Jul 16 2012

SQL In The City: London 2012, Recap

Presenting on Ring BuffersWow!

How’s that for a recap?

The concept for the SQL in the City events is pretty simple. Put on a free event that instructs people on SQL Server, Azure, and related technologies along with a healthy smattering of Red Gate tools. All teaching is done by some of the best people in the business (and me).

This was the second event in London. The concept was launched there last year and succeeded quite well. This year the event filled it’s registrations so quickly that Red Gate felt obligated to have a second day, which almost completely filled up too. There were more than 350 people in attendance on Friday, and then, on Saturday, a day off, another 250+ people showed up. That’s well over 600 attendees over the two days. And what people! The UK audience is just excellent. These people really pay attention to what you’re saying. They don’t make many comments while the presentation is going on, but oh my gosh the detailed questions you get afterwards. It’s just wonderful. Plus, these guys are part of my #sqlfamily. I got to meet several people that I’ve met before in both the US and the UK. I love spending time with Tobiasz, Dave, Kev, Annette, Jonathan, Thomas, Neil. I also got to meet people that I had interacted with only online and they’re wonderful in person. Thanks to everyone who sought me out, especially Colin and Stephanie. It was a real privilege to meet you two (although neither of you knows the other). It’s the interpersonal aspects of these events that makes them great.

It’s so nice to be able to relax and show people something like¬†how to get a sandbox environment set up, but all the ways that using Red Gate tools to do it can help you make the job easier, faster and cheaper. Normally you can’t give an open answer when someone asks how to do something better or easier during a session. This venue makes that possible.

I put on three sessions during the day. One on how to improve performance, yours and your code, in T-SQL. I got to regale the crowd on all the evils of ddltbl (not a typo, you had to be there) as well as common, simple, mistakes made all the time in T-SQL code. I also did a session on sandbox deployments. While I’m personally against giving everyone & their brother a copy of the production database for development, I acknowledge that it is a good set of data to develop against. So, if you have to do it, you may as well use Virtual Restore to save some space. Finally, my last session was on some of the lesser used performance metrics that are actually more useful than people give them credit for.

I sat in on some of the other presentations and they were great. I really liked Steve Jones (blog|twitter) session on handling disasters. I also liked watching a new speaker, Annette Allen (twitter), stretch her legs for the first time. She was good. UK user groups take note. You have another resource available.

I had a blast presenting all these sessions, twice, and the crowds seemed receptive. I really appreciate everyone who attended and the excellent feedback that they politely (but firmly) provided. Then we had beer.

Yeah, you heard me. Wonderful, glorious, Red Gate beer served right there at the event. It was a great batch of Select * Ale. Highly recommended at the end of a hard day of T-SQL learning and networking.

It was a magnificently run event. The only complaint I heard was that we had an inadequate number of bathrooms for the men (which, I learned, are not called stalls in the UK, some humor doesn’t translate well). Thanks to Annabel Bradford and all the team at Red Gate who put the event together (even if I do work for them, it was a really well run event). You guys are magnificent.

If you missed a session while you were there or you want to see a session again, keep an eye on the SQL In The City web site. Videos of the sessions will be uploaded. If you weren’t there, you missed it. But, I have good news.

We’re taking the show on the road. We’re going to be hitting five cities in the US in September and October and then Seattle in (which I think is still in the US) in November. It’s going to be a lot of the same people presenting the same topics, but it’s also going to include a ton of excellent local speakers at each of the cities we hit. This means the excitement and education that SQL In The City represents will be accessible to lots more of you soon.

12 Comments

  • By Susana, July 16, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    I was at your presentation regarding writting better t-sql last Saturday and I must say that I really enjoyed it. I think your presentation style is engaging and kept me interested until the end, particularly because as a DBA, I have been the victim of some of the horrors you described (t-sql re-use via 11 levels of nested views!).
    I was wondering if you had any views on automatically generated sql. It’s a concept our developers are keen to introduce but I have had very little exposure to. Any pointers/comments/opinions will be much appreciated.
    Regards,
    Susana.

  • By Grant Fritchey, July 16, 2012 @ 9:55 am

    Hi Susana,
    Thanks so much for attending and for the very kind words.

    Yes, I have a view on generated T-SQL. In general terms, I like it a lot. I’m 100% in favor of anything that makes developers lives easier… until it makes my life harder.

    For generated code, most of the various tools we’d be talking about here are ORM (Object Relational Mapping) related. If they are used to map between Objects and Relational storage, you’re winning. If, on the other hand, they’re used to generate database designs, you’re in trouble.

    Where they shine is in generating the CUD part of CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) queries. They’re not so good with the Read queries because lowest common denominator T-SQL, which is what most tools generate, isn’t very good for reads. Instead, I suggest stored procedures for the reads. Most of the ORM tools can work just fine with procs. I’ve posted several times over the years on this topic. Just do a search on this blog for ORM, nHibernate, you’ll see some of the issues I’ve seen.

    Thanks again.

  • By Annette Allen, July 16, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    Thank you for the nice comment, I really appreciate it.

  • By Grant Fritchey, July 16, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

    Oh come on, stretch… leg… get it?

    You were great. Now you can look forward to more speaking gigs.

  • By Dave Burrows, July 17, 2012 @ 4:04 am

    Excellent sessions, informative and humourous. First class as always Grant.
    Great to meet you again. :-)

  • By waqas raja, July 17, 2012 @ 4:54 am

    I attended SQL In The City on Saturday and I would say it was one of the best SQL Server Training Session from SQL Server Specialists.
    After the event, I shared the knowledge with Senior Developers and DBAs at my work place and they have highly appreciated.

  • By Dan Taylor, July 17, 2012 @ 5:23 am

    Grant, Thanks for speaking at SQL in the City – I was there on Friday and I really enjoyed your sessions on Sandboxed Database Development and the more obscure monitoring techniques – I’m busily enabling extending events as I type this!

    I’m really looking forward to next years event!

  • By Grant Fritchey, July 17, 2012 @ 6:16 am

    Hey Dave! Thanks for coming out. It was great getting to talk. Wish I could make that happen more often.

    Waqas, thank you for attending. I’m glad to hear the information was useful to you.

    Dan, thank you (and you, and you, and you). Glad to hear you’re getting extended events going. I’m positive you’ll be happy with the results.

  • By Martin, July 17, 2012 @ 9:36 am

    Grant, I attended your monitoring metrics session on the Friday and really learnt a lot. Very informative and enjoyable. Thanks!

  • By Stephanie B, July 17, 2012 @ 9:39 am

    Grant, it was a real privilege to meet you too and also to attend your excellent presentations.
    Thank you so much for all your work in helping the SQL Server community to gain more knowledge and capability.

    Thanks too to all the Red Gate folks involved in organising this brilliant event.
    I will definitely try to attend SQL In The City next year.

  • By Grant Fritchey, July 17, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    Martin, Thank you for attending. Glad to know you found the session informative.

    Stephanie, again, great to meet you. I love your thoughts & insights. You should start a blog. Thanks for attending.

  • By Simon Liddle, August 8, 2012 @ 7:57 am

    Grant, I attended the event on Friday (we spoke about the joys of firmware upgrades afterwards over a beer or two!) – I thought your sandbox session was very useful! I’ve been looking at the presentations I missed, and the Resources slide from your Lost Rings (monitoring) session lists http://www.scarydba.com/Monitoring which appears to be a dead link – I was wondering if you could point me to the right link?

    All the best from the UK!

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