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How Critical is a Demo?

Do you always need a demo?

Do you always need a demo?

Is a demo always needed?

One of my more popular presentations I have been doing as of late is my “The Spy Who Loathed Me – An Intro to SQL Server Security” one. What is intriguing as that is is completely demo free.

This session covers a lot of material in a short time. The purpose of the session is not to teach you how actually take security measures, but to introduce you to the offerings SQL Server has in respects to security, and to inspire you, the learner, to want to learn more about the topics that caught your attention.

Each time I give this session, I state clearly that there is not a single demo being done in it. Then I expect about 1/2 the room to get up and walk out. Surprisingly they don’t. I then go on to state there are 2 reasons I don’t do any demo in this particular session.


1) There really isn’t enough time to include a demo with the quantity of content.

2) Any demo directly influences your choices and actions.


What does each of these really mean?

Let’s break it down a little more:

1) There really isn’t enough time to include a demo with the quantity of content.

I am going to take you through 90+% of the security features SQL has so you can get an idea of what is possible. I could easily make an entire week long course with demos on each topic covered; and that may happen (stay tuned…). I feel in this particular session it is important that you are introduced to what is possible. You get an overview of how different security features work, which hopefully peaks your interest, so you can then go and do further due diligence and determine what would actually work best for your environment.

2) Any demo directly influences your choices and actions.

If you see a demo the odds are that you are going to go and try it yourself. Even higher are the odds if it was a real cool demo that could help you. Demos directly influence what you know and do in SQL Server, or anything else really. A lot of people learn via observational learning. We see something done successfully, like a demo, and then try to emulate that something for our own benefit. There are times that is completely appropriate. For example, learning proper syntax, performance tuning suggestions, etc. There are also times when doing exactly as someone else did is not entirely appropriate, such as when database security is involved. Are there times it would be helpful to have a demo? Of course there are! Is it in the session I designed to relay as much information and inspire people to learn more about the different security features that SQL Server offers. Not so much. When we are talking security, especially at an introductory level, I feel that you should get informed of what is available with as little “influence” as possible. You can then dig in deeper with more focused sessions, training or documentation, that contains demos, to determine if and how the security feature is feasible for your environment.

There is a third item I don’t mention above, but is worth considering. Here’s my though on anyone who is making the effort to pull together a 60+ minute session without a lot of demos to help you learn. If they are good at what they do, you can rest assured that they have gone over the top to make the presentation strong enough to stand on its own and it isn’t something to be missed.

So, what is there to take away from all this rambling. It is quite simple. Just because a session doesn’t have a demo does not mean that it is of little or no value.

Broaden your horizons and accept that maybe, just maybe, you can learn a lot without seeing a actual demo all the time.

You may be surprised at the number of amazing sessions you have been missing out on.

The post How Critical is a Demo? appeared first on WaterOx Consulting, Inc.

WaterOx SQL

Chris Bell (MCITP) has been working with Microsoft technologies for over 20 years and using SQL Server for over 18 of those years. He is currently the Owner and Lead consultant for WaterOx Consulting, a Maryland based company focused on helping clients, that can’t afford or justify a full time data team, get the most from their SQL Server environments. For more information please visit WateroxConsulting.com.


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