I enjoyed a long weekend in Houston starting with Kalen Delaney’s Pre-con on Query Tuning. I have learned over the past years that I should concentrate on 2 or 3 items to take from the training. The first was no matter what kind of T-SQL development is done through an application, there is always a performance gotcha with just Stored Procedures or Parameterized Queries or generated SQL code. It seems a DBA will always be needed to discover what’s in the Plan Cache or a query plan that is hindering performance. The second item was tips and tricks while reading query plans. The zoom to fit was great, Last, the ordered property of an operator and the thought that the plan is read from right to left for data and left to right by calls to the APIs.
In the room Friday was my buddy Rob from Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Jim Murphy from Austin and Nancy from the SQLSaturday Houston crew with Malik. I meet @SQLAvenger again and talked about our presentations from this year. I was surprised the crowd attending the Pre-con did not know about the SQLSaturday event the next day, but somehow found out about the 1-day training as they called it. This Pre-Con sold out (50+ attendees) before the discount price ($88) ran out. Thanks to Idera for bringing Kalen in for Idera Ace training.
I was only able to visit for about an hour at the Speaker/Volunteer appreciation dinner before visiting with an old friend from college. I chatted with Jen and Sean McCown (@MidnightDBA), Wesley Brown (@SQLServerIO) from Austin, Christine, Mike from California, Kendal and many more. The Idera Ace program brought about 10-12 additional speakers in town for SQLSaturday which really boosted the variety of sessions.
Saturday started with a quick registration because of Speed PASS. The parking lot was almost full first thing in the morning, which is really encouraging for SQLSaturdays. I started in Tim Mitchell’s What’s New in SSIS 2012.
I enjoyed hearing about the new DQS component of SSIS.
Next was me with Dimensional Modeling 101. The room was packed with people standing and 3-4 speakers attending which was nice to have to help answer questions. The talk was well received and I tried improving it from the first go thru in Colorado Springs. It was good to read the reviews and change the flow. I was surprised with the comments, and not so surprised with the suggestions for improvement which included adding more descriptions from the Kimball group process. It would definitely be nicer to have another 15 minutes :) I also converted it to SQL Server 2012 – SSIS, SSAS and the AdventureWorks database.
Next, I went to the speaker’s room to visit and relax. At lunch time, I sat with attendees and ask questions about why they came and what their future looks like. It is great to see younger (20-something) IT professionals hungry for learning and advancing. The YES school IT people were at our table and talked about their school, which helps troubled kids get an education. The school was really nice with tech equipment. One room was decked out with Texas A&M which of course I stayed away from.
Next was Bill Pearson talking DAX and PowerPivot. If you have never meet this Georgia native, you need to at the next SQLSaturday you attend. He talks almost at every one of them, and has started to do Pre-cons. His knowledge of BI runs for many years.
Execution Plan Basics is a session I have done many times, but the session slowed downed because of questions and discussions about clustered indexes and how a primary key does not have to be a clustered index and is not required for the primary key. This got me thinking about a new session which I have heard other people do – Indexes for Developers.
Back in the speaker room, I talked with Jonathon and Louisiana life and family. It was pleasant to rest a second and just visit. Before long I was helping Nancy and crew clean the speaker’s room and hauling trash to the dumpster. Nancy and Sri rapped things up with talk of SQLRally in Dallas and raffle items from the sponsors. Idera (home office in Houston) was the main sponsor, but I got to spend time talking with Confio (Ignite), Texas Memory Systems and Joes to Pros writer Rick Morelan. Rick and their company gave away lots of books and DVDs which the speakers were able to give during sessions. I had one attendee excited about taking some training home with her for work.
I ended the evening Saturday with an Astros game. They lost, but relaxing at a ballpark is always enjoyable for me. Houston, see ya next year and some of ya’ll all in Baton Rouge for SQL Saturday #105.