SQL Saturday #492–Phoenix

It’s almost time for SQL Saturday #492 this weekend in Phoenix. I haven’t been there in a few years, but I’m heading back for a quick trip to the desert.

I’ve got two sessions scheduled this weekend, and if you’re attending, I’ve love to see you at one of my sessions:

The event has grown quite a bit, with 13 tracks. I’m hoping a lot of people in the Phoenix area are coming out for a free, exciting SQL Server conference.

SQL Saturday Headshots

This past weekend was SQL Saturday #478 – Albuquerque, and I was happy to have the chance to attend again. I was at the first two, missing last year with another event. It was good to go back, and carpool down to Taos for a day of skiing beforehand. Three of us from Colorado went down( myself, Jason Horner, and Reeves Smith), meeting Tim Mitchell, Ginger Grant, and Amy Herold at Taos for a warm day of skiing. Not the best, but good company and a lot of fun.


Saturday was another well run event. Thanks to @keith_tate, @coffegrl, @ChrisHyde325 for all the work they put in. The event went off without a hitch, and it seemed that people really enjoyed the day of learning.

Jamey Johnston was there again, which I was glad to see. Jamey and I were at the Austin event a few weeks ago, and Jamey was taking pictures of the speakers. I got distracted and missed my chance, which I regretted. Fortunately, Jamey set up his equipment in Albuquerque and I got my chance again.

I took advantage of it.


Representing the Denver Broncos, US football champions, and having fun. However, I was serious at least for a few minutes.


All in all, a fun weekend and a good time.

Now I just need to get back to work and tackle a few of the things I learned while watching some Machine Learning, Power BI, Always Encrypted, and more. It’s a good time to be a SQL Server pro.

Chips and Margaritas at SQL Saturday #461

It was a few years back that my wife and I planned a trip to the Austin City Lights music festival to see Stevie Wonder. This was a bucket list item for us, and we thoroughly enjoyed a long weekend in the city. I’ve been for SQL in the City as well, and each time I’ve gone, I’ve enjoyed a lunch at one of the Mexican restaurants South of the river. My kids always joke that my wife and I will fill up on chips and margaritas at Mexican restaurants, and it’s somewhat true. Often dinner becomes lunch the next day.

It’s just two weeks to SQL Saturday #461 in Austin, and I’m looking forward to going back. In fact, I’m going to make it a point to at least go get chips and a drink at the same place. I can’t remember the name, but I know how to get there, so I’ll be fine.

However the main event is the free, one day SQL Saturday event taking place. I’ll be there delivering my Branding for a Dream Job presentation, but there are tons of other great talks. From AlwaysOn to Power BI to Azure to Writing Faster Queries, you’ll have a great day of learning on all sorts of SQL Server topics.

If you’re anywhere near Austin, register today and come join us in Austin for a fun day that kicks of my SQL Saturday 2016 tour.

Back to SQL Saturday Washington DC

I’ve been to the SQL Saturday in Washington, DC a few times and I’m looking forward to going back. It’s a good event and since I have family in the area, I can usually take a day or two of vacation and visit.

This year the event is on Dec 5, 2015, and it’s SQL Saturday #470. Wow, we’re closing on #500, which is amazing.

I’ve got two talks I’m giving, both of which I really like. I’ve revamped them both a little, incorporating a few new items in there and I hope everyone enjoys them.

  • Branding Yourself for a Dream Job
  • Get Testing with tSQLt

The room I’m in will be the room for the day, with both myself and Brent Ozar giving two sessions around Wayne Sheffield talking T-SQL window functions. I know there are other great sessions, but feel free to camp out in this room.

If you’re in the area, come join us for a free day of training. The event is in Chevy Chase at the Microsoft building.

A Long Trip Ahead

This is my last day at home for a long time. At least long by my standards. I head to the airport tomorrow for a ten day trip, not returning to CO until Saturday, Oct 17. I rarely travel more than 4 or 5 days at the most, so this is one of my longer ones.

My first stop is Orlando. I’m heading over to help teach a DLM workshop for Redgate Software on Friday. This is our Database Source Control workshop that covers some in depth work with SQL Source Control and version control systems. I’ve done a few of these, so this should be easy for me.

Saturday is SQL Saturday #442 in Orlando. I haven’t been to a SQL Saturday in Orlando in a long time, so I’m excited to get back to the place where these all started. I’ve got one talk on Saturday, talking Encryption, around which I’ll be hanging out with friends and trying to learn a few SQL things along the way.

Sunday I travel, though at a relaxed pace. I’ll spend the day making my way to Houston before an overnight flight to London on the Dreamliner. It’s a leisurely day, where I’ll probably spend time catching up on Python work because Monday is crazy.

