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Thoughts on the 24 hours of PASS

From all indications, the first 24 hours of PASS was a resounding success. Hundreds of attendees for each session, minimal technical glitches. All in all, it went very well.

The first session I attended (well, part thereof) was Greg’s discussion on Spatial data. I would really have loved to see the entire thing, what I did see of it was exceptional, but I had to set up for my own session, and it was very difficult to listen to both Rick and Jacob going over last minute details and listen to Greg discussing geometry and geography. I’ll be sure to catch the entire thing once the sessions are available.

My session on indexes went quite well, with a good number of people attending. However it appears from some of the things I’ve read today that I totally messed up the explanation of order of columns in an index and confused the issue more than clarifying it. I think this presentation needs to go back to the drawing board. It works well enough with a small group of people in an interactive format, but not as a straight-up presentation with larger groups. Maybe some more diagrams would help, or more examples. I need to give some thought into what would work best.

Grant’s session on Performance Tuning was excellent, had me laughing at regular intervals, which was bad, I was watching it on my laptop at a local coffee shop. Other patrons must have thought I was crazy (and maybe they’re right). Grant got an infection of the demo-gremlins, but someone had to so that’s hardly a big problem.

Don’s discussion of database compatibility levels hit on all the important points. What is and is not affected by the compat mode, how keywords behave when the compat mode changes and what it doesn’t do to the database’s structure. I am curious about some of those ‘reserved for future use’ keywords. WHENEVER?

Steve’s presentation on better blogs was very informative. Some stuff I knew, some stuff I should have known, some stuff I am doing, some stuff I’m not. The webcam effects were amusing too. I do disagree on the hot-linking, but that’s an entire separate discussion.

Adam’s session on CLR was awesome. Nothing more needs saying, except that I want to play around with the code for some of the stuff he showed.

Kalen dug very deep into the transaction log in her discussion on Simple Recovery, showing how log truncation behaved on the three recovery models, how bulk operations behave and how log backups work (or don’t). After that I have to say that there’s not much that’s simple about simple recovery.

The last session I managed to stay awake for was Andrew’s presentation on wait stats. I’ve used wait types and wait stats quite extensively before, mostly due to a presentation that Andrew did a couple years ago at PASS, so this wasn’t completely new. Still some useful takeaways. I’m surprised by just how many wait types are in SQL 2008. Over 450. Interpreting all those cannot be fun.

All in all, this was a whole lot of fun. I do hope that this becomes an annual event. It’ll certainly go a long way to persuading people that PASS isn’t just the annual summit.

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