SQL Saturday 294 Philadelphia, Nostalgic!

02 Jun
SQL Saturday 294 Philadelphia, Nostalgic!

Less than a week left and I’m extremely excited about SQL Saturday in Philly on June 7th, 2014 and the Precon the day before (I signed up for Allan Hirt’s).  I lived in Philadelphia for about 10 years during which I went to college, had my first two full-time jobs, and my first to kids were born in that area. This SQL Saturday is going to be a blast from the past for me.  The actual event takes place in Malvern PA which is off of 202 in the Northwestern Region of the Philadelphia suburbs.  It is part of the “mainline” and close to Valley Forge, King of Prussia and other historic/tourist attractions.  I used to work in the Mainline area for Johnson Matthey in Wayne (and part time in Malvern) so I’m very excited about taking this trip back to visit friends and family.

For those of you that don’t know about SQL Saturday it is a fantastic event. Here are some of the reasons I’ve encouraged people to attend SQL Saturday events:

Why should you attend?
– Great for networking! I can personally attest to hiring someone that I met at one of these training events and I also got a job through it. There is a session titled “How to get a job with Microsoft” do I need to say anymore?
-Learning! Even if you’re not a SQL Server professional, Sys Admins,Network Admins, IT Managers, QA, Web Developers, and other IT folks benefit greatly. The topics are varied (please see the schedule) so there is always something interesting at various levels (100-300 level classes)
-Next time you go for a job interview and they ask “How do you keep your skills up to date” you can say you attended SQL Saturday.
-Learn a new technology in a billion dollar industry which is becoming one of the hottest fields. If you are new to IT or what to get into IT this is a great opportunity to learn for free.
-Get free stuff (swag, books, etc) by just attending! Yes it’s true,vendors and sponsors are there to pass free stuff. They pass out a free book every session and they run a raffle at the end of the day. I won a book and a USB flash drive with 30GB of video training ($300 value).

Here is the site for the event and the precon:

Here my thoughts on some of the sessions I’m considering attending:

8:30 AM Session – If it were up to me I would attend Allan Hirt’s session on Hybrid Solutions The Future of SQL Server Disaster Recovery.  It sounds like a great topic to cover and is part of the SQL 2014 track.  Unfortunately, I have to present my own session during that time slot on the Fundamentals of SQL Server Backup and Recovery.  I’m excited about that session because I love to give talks on the foundations/basics topics.

9:45 AM Session – I’m most interested in the session by Kerry Tyler on SSAS Tabular Model.  This is an area that I have very little knowledge in and I’m trying to prepare myself to learn about more aspects of the SQL Server BI Platform.  Joseph D’Antoni’s session on In-Memory Columnstore Indexes also sounds very interested; again part of the BI/DW functionality with SQL Server 2014 but on the DB Engine side of things. I might end up flipping a coin although my instinct tells me I need to learn more on SSAS for upcoming projects.

11 AM Session – The session titled Analysis Services Terms and Concepts for the DBA by Mark Valliancourt seems like a great match up with my choice for the previous session. I would definitely be a great way for me to further my knowledge with SSAS. Karen Lopez’s talk on Database Design Contentious Issues also interests me greatly.  I think one of the best ways to step up as a DBA/Developer is to have better design techniques. The session is also highly interactive which means I’ll be able to ask questions about issues that occur in environments I have worked in and get answers! Again, I may have to keep that coin handy… Heads or Tails?

12:00 PM Lunch! But that is not all! There are sessions being delivered at this time by many vendors as well as a special panel discussion titled: “Beyond Stereotypes: Equality, Gender Neutrality, and Valuing Team Diversity.”  I have been asked to participate in this discussion (very honored to be part of this) and so I’m hoping to see many faces there so we can talk about this issue openly and find solutions to make our work environments better.  Stay tuned for more details as they surface on the schedule!

1:30 PM Session

2:45 PM Session – I have been trying to attend Timothy McAliley’s presentation on Cloud integration with SQL Server for a few months now (since February when it was canceled due to a snow storm in the DC Area).  I’m planning not to miss it this time, for real!! When he gave the session in Richmond in March it was scheduled during my talk. When he gave the session in DC in May I had a flat tire and an ear infection.  I really want to attend this session, enough said 🙂

4:00 PM Session – Finally as the day winds down I’m going to be attending Warner Chaves’ session about Extended Events.  This is a topic I’m very interested in learning more about.  I’ve known Warner since the beginning of this year and I’m looking forward to meeting him for the first time at this event and attending his session. I think that Extended Events are a very useful feature for Performance Tuning SQL Server and I was not a huge fan of Profiler so I’m looking to take my DBA skills to the next level with this introduction to an important feature in SQL Server.


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4 responses to “SQL Saturday 294 Philadelphia, Nostalgic!

  1. Andrew Notarian

    June 2, 2014 at 7:28 AM

    Actually, you won a flash drive worth $500 + $20 or so shipping to someone who didn’t attend PASS Summit, like me.


    • Ayman El-Ghazali

      June 2, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      I’m not a pricing specialist 🙂


      • Andrew Notarian

        June 2, 2014 at 7:36 AM

        You’re just lucky no one robbed you of it on your way to the car. 500 American dollars but literally priceless.


  2. Ayman El-Ghazali

    June 2, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    First of all, no thief would even know what PASS is or the value of that flash drive. Second, My beard scares people away 😛



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