Thursday, October 4, 2012

Recap of SQL Saturday #151 Orlando - September 29, 2012

This last Saturday September 29, I had the opportunity to speak at SQL Saturday in Orlando. It was such a great experience from many different levels. I guess I will start with the speaker’s dinner. I arrived on Friday afternoon and after checking in at the hotel, I worked on the final details of my presentation. I then headed down to Liam Fitzpatrick's Irish Restaurant on Market Promenade Avenue where the speaker’s dinner was taking place.

The first person I ran into was Anthony Sammartino, @apsammartino. Anthony and I are locals from South Florida and both work for TekPartners BI Solutions. We walked into the restaurant and were immediately greeted by PASS community evangelist Karla Laundrum @KarlaKay22, and SQL Server MVP Rodney Laundrum @SQLBeat,  who were two of the organizers of the event. Also other MVPs, community leaders and long term community pioneers such as Andy Warren @sqlandy, Kendal Van Dyke @SQLDBA, Allen White @SQLRunr, Jose Chinchilla @sqljoe, Pam Shaw @pamshaw, etc... It was nice to get there and immediately recognize so many familiar faces and meet for the first time SQL Server and BI experts like Kevin Kline @kekline, and Stacia Misner    SSAS Maestro @StaciaMisner. I can’t name everyone but in short, the heart of SQL PASS was at this gathering. After all, this is where SQL Saturday was born! 

After a nice evening of SQL Server, BI and all things IT talk I got back to the hotel to get some rest. The next morning the day started very early. At 6:45 I was on my way to the Seminole State College where the event was taking place. After stopping by the sponsor’s booths, including our own (TekPartners was one of the sponsors) I headed to my first session. By the time the session began it was standing room only for “SQL Server Architecture” presented by Kevin Kline. It was a great session, Kevin can explain something as complex as the SQL Server internal architecture in a way that everyone in the audience could walk right out and explain it to anyone. I was glad to find the answers to some long standing questions I have had! 

My second session was “Transitioning from SQL Trace to Extended Events” with Jack Corbett presenter and SQL Server MVP @unclebiguns. Great session, lots of good information. I had not used extended events before and I am now adventuring in those waters. One of the things I like about SQL Saturday besides the amount of information you can get in one day is the insight that subject matter experts can provide. 

Next on my agenda, “Data Vizualization in Reporting Services” presented by Stacia Misner. This session was very focused on creating reports with the user experience in mind. Something we (Technology people) sometimes forget to put first. It was a great session as I had expected. 

And then it was lunch time! The organizers of SQL Saturday Orlando had this great idea to have all of the speakers serve lunch to the attendees. For this very important task the organizers equipped the speakers with the proper gear (See picture below). It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to talk and network with attendees that otherwise I would not have had the opportunity to meet. Besides meeting tons of local professionals I got exclusive access to the unlimited food supply MWAHAHAHAHAHA!! 

The fourth session I attended was “SSAS Tabular and Self Service BI – TheDynamDAX Duo” presented By Anthony Sammartino. This great presentation focused on how SSAS tabular and the new DAX language can be game changers. His approach to explaining DAX for the T-SQL speaking pro makes a lot of sense. I recommend you catch this session in a future SQL Saturday if you didn’t this time. 

Up next was my presentation “Change Tracking and Change Data Capture Deep Dive”. My presentation has evolved since the first time I gave it. It started as a demo on how to load Type I and Type II dimensions with these technologies. There was so much information and I always ran out of time so I decided to split the presentation in two. Part one, “Change Tracking and Change Data Capture Deep Dive” and Part II, “Change Tracking and Change Data Capture in the Real Time Data Warehouse”, which I will be presenting at the upcoming SQL Saturday in Charlotte. Keep reading if you are interested in seeing the slides I used for this presentation. 

I could not stay for the last presentation and raffle this time but I sure made the most of the event. If you are reading this blog and have attended a SQL Saturday you know what I am talking about and what a great community this is. If you are a data professional and have never attended a SQL Saturday I highly encourage you to start attending your local user group meetings and also catch the next SQL Saturday near you. 

I am already looking forward to my next SQL Saturday which is on October 27, 2012 in Charlotte, NC and look forward to seeing all of you there. 

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