SQL Rally 2012 was hosted by the North Texas SQL Server User Group. More tha anything, it was nice to be back in the area where I grew up. I was born in Houston, but I grew up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. It really brought back a lot of great memories for me like canoeing on Lake Grapevine or swimming at Lake Lewisville. I remembered fondly when the NFL banned spiking the football and a local radio station started raising money to pay any fines that Tony Dorsett (site| @Tony_Dorsett), one of my childhood heroes.
Other than being back in my old home town, the highlights for me at SQLRally were the engagement of the attendees and spending time with SQL friends that I don’t normally get to see in person.
I gave my first pre-con session at SQL Rally along with my good friend and fellow Certified Master Argenis Fernandez (blog|@DBArgenis). The session, Demystifying Database Administration Best Practices, was Argenis’ concept and I was honored to be included as co-presenter. We had a full room of very engaged participants. There was a lot of discussion and back-ad-forth during the pre-con session and during my regular session.
I also got to see a lot of my SQL friends at SQLRally. The evening events were lots of fun as well. The entire place was singing along with the SQL Karaoke performances. I had a great time talking to David Stein (blog|@Made2Mentor) between sessions. Met some new people when I was hanging out at the Idera booth and talked about the Certified Master program, data compression, etc.
Room for Improvement
As with any event, there is room for improvement. There are two things in particular I would like to touch on: signage and accessibility.
The exact location of the event was not publicized very well which was made a bigger issue due to the enormity of the Dallas Convention Center. When the hotel shuttle dropped me off on the day of my pre-con, I did not know where they should drop me. The driver let me off at what she said was the main entrance. this turned out to be the entrance for lobby C. When I entered, there were no signs for the event. I eventually made my way up to the 2nd level and still did not see any signs though I saw some fellow attendees outside the Starbucks (which was not yet open). It turns out that SQLRally was at the far end of the center in lobby A. Lobby C to lobby A doesn’t sound very far, but when you have a torn tendon in one knee and must use a cane to walk, it becomes very far, very quickly. I did not see any signs for SQL Rally until I made it far enough into lobby A to see the actual registration table.
The initial long walk aside, the convention center was not very accessible. They had an elevator and some escalators, but th elevator on the lower 2 levels was inside of a remodeling zone and many of the escalators were turned off. In order to get from the street drop-off point, I had to go up a flight of stairs and across a courtyard (and back when leaving). The escalator to the 2nd floor was from the parking lot that had no in/out privileges for dropping someone off. Likewise, the elevator was located next to the parking area and was blocked off on the first two floors. In order to use the elevator, i had to make my way through hoses and debris.
I realize that much of that is the fault of the facility and not the organizer’s. One thing I found odd was that during the pre-con on Wednesday, the coffee was on the 3rd floor by the session rooms. During the event days, the coffee was down on the first floor across the lobby by registration. This meant that someone like me who is using a cane to walk could not conceivably make the walk to the coffee area and back during a break time. It simply would take too much time to make the round trip. Basically, this meant that coffee breaks were a no-go for anyone disabled.
My Tempdb Session Files
Tempdb: Performance And Manageability: TempdbPerformanceAndManageability.zip (3.92 MB)
*Reposted with permission from SQLSoldier.com.