shorter time than the reasonable expense for the license), but I would never even attempt creating something like Virtual Restore. I will absolutely be trying out this software later this week. Red-Gate - you've got to get the word out, even think about changing the name or something!!!
Thanks very much to everyone at Red-Gate for putting this event together. I hope to see you again at the next SQL in the City.