Monday is a day I dread a bit. I land in London and immediately drive to Cambridge for a few meetings. I’ve got some SQL in the City rehearsals planned before I turn around and head back to London to catch the fun bus to Bristol for SQL Relay. If you map this out, it seems silly, but that’s what I got myself talked into somehow.

Tuesday is SQL Relay in Bristol. I’ll be previewing my talk for SQL in the City, so I’ll apologize in advance if things aren’t 100% set. However after a day at the conference, I’ll be heading over to Cardiff where I’ll get dinner and try to fix all the things I did wrong during the talk.

Wednesday is SQL Relay Cardiff.  A repeat of Tuesday in a new city. I’m not sure if everything is the same, but I’ll be (hopefully) delivering a better talk on Wednesday. Wednesday night Grant and I aren’t doing anything, so it’s a few hours to unwind.

Thursday morning we make our way back to London. Hopefully we manage the train system fine because we have lunchtime and afternoon meetings with people coming down from Redgate during the day. This is the final SQL in the City prep time, as well as a few other in person events, including seeing my boss for only the 3rd time this year.

Friday is SQL in the City 2015 London. Redgate puts on a great event, and I’m looking forward to another exciting day. Three times on stage for me, so I’m sure when things wrap up around 5 I’ll be quite tired. However no rest, I head to Heathrow for a night in my 5th hotel on this trip.

10 days. Orlando, Cambridge, Bristol, Cardiff, London.

I have the feeling I won’t be doing much on Saturday night or Sunday when I return.

SQL Saturday as an Attendee

Last week I did something that many people have already done. However this was my first experience, and I really enjoyed it. We’ll see if I get to do it again.

I went to SQL Saturday #441 – Denver as an attendee. I hadn’t submitted to speak, but I spent half my day over at the event, watching some sessions, networking, and enjoying some time with my fellow data professionals.

I’ve never done that before. I’ve attended many SQL Saturdays, 49 by my count, but always as a speaker. I’ll sit in sessions, but I always have a responsibility and my laptop.

Saturday was a bit more relaxing for me. I could attend sessions on topics and focus more, being unworried about keeping my talk in my head, worried about setup or practicing anything during the day. I could focus all my time on someone else’s presentation, which was nice.

I don’t know how many more SQL Saturdays I’ll get to attend like this. Certainly the ones in the Denver area are events I like to support by volunteering to present on a topic. Denver has grown quite a bit and we have many speakers from out of town that submit, so I may avoid submitting here in the future and continuing to attend, or volunteer in some other fashion.

It was a fun experience, and I’m glad I got to go. It was worth my time, as I learned a few things that I am looking forward to trying out over the next few weeks.

SQL Saturday #403–Louisville

This weekend I’ll be attending SQL Saturday #403 in Louisville, KY. If you’re in the area, think about taking a few hours out of your Saturday and coming to learn some SQL Server stuff. There’s a great schedule, with 6 tracks and 6 sessions per track.

That’s 36 opportunities to improve your skills and career!

I’ll be delivering two sessions during the event. I have my Branding Yourself for a Dream Job first thing in the morning at 8am. I know it’s early, but I like to give you some ideas for networking and planning your career for the rest of the day.

My second session is Continuous Integration for Databases at 10:30. I’ll give you a taste of how to improve your software development process by using version control and a build server to verify and test your database code.

There are some great afternoon sessions, but I likely won’t be there as I have family in town and want to spent a few hours with them. However come grab me in the morning and say “hi”. I really enjoy meeting the SQL Server community and look forward to another great SQL Saturday in Louisville.

Get Away from the Heat and Learn some Database Version Control

I have enjoyed the trips I’ve made to New Orleans and Baton Rouge in the past. It’s a good getaway, stopping in the French Quarter for a few minutes before an easy drive up the road. However it’s warm, and I can’t ever get my wife or kids to come with me. For some reason, they don’t seem to enjoy the warm, August Baton Rouge weather. I, however, am looking forward to a jog around University Lake.

LSU University Lake at BREC Milford Wampold Park

This might be the best time to run, but I’ll likely be going around when it’s sunnier, and a touch warmer.

However if you want to get out of the heat, perhaps you’d like to come learn about Database Version Control with Ike Ellis and me? Redgate Software has partnered with Crafting Bytes to deliver our workshop in Baton Rouge. We’ve put the workshops on sale, and only $100 for a full day of training.

What will we cover?

We’ll show you how to get your database in a Version Control System (VCS). We use Redgate’s tools, but the idea of using version control can be done in other ways. I’m running the labs, and you’ll see how you can keep track of all of your database DDL code, including Lookup data!

