SQL Saturday #331 Weekend Review

This past weekend was SQL Saturday #331 Denver. I always enjoy SQL Saturdays, but I was especially looking forward to this weekend because I was going to attend a SQL Saturday Pre-Con for the first time! The pre-con was fantastic! The Denver SQL Server User Group did an outstanding job, and it was a wonderful day of learning and networking.

I attended Ryan Adams’ session A Day of High Availability and Disaster Recovery. Ryan did an excellent job with this all-day session. You could tell that his agenda was carefully planned to build upon each module. Ryan’s first module was an in-depth tour of backups and restores, pointing out that these concepts were foundational to all High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions. In his next module, Ryan expanded on backup/restores as he introduced us to mirroring. Ryan then walked us through the concept of Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC). Culminating in his module on AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instances and Availability Groups, Ryan tied all the concepts together providing a holistic view of HA/DR. I would definitely recommend this all-day session to anyone looking to expand his or her knowledge of HA/DR. To find out more about Ryan Adams, you should check out his blog at ryanjadams.com.

So that was Friday, now on to the main event.

This year the Denver SQL Server User Group held their SQL Saturday at the University of Denver. Considering that this was the first year in that location, I expected some difficulties, but if there were any, they were not obvious. On-campus parking is at a premium, but the organizers did a good job of communicating this prior to the event, so I had planned out where I was going to park prior to attending. Check-in was easy, and in no time, I was enjoying the light breakfast that was provided.

The most difficult part of this whole event was deciding which sessions to attend. There were so many talented and content-knowledgeable speakers. During the first block of sessions, I decided to attend a session on SQL 2012 Extended Events presented by Jason Brimhall. For such a short session, Jason did an amazing job of providing a lot of information without the presentation feeling rushed or confusing. My next session was David Klee’s SQL Server Virtualization 201 session, and I think my tweet during the session perfectly described the experience. My last session before lunch was the third installment of Jason Kassay’s half-day session Introduction to Execution Plans & Query Tuning. I have attended this session before when Jason had only an hour to present. During his hour presentation, he did a terrific job, but you could tell he wanted to dive deeper, and this time he was able to do so.

After lunch, I attended two-thirds of Mike Fal’s half-day session Introduction to Powershell for the SQL Server DBA. Powershell is such a deep subject, but Mike was able glean the essential information and provided it in a clear and concise manner.  My final session was Critical Incident Debrief: Verbal Judo for the DBA by Russ Thomas. This non-technical session is one that I think every DBA should attend. Russ explained the need to debrief not only when failures occur, but also when you succeed.

This was an incredible SQL Saturday with so many other sessions I wish I could have attended. Thank you to all the speakers that took time out of their week to prepare, travel and present at this SQL Saturday. I also wanted to thank the Denver SQL Server User Group again for their hard work in organizing the SQL Saturday and the Pre-Cons.

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