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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

The SQL Rally - Who Would I Vote For?

I was looking over the pre-conference sessions submitted for the SQL Rally event taking place next May in Orlando. I think it’s great that the community gets the chance to vote on the submissions and help decide what will be offered.

Note that you don’t have to attend the event to vote, so go vote now. Vote honestly, and think about what you’d be interested in seeing, and paying for.

But go vote!

I’ve seen some posts from Joe Webb, Andy Leonard, Grant Fritchey and Brian Kelley as well as others on their submissions. I went to vote, and thought there were some great sessions. So who would I vote for? Let’s break them down:

BI Track

A Day of SSIS with Andy Leonard: Andy is a friend and I’ve seen him speak. He’s got that down home, Southern style and he’s easy to listen to. Andy is one of my go-to people for SSIS questions and this session likely will give you the framework for building great SSIS packages along with tools to help to ensure you know what will be happening in your ETL process. I think this would give me the outline of how to better design SSIS packages.

Business Intelligence Workshop with Patrick LeBlanc, Devin Knight, Mike Davis and Adam Jorgensen. Patrick is a good friend as well and the rest of the Pragmatic Works crew are talented consultants that I’ve recommended work to. Learn to build a data warehouse from start to finish. Ambitious, but I can certainly see this happening. After all, founder Brian Knight used to build a SQL Server cluster in an hour, something that was equally impressive.

Advanced Reporting Services – How to achieve almost anything by Simon Sabin. I think Simon is one of the people that I would highly recommend for almost any SQL Server work in the UK. He’s a great speaker, and easy to understand. This session looks like a great outline for how to design your reporting infrastructure so that it is flexible and you can build those reports quicker than ever.

The winner?

You can’t go wrong with any of these sessions. They all cover slightly different topics, but you have great topics and they’ll all be great. I expect that the community’s majority on the topic (SSIS, SSRS, DW) is what will get picked. I’d choose SSIS, but only because I think Andy would teach me a ton in one day that would help me get an SSIS job if I needed one.

DBA Track

Multi-SQL Server Management with PowerShell with Aaron Nelson. Aaron is one of the people that I think has done wonders with Powershell. Allen White, Sean McCown, and Aaron are the people I’d go to with Powershell questions. If I were managing servers, I’d do to this session. Powershell is built for scripting, and multiple servers require scripting to manage effectively and efficently. Aaron tells you to bring a laptop and I expect tons of code to be shown and examined.

SQL PowerShell for the DBA with Maximo R. Trinidad. I don’t know Maximo, but this looks like a nice intro to Powershell. If you’ve never touched the product, this is likely the session you’ll want to spend some time in to get up to speed quickly.

Top-to-Bottom SQL Server Security with Brian Kelley. Brian has been someone I’ve known for a decade and he’s a top notch, SQL Server expert. Much of his work has been with security, and he is definitely the person I’d call about any security issues. This looks like a great session, one that will teach you about many of the security things that most of us never think of. I’ve seen some sessions from the SANS Institute and the security people just look at the world differently. This should be a valuable session for anyone that has a high security or highly regulated environment.

Query Performance Tuning, Start to Finish with Grant Fritchey. I’ve known Grant for many years, and we talked about his session before it was submitted. Grant’s a great speaker, and you’ll enjoy listening. However Grant’s also written two great books on performance tuning and execution plans. He’s bringing that experience here and packing a ton into a day of learning.

The winner? I think these are all worthy sessions, but I’d have to say that if I were voting with my wallet, I’d pick Grant’s session. I’d learn something in any of them, but gaining more knowledge on query tuning would be of more interest to me. Brian’s security one would be a close second, and if I actually had to manage multiple servers, I’d probably think about Aaron’s Powershell one.

Developer Track

What every .NET developer MUST know about SQL Server

with Klaus Aschenbrenner. I haven’t seen Klaus speak, but this title caught my eye immediately. I think this is exactly the type of session that every developer that isn’t highly experienced with SQL Server should attend. I don’t know how it will go across since I haven’t seen it, but I love the topic.

Database Design Workshop by Louis Davidson. I’ve seen Louis speak quite a few times and I think he’s one of the people that really understands and cares about good database design. He has done this session, or a similar one a few times, including at the PASS Summit. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Maximize Your SQL Server 2008 Coding Skills with Plamen Ratchev. I met Plamen a few years ago and was impressed with him. I even borrowed part of one of his presentations (with permission) to incorporate into one I was doing. Plamen knows a lot about T-SQL and if you write T-SQL code, then this is likely the one to vote for. It doesn’t take any more time to do it right, IF you know how to do it right. Learn how to do it right.

The Winner? I’d have to say that Plamen’s session on T-SQL, including the new enhancements would be the one I pick.

Misc

I submitted one here, so keep that in mind.

Finding Your Dream Job with Steve Jones and Chris Shaw. Yep, this is mine. It’s based on the Modern Resume presentation I’ve done many times and Chris’ work with interviewing and finding a good job. I listened to Chris’ 24 Hours of PASS presentation and was impressed. And we decided to do one together. We’re looking to teach you how to find the job that fits you, and then get it by improving your skills and making yourself more attractive to employers.

So I Got Promoted, Now What? with Joe Webb. Joe is a great speaker and this session will help you figure out how to move out of being just a technical guy to being a manager or lead. Make no mistake, managing people is not easy and it requires new skills. This is a great place to learn how to adapt.

Leadership and Team Management Skills for the Database Professional with Kevin Kline. Kevin has been a leader for years. He is one of the people that stands out in the SQL Server field. We need more leadership and managerial skills and if you are looking for the SQL equivalent of “Win Friends and Influence People,” this is it.

The winner? I can’t pick one here. If you want to find a better job, then my session will help, although the leadership skills from Joe and Kevin can help with that as well. If you are interested in being a team lead, manager, or some other supervisory role, pick Joe or Kevin.

They’re All Good

Rarely have I found any bad pre-conference sessions offered, and in this case I think you have some tough decisions to make. But Vote for something, and pick those sessions that you think will help you most with your career.

Comments

Posted by knight_devin@hotmail.com on 27 October 2010

We build data warehouses in our sleep!  With a full day we could do two of them :)

I definately like this process for selecting the sessions.  It is hard to be upset if we don't get selected when the method is this transparent.

Posted by Andy Leonard on 27 October 2010

Thanks for the kind words and the endorsement Steve!

This process is a vast improvement over forming a committee, defining a process, collecting the recommendations, then deciding what to arbitrarily override because the results are unexpected. Doing things the old was is - to paraphase one blogger - "a waste of volunteer's time".

I agree with Devin - that team could build two DW's in a day! :) I can't argue with this method of selection and, like Devin (I'm a big copycat!), I will not be upset if I'm not selected. To me, this has the feel of friendly competition. In the end, the community wins!

I wish everyone good luck and can't wait to see who's selected.

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