So I arrived home from my first SQL Bits conference, which was the 10th SQL Bits event (they do two a year). I’ve got to say that I had a great time at the conference. SQL Bits, if you aren’t away is a three day event with the first day (Thursday) being all day sessions, and the second and third days being normal hour long sessions. Day two (Friday) is only for paying attendees while day three (Saturday) is open to anyone who registers and there is no cost to attend.
I was able to have sessions on all three days, doing my “Storage and Virtualization for the DBA” pre-con on Thursday, a session on AlwaysOn on Friday and a session on Virtualization on Saturday. Stacia Misner (blog | @StaciaMisner) and I also had a joint session on Satuday which was part 1 of an all day session which we did at pass which explores the BI side of the SQL Server workload and how those BI processes impact the OLTP database and the EDW/ODS/Reporting databases as data is loaded into them, reports are run and OLAP cubes are updated. (We briefly slowed a link at the end of the slide deck, which points to this page for some additional reading.) Hopefully Stacia and I will be invited back to give the rest of this presentation at the next SQL Bits session (thankfully we were able to end at a pretty good place this year).
A few of us made our way to London a few days early (as well as other cities) in order to try and make it as easy as possible to kill the jet lag before the conference started (I don’t think there is anything worse than trying to give an all day presentation when you are 8 hours off of your normal timezone). Kris (my wife) and I spent a few days before SQL Bits doing a little sight seeing with Stacia, Erika Bakse (blog | @BakseDoesBI) and Adam Machanic (blog | @AdamMachanic). We were able to see some of the great parts of London like the very old Tower of London parts of which date back to the 1200s or so as well as Westminster Abbey and we walked around by the Parliament building.
One of the very cool things that we did was on Wednesday when Stacic, Erika, Kris and I met up with Buck Woody, Jen Stirrup, Lara Rubbelke and a couple of others (I just can’t remember who else was there, I know that Jen and Stacia took pictures of the group) met for lunch in London at “Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese” which was the pub frequented by Charles Dickens while we wrote many of the works for which he is famous for. It was a great lunch with great friends in a pub which has been around for hundreds of years (except for when it burnt down in the great London fire). According to WikiPedia there has been a pub in that location since 1538 and it was last rebuilt (according to WikiPedia and the sign at the pub also shown on WikiPedia) in 1667.
One thing that SQL Bits did, which they did for the first time was invite the speakers and sponsors spouses/guests/etc. out for the afternoon on Saturday so that they wouldn’t be stuck sitting around the hotel for the day. The outing, which Kris attended, was lunch followed by a matinee showing of a London play. Kris said that she had a great time and she made some new friends (hopefully she remembered to collect email addresses). This was SQL Bits way of showing some thanks to the speakers partners for loaning them out for the weekend (and giving them some incentive to want to come to the conference and see what it is that we all do at these events as most of the time our partners want to avoid the conferences like the plague).
Something that I thought was really interesting about London was the mixture of the very old buildings mixed in with the ultra modern looking all Glass buildings. As an example I was standing on the wall of the Tower of London looking over the river Thames looking at the gate where prisoners were brought through, and right across the river were several brand new all glass sky scrapers looking down on us. You can see this a little in the below picture (click to view full size) which shows the entire front side of the Tower as well as some new buildings at both the left and right edges. (Just before leaving for London I picked up a new Android Nexus cell phone, running Android 4 and it’s got a kick ass panoramic photo mode built in which is what I used to take this picture.)
After hours during the conference there were of course some fun activities as well as the sigh seeing around London, which I hadn’t been to since I was a little kid. There were some pretty rare sights to be found…
Surrounded by some of the other attendees and speakers.
Now I’m not going to say that it was a little late when these pictures were taken, because it wasn’t. It was actually pretty early … in the morning. This all happened about 3am and we were still going strong and most importantly we were all there the next day right when we needed to be so that the conference could continue on without a hitch.
Below are a few random pictures from our sigh seeing that I wanted to share with everyone.
The statue in front of Buckingham Palace.
The front of Buckingham Palace.
Some chocolates that I know for a fact that Paul Randal would love to have.
In closing, thanks again to the SQL Bits team and all the attendees. I had a great time, and I hope to be able to attend the event next time.