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Takeaways from Data Grillen 2024


Before anyone tries to order something online from DataGrillen.com and thinks it will be delivered by them by TakeAway.com: STOP. The content of this article is, of course, about the annual, legendary and unique event called Data Grillen, helt in Lingen (Germany). To my knowledge the only event where the beer flows from the keynote on day one up and till the raffle on day two. Data Grillen was always a events that sizzled through the office back in my days as manager. The combination of Beer, Bratwurst and Data (in that order) always stood out for some reason by our engineers. When I decided to leave my old company back in 2021, returning to what I love the most: consulting in the combination of people, processes and technology, I never had expected to end up at the famous Data Grillen. This time as an attendee, but I will raise the bar high to get on the speaker list for next edition.

Traveling to Lingen

My travel buddy and partner in crime Peter Kruis picked me up at a drizzling Wednesday afternoon, for a 3.5 hour drive to the sun! Yes, the weather difference between our seaside island and the north of Germany was amazing and nothing to complain about. Peter decided that the AI composing of a hard-style song was a good addition to the road trip, where I thought that the style could better change to a more relax theme - click on the links, listen and decide for yourselves.

Peter Kruis and Tonie on their way to Germany

Our B&B was beautifully situated at just 5 minutes walking distances of the Lingen Campus, the location of the event. I think that officially that part of the campus is called IT Zentrum, but the campus feeling was clearly there. The train station and track separates the town in two with on one right hand the Campus and on the left hand the lovely city center.

overseeing the lingen germany station and campus

Fun fact; the city center was this year the stage for the Historic Kivelingsfest, which is organised every three year on Pentecost. 

Day 1

The beautiful weather continued and supported the informal dress code which was seen throughout the conference: shorts, shirts and aprons, in the picture below this is perfectly demonstrated by Joey D'Antoni. The aprons was the distinguished attribute to spot the speakers in the crowd while mingling and networking.

shorts, shirt, aprol by Joey Dantoni

But before the conference could start, the keynote from the organizers Ben Weissman and William Durkin took place. Bottom line: have fun, respect each other, clean up your stuff and please donate to Tafel Lingen. The idea behind this is, we're all having this great FREE event - which is of course paid by 8 sponsors (thank you) - but there are many people struggling to get food on the table. These people can get food from Tafel Lingen, so the message was: please give a donation to this charity - a noble gesture!

Session 1 - Understanding the Azure Data Platform Options by Joey D'Antoni

Joey led a packed room, called Holzkohle (Charcoal), through the difference data platform option to choose from in the Azure platform. It was basically a walk-through the different IaaS, Paas and Saas offerings Microsoft Azure has for solution processing or holding data. Good stuff and engagingly told!

data grillen session

Session 2 - Building an Azure Data Resources with Bicep by Frank Geisler

Switching over to the next room, Grillrost (Grill Grade), the subject still was Azure but now in a more coding way. Frank Geisler took the attendees by the hand with the choice of tool for deploying solution with Infrastructure as Code (IaC), to be more precise: Bicep. Without having any experience in this, this could be interesting for future project for me.

data grillen session

Session 3 - an Introduction to DuckDB by André Kamman

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect of this. I came for the famous name and of course the duck (whom wasn't grilled during this session). My conclusion, without spoiling the session content completely, almost any data (or any tech) professional can benefit from DuckDb in his/her/they toolbox. For anyone that is so lucky (?!) to come across CSV-files now and then, this is a must-have! Please check out, this session somewhere in a venue near you, or just check out DuckDb.

data grillen session

Session 4 - DevOps and FinOps: A Strategy for Cost-Effective Data Platforms by Hamish Watson

Next session is held by the energetic, stylish and above all proud Kiwi Hamish Watson. This King of DevOps carefully linked DevOps with FinOps in his session and created two new words during the process.  HamishOps, call DevOps/FinOps whatever you want if you got the right value for your people and processes out of it, and PullRecost, a slip of the tongue combining Pull Request en Costs - which eventually added up, merging pull request X may cost the company Y.