2015-07-23 18_45_53-DLM-Workshop-2015-02-19-1708-export-i-fg1k1eq0 - VMware Workstation

We are also covering some advanced features that the Redgate tools make easier. Things like branching, merging, and deployments. How many of you would love to know that development is done and we can deploy our changes like this:

2015-07-23 17_14_22-Schema Compare_Deploy - Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio

I’ll show you how you can deploy your changes right from inside SSMS.

This is an in-depth workshop, covering way more than I could ever do at a SQL Saturday or conference. What’s more, we provide you with a VM and let you actually work through the skills we teach you. You will get real practice during the day to give you the confidence and practice for your own environment back at the office.

I hope to see you at either the workshop or SQL Saturday #423 in Baton Rouge.

The First SQL Saturday in South Dakota

There have been so many SQL Saturday events in many places, and in most of the US states, but there are a few that have never had an event. One more state gets its first event this July, with SQL Saturday #427 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I’m proud to be speaking at the event, and I just finished booking my travel. I’ve never been to South Dakota, so I’m looking forward to wandering around a bit on Friday before we kick off the first SD SQL Saturday on July 18, 2015.

I’m going to be talking about Continuous Integration in the afternoon, but there are some other great sessions. Learn about baselines, Service Broker, Auditing, SSAS, Stress testing, Reporting, and more.

If you’re anywhere nearby, make some plans now to get to Sioux Falls in July for some SQL Server education.

SQL Saturday #390 – Philadelphia Recap

I was at SQL Saturday #390 in Philadelphia last week and it was an exciting, but short time. The event was at the end of a  five day trip for me, Seattle first and then Philadelphia, so I was tired by Saturday morning. However I enjoyed it, met lots of people, and learned a few interesting things.

Unit Testing with SQL Server and tSQLt

Friday I taught a pre-con event with Sebastian Meine on unit testing your T-SQL code with tSQLt. We had 9 people signed up, which was encouraging. Not a raging success, but certainly better than the 2 people that some friends had predicted. Everyone was interested in unit testing and producing better code.

The day went well, and we ended a touch early. There were some good comments and suggestions from people on unit testing techniques, including a solution to one of our exercises that I hadn’t expected. I learned a few places need the demos to be expanded a bit, but overall it felt like a good start to teaching unit testing. I’m looking forward to trying this at a few other events in the future.

standing in front of the class

Better Development at SQL Saturday

I was really only able to attend a few sessions (in addition to the one I taught) at SQL Saturday #390. However I was pleased to see that after my CI session, there was one on Continuous Delivery, and then one on Git for DBAs. Both of these topics are important, and well attended, which makes me think that more people are starting to lean towards building more engineered database development processes.

My CI session went well. I didn’t get to show the failing CI process based on a test and more data, but I did get lots of good questions that I need to answer in the next few weeks. A few of them (for me to remember).

  • How do I get started with a small development team?
  • How do I start adding tests in an existing software project?
  • Can you demo a column rename (or table rename)?
  • Show static data flowing through the process

It’s good to get questions, and I hope I answered them all. If I didn’t, or you need clarification, let me know.

Once I finished, I wandered over to see Mark Wojciechowicz talk about Continuous Delivery. Mark is a consultant that’s trying to keep a CD process working at a client’s site. He’s been working at it for awhile and we talked about it Friday (he was in my class) and Saturday. It sounds like he has some good things going, and using a home grown process that works well.

He showed some of the reasons why CD matters, especially for his client. They make lots of changes, and use a smooth process to push through bug fixes as well when there are issues with something in production. I hope he gets his deck up soon because he had some good quotes and notes in the PPT.

I especially like his thoughts that if something hurts in software, you should do it more. That comes from Thoughworks and some of the progressive companies that are rapidly building high quality software and don’t let the problems of deployment slow them down. They tackle those issues just like others, and you should, too.

From there I saw Justin Dearing talk about Git and DBAs. He’s a developer and tends to like the command line, but he showed how we can use Git for a VCS in the command line, but also from SSDT. That’s an interesting approach, and while I liked his message, I think some of the people there using a CVCS, like TFS, didn’t understand why Git matters. I need to write more on this as well.

Justin had a minor issue with branching, not because he doesn’t do it well or understand it, but because he’s moving fast and talking. That’s what I am, in general, against branching. The real world moves fast, it’s easy to get caught up with some other thoughts and get lost with branching. I need to formalize my thoughts as I’ll be talking branching at DevConnections (register and come see me in September).

Overall a good time and people seemed to really enjoy the SQL Saturday. I had about 20% of my attendees that were new, which is great. I hope to see more and more people coming to the events in the future.