I’m back from my first SQLbits held in York last week and it was a great experience, something I will be urging all computer professionals who interact with SQL Server to attend in future.
Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the full day deep-dives on the Thursday, but I paid to attend on the Friday and thanks to the great sponsors the Saturday was free. SQLBits seemed very well organised and talking to attendees who had been before the standard was as good as ever. The catering during the event was great with plenty available and nice touches like a free shuttle bus daily from the train station.
The event was about community learning and it delivered. Two days of great sessions from the most senior and experienced SQL professionals, I was lucky enough to hear sessions from Brad McGehee, Brent Ozar, Thomas Kejser and Buck Woody.
I know there are other excellent speakers, some of the niche areas of SQL had outstanding speakers but I think the reason I personally like conferences so much is that these heavy weight speakers, people who write books on SQL and blog extensively on the subject, are available to chat and offer help and advice on helping you become a better SQL professional.
Coming from a programming background Brad McGehee session on SQL Server health checks was a good insight into how much work it takes to get your SQL Servers inline. I was also impressed with the extensibility of SQL Server, particularly SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) in Sascha Lorenz session on .Net developers and the BI stack.
Finally it was great to see so many great vendors and sponsors there, Microsoft and Redgate I knew but discovered new ones, Quest software did a great lunch session and Fusion-IO gave away some killer PCI-E SSD cards. I was lucky enough to pick up a cool (or hot) SQL Server 2008 R2 mug.
Overall SQLBits rocked, great speakers, excellent location, friendly attendees and loads of prizes. I can’t wait till the next one.