Tuesday, 20 April 2010


The sixth SQLBits conference was in London last Friday at Church House Conference Centre, a stones throw from Westminster.

Not being short of lieu time or holiday a Friday conference fortunately wasn't a problem for me.
The organisers had once again attracted sufficient sponsorship to keep the event free. Not only were the sessions free, but so was the food (sausage/bacon rolls for breakfast, a generous packed lunch, cakes both mid-morning and afternoon and finally pizza to accompany beer and games). Coffee to keep tired brains alert was flowing throughout the day too.

The theme for SQLBits VI was 'Performance and Scalability' and my first mission was to which sessions to attend. There were 24 sessions (6 time slots x 4 rooms) split across 3 tracks (dba, dev, bi). Given I haven't yet mastered being in 2 places at once I had to decide what to attend.

Like a festival, the headlining acts are on in different arenas at the same time. This makes deciding what to attend a little awkward. Just how do you chose? Focus on technical content you're using now?, stuff you want to use? , attend the sessions because a speaker is entertaining?

Fortunately I recalled that the SQLBits V sessions (videos | blog entry) made their way onto the website which took the pressure off. I won't really miss anything after all. With some sessions being content rich, I have found myself downloading and watching them a number of times, pausing, rewinding etc. This fact added a further tactic to assist me with my session choices, to save the 'level 400' ones for later.

In the end, I attended the following sessions (largely opting for Dev/BI choices) >

Design Patterns for SSIS Performance
Darren Green

Fast Track Foundations : Sequential IO
James Rowland-Jones  | Allan Mitchell

Performance & Scalability through normalisation & set theory
Tony Rogerson

Denormalisation - Having your cake and eating it
Mark Whitehorn  & Yasmeen Ahmed

Optimizing tempdb and temporary object use
Christian Bolton

Designing and Tuning High Speed Data Loading
Thomas Kejser

I enjoyed them all, and (as usual) made note of several subjects for further reading (Like my 'to-do' list needed lengthening). The first and last sessions I attended were of most immediate use for my SSIS endeavours. Like the other attendees, I'm eagerly awaiting the upload of the session videos (and not just to see if I'm in them - Hello mum!).

PS : Anyone reading this post who is thinking of coming to a SQLBits event, don't just think about it, DO IT! You'll learn nuggets of practical information in a single day direct from db/bi experts.

PPS : A big thank you to the team, the sponsors and for a certain competition prize ;)

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