I do it for the schwag...

This weekend, I rounded out the SQL Saturday Texas Trifecta: Houston, Dallas, and Austin.

Earlier this year, I attended the SQL Saturdays in Houston and Dallas.  These were both fantastic events; I gained some excellent technical training and I made some great connections with other DBAs in the field.

When it was announced that Austin was going to host a SQL Saturday, I immediately jumped at the chance to present.  With this move, I went from being a spectator to a spectacle.

SQL Server Amnesia

I gave my presentation over SQL Server memory usage and how to troubleshoot problems that arise from it.  I took my attendees through the basics of using Perfmon and DMVs to peek under the hood and see what SQL Server and Windows are doing with all the memory.  Thankfully, all my demos worked as planned.  When I did this presentation at the CACTUSS User Group, my laptop locked up, and I had to pop the battery out.  How’s that for memory pressure?

No one threw tomatoes at me, and several people asked me some extended questions afterwards. So, I guess that means I did alright.  If you did see my session, please take a moment to give me some feedback.  If you would like the slides or sample code, they are posted on the SQL Saturday #97 website.

I was a little nervous making the jump from presentations at the CACTUSS User Group to a SQL Saturday.  In the end, it was a good decision and I feel excited about making the plunge.  I see this as an opportunity to step up my game and try to give a little back to the community that has helped me hone my DBA skills.

The Sessions

After presenting my session, I checked out some of the other great speakers.  Russell Johnson (blog | twitter) gave a nice overview of the various options that are available for HA and DR in our ever-futile pursuit of a No-Downtime Architecture.

SQL Saturday #97

Then it was time for lunch, so I stowed my laptop, grabbed lunch, and chatted with some of the other attendees.  Lunch is also a great time to check out the vendor and sponsor booths.

After lunch, I checked out Jim Murphy’s (blog | twitter) demo of Denali’s Always On Architecture.  He took us through the basics of how it works, and then showed off a demo of Always On in action.

Next, I attended Joe Celko’s dive into Advanced Table Constraints.  He took us through some of the more obscure options for constraints, and discussed how these can assist the query optimizer.

To finish out the day, I learned about the potpourri of management TLAs that are available: CMS, PBM, EPM, MDW, UCP, and DAC.  Nancy Hidy-Wilson (blog) took us through the basics of each of these tools and showed us how they all fit together to help you manage your enterprise.

Vendors and Sponsors

In the foyer, there were booths from several vendors: Idera, Quest, Fusion-IO, Confio, and Texas Memory Systems.  Included with your registration were several raffle tickets that you could use at the vendor tables to try to win some cool prizes: Kindles, iPads, Gift Cards, Software Licences, and more. Several of these vendors had free versions of their tools available to try.

I really have to commend Idera here, as they went above and beyond in their sponsorship of the event: running the registration, manning the info booth, and giving away some great prizes.

Speakers Dinner and After Party

The Speakers Dinner was a nice event where we got to meet the other speakers, finalize any last minute changes to the event, and blow off a little steam before the big event.  Wes Brown & Co. (blog | twitter) treated us to some local grub at Iron Works BBQ.  I really enjoyed chatting with some of the more experienced speakers and getting some tips.  It was also cool meeting a few of the other first timers and seeing I wasn’t the only nervous one in the bunch.

We had the After Party at the same location, and this was a good opportunity to reflect on the day’s events and compare notes with speakers and attendees alike.  I met some really cool people and I’m looking forward to seeing my new friends again.


I hope this is shrink to fit...

If you have never attended a SQL Saturday, I encourage you to check the schedule and see when we’ll be coming to your town.  When I look back to January, when I attended my first SQL Saturday in Houston to ten months later, presenting at my first one in Austin, it amazes me what a good year 2011 has been for me.

From learning about some cool tools, picking up some good technical knowledge, and most importantly making some new friends; I have been very fortunate indeed.  The best part, I finally got a coveted SQL Saturday shirt to call my own.