Beer, brats, unicorns, paper airplanes and 36 awesome sessions

I’ve been meaning to write my blog post on last week’s SQL Saturday experience so finally I got to work so here it is:

Bored Member
Bored Member

After the previous weekend marked a record with 5 (five) SQL Saturday events all around the world on Apr 14 it was time for Wisconsin to show what they can do. And boy did they put on a great event. The organizing team did a fabulous job, helping 227 hungry minds learn about SQL Server from 33 speakers in 36 sessions organized on 6 tracks. They almost made it look easy.

I remember 2 years ago meeting the person responsible for this at SQL Saturday #31 in Chicago. Back then Jes Borland (b|t) had traveled 160 miles to volunteer at the event. She enjoyed it so much that she came back the next year as a speaker and a year after that with the help of her great friends from MADPASS , she put on an epic first time event!  This goes to show a how important a single person can be in the SQL Family and anyone who thinks that they will never be able to raise to the level of some of the speakers has to learn a lesson from Jes. Every marathon starts with a first step (and she will run one in Kenosha the next week too ) and every little helps.

I left work Friday afternoon, after a pretty busy day with Vince (b|t) and we headed north to the land of beer and cheese. We got to Madison, checked in at our hotel and shortly after I was headed to the Speaker Dinner. The atmosphere was great, beer was good and the lasagna was too much for me to handle in one sitting. The highlight of the night was the paper airplane fight started by Aaron Lowe (b|t) and continued in part by me. We had a lot of fun unwary that above our head was a clothesline with underwear and shirts to complete the Italian experience.

The next day we woke up bright and early, had a frugal breakfast at the hotel and headed to Madison Area Technical College for the event, registered, grabbed  some coffee and a bagel and after finding the speaker room we chose Mike Donnelly’s (b|tSSIS: Figuring Out Configuring  session, his first SQL Saturday presentation ever. He did a great job with a demo packed session that had a very good audience.

Unicorns and gang signs w/ @StrateSQL
Unicorns and gang signs w/ @StrateSQL

Next we decide to take Erin Stellato’s (b|t) DBCC Commands: The Quick and the Dangerous.  She did a great job condensing all DBCC commands in one session. I could not help not to drop the ” unicorns will die if you shrink the database” slogan and the room liked it. The same room hosted an extraordinary fun  session on what happens when you think outside of the reporting box.  Stacia Misner’s (b|t) (Way Too Much) Fun with Reporting Services  was spiced up with a lot of humor with the help of her daughter Erika Bakse (b|t) . They started playing Words With Friends inside a SSRS report and then went under the covers to explain how it is done and mainly how to use Report Actions in SSRS to create interactions inside a report.
It was  lunchtime and the menu included tasty brats, burgers and Cows of a Spot tables, the Wisconsin version of Birds of a feather. I sat at the Data Profiling table and had a great conversation with Ira Whiteside (b|t) and his lovely wife Theresa Whiteside. They where very kind to share with me and Vince some of the experience accumulated during the course of  their vast career working with Data Profiling and Data Quality  as well as some of the methods that were presented in Ira’s session that started right after lunch. It was a extremely interesting session titled Creating a Metadata Mart w/ SSIS – Data Governance and we learned a lot from it.

It was time for my session on Optimizing SQL Server I/O with Solid State Drives a session that seems to be very popular (same session was selected for SQL Saturday #119 in Chicago as well at Washington DC and Tampa before). I had some great feedback that I will try to use to improve the format and add some fresh content (whiteboard on TRIM, Wear Leveling and Bad Block Management). I had the honor to have in the audience Norm Kelm (b|t), Craig Purnell (b|t) and Matt Cherwin (t).  We did an impromptu drawing for a Ted Krueger’s book (signed by Ted himself) and we stayed in the same room for the last session of the day with Sanil Mhatre (b|t)on  Asynchronous programming with Service Broker . He did an excellent job and it was his first SQL Saturday presentation ever.

It was a great day and an epic event by MADPASS which made me look forward to the next SQL Saturday in Madison.




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