data grillen session

Session 5 - From substitutions to public keys - an introduction to cryptography by Daniel Hutmacher

Daniel took us in a live documentary style session through the world of cryptography, from Enigma to rainbow-tables. The audience was guided step-by-step in a easy to follow mathematic demonstration on what's happening under the hood of encrypted internet communication. I must say: I left with a decent understanding of what goes on underneath encryption, signatures and certificates and can highly recommend this session to anyone that use encryption (read: anyone that uses a computer)!

data grillen session modulo

The grillen!

After so much information, and despite the good goulash lunch, the people got hungry.

data grillen bbq

Luckily the little rain, in between the sunny Lingen weather, didn't stop the BBQ cooks from working. The grill buffet was well-stocked with meat...:

bar is open by ben weissman

Day 2

After a good night sleep, at least that's what my sleep tracker told me, the sun was shining again and it was time for another day of learning, fun and people!

Personally the night didn't really felt as the best sleep, but in Data We Trust, so it was a good night of sleep!

Session 1 - Branching strategies 101 for data professionals by Karim Ourtani

Karim performed this session for the first time and he delivered! This was a solid session on branching strategies for data professionals, by providing essential basics and clear insights, making it easy to grasp the importance of effective branching in managing (data) projects. Karim's straightforward approach and practical examples were good, and I encourage you to see Karim if you can and want to learn the branching basics too.

data grillen session

Session 2 - Code, deploy and maintain your Azure (data) Infrastructure with confidence by Reitse Eskens

Reitse, the seasoned tall (2 meter) DBA from the Netherlands, presented a thorough session on coding, deploying, and maintaining Azure data infrastructure with Terraform. His detailed presentation started by the importance of security and how this can achieved better with Infrastructure as Code (IaC). His approach made complex concepts understandable, and even the fire-alarm didn't stop hem, so he could end the presentation with a useful demo.

data grillen session

Session 3 - The Sixth Sense: Using Log Analytics to Efficiently Manage Your Azure Environment by Abhinav Jayanty

Let's keep the surprise and just nickname Abhi (Abhinav) as "Mister Topgun", you'll find out why. He delivered an engaging talk on using Log Analytics from Azure, the session was a blend of technical content and entertaining delivery. If you are able to catch "Mister Topgun", go see Abhi and enjoy this session!

data grillen session

Session 4 - Database Deployment Automation using Database Projects & Azure DevOps by Olivier Van Steenlandt

My precon buddy for PASS 2024, was on fire during his session on database deployment automation. Olivier’s detailed explanations of YAML configurations and practical examples sparked lively discussions among attendees, including myself (thanks for the insights!). Are you using SSDT? Then this session is the go-to for those interested in automating their database deployments.

data grillen session

Session 5 - What's new in Azure SQL MI by Niko Neugebauer & Sasa Popovic

This duo's energetic delivery and dive into MI's new capabilities made this session both informative and enjoyable, they presented new features and future updates in a fun and engaging way. The interaction with the audience assured that I stayed awake after this long second day ;-).

data grillen session

Raffle and sponsors (exhibitors)

The event wrapped up with thanks to the sponsors including a raffle with cool prizes.

I even won something this time, I'm excited to win the book: Learn dbatools in a Month of Lunches.

sponsor crowd mingle redgate

Bis bald Deutschland

Leaving Data Grillen with new information and connections, we ended our trip in German style: with Schnitzel and Curry-wurst.

Data Grillen was a unique and enriching experience, and I would like to thank the organizers, helpers, speakers, sponsors and of course all the attendees.

schnitzel and currywurst

Germany remains always in my heart, but also on my nearby schedule: I'm happy to travel to "die Heimat" again but this time for Data Saturday Rheinland in June 29 in Bonn.

Bis bald, Deutschland!


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