Go Small

The SQL Server community is a surprisingly close knit one. I find that people are much more willing to help each other and share knowledge. We have so many events and user groups, it’s amazing to me that on almost every weekend of the year, some event is taking place, somewhere in the world. I’ve been to dozens of SQL Saturdays, and most of them are run very well, but I’ve also seen lots of extravagance in putting on the events. There’s competition between the events and organizers, which is mostly healthy, but I do worry about the long term health of our community.

Most events depend on some sort of sponsorship to get going. Venues can cost a good bit of money, and while many events now charge for lunch, the breakfast, coffee, sodas, etc. are the burden of the organizers. Add in signs, printed guides, gas, etc., and events can get expensive. Many events get shirts for volunteers and speakers (or a small gift), as well and a Friday night dinner to thank everyone for their help. These expenses have become commonplace.

However as we continue to add new events, I can tell you that the overall cost to vendors is significant. I can’t speak for other vendors, but I know Red Gate wants to support these events, and we plan to continue providing sponsorship, as well as sending Grant and myself to speak. However we also have to make choices about which events to support and how many we can participate in. That means that as more events are run, fewer will get funding. Many existing events might see less funding from all vendors.

I really like the idea of bare bones events. Jen McCown proposed a format and I like it. As we look to grow more events in the future, we need to be lean, efficient, and most importantly, focus on the goal: teaching. Big events are fine, and if you can make them happen, great. However let’s not let the lack of a big budget get in the way of helping teach people about SQL Server, growing our skills and bond as a community.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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Colorado SQL Server User Groups – May

I saw a post from Marc Beacom on the presentations this week for various groups. You can get the info on them all from Marc’s post, but basically this is user group week in CO.

  • Tuesday – Boulder
  • Wednesday – Colorado Springs
  • Thursday – Denver

I’m not sure I’ll be at Denver on Thursday. I’d like to go, but I’m having a busy week. I definitely can’t make the other two with my wife out of town this week.

In terms of the presentations, I haven’t seen Mike Fal (Boulder) talk before, but permissions can be a little hairy and this could be a good session. I do like Tom Norman, and he works in the payment/credit card industry, so I am sure that his Encryption talk on Wed will be good. Thur I’d like to see Jason Horner do the short spatial piece since it’s an interesting topic and I’ve been bothering Jason to talk for a few years. Glenn Berry’s Hardware talk is a good one, especially for people that don’t track that stuff. It’s all just “stuff to me” and Glenn is the person I tend to ask for advice if I’m looking for new hardware. Worth going to see.

Enjoy the SQL week in CO, and if you would like to come speak, give a ring. You can do a one week tour, hitting all three group sometime and we’ll line up some hosts to ensure you have fun. If you want to come ski from Nov-Apr, I’ve love to have you.

Denver SQL Server User Group Holiday Party

Tonight was the 2010 Denver SQL Server User group party. I typically haven’t done in the past to the holiday meetings since they aren’t usually well attended, and time is vey valuable. However this year the meeting was being held at a local bowling alley, and I decided to go.

It started early, at 5, and attendance was sparse at first, but by 6 we had about 20 or so people there. It was a mixed group, and a number of people I didn’t know. I didn’t bowl, mostly because throwing that ball hurts my fingers, but also because I’m not good and wanted to network more.

A couple hours of time for me, the chance to catch up with people I haven’t seen since our SQL Saturday, and little SQL talk. This was definitely one of the better holiday parties I’ve attended in the past.

Of course, being a geek, I  listened to Paul Randal talk Backups and CheckDB on the ride over and back.

Boulder SQL Server User’s Group – Common SQL Server Mistakes

The first iteration of my presentation on Common SQL Server Mistakes, based on the various things I’ve seen in the forums over the years as well as written about on this blog, was last night.

It went fairly well, though not a lot of questions from the group and I ended up running ahead of schedule. Afterwards we had a nice debate on triggers, which I need to blog about as well.

Good getting up to Boulder, or Broomfield in this case, for the meeting. It’s at Level 3, which is a great facility, and I’m hoping that we can hold another event there at some point.

I’ve uploaded the presentation to SQLServerCentral if you are interested in seeing the deck.