SQL In The City London 2012 was fun…

A few months ago I posted about a free SQL Server training event, SQL In The City London 2012, being put on in London by the good people of Redgate. Well, yesterday it took place and I thought I’d write up a quick post on the day.

The venue was great, it was held at One Wimpole Street in London. Very comfy seats, a nice clean building – but if I were to be critical of something, it would be the temperature. For some reason the air-con was on all day in the auditorium, which makes for some cold limbs when you’re just sat there listening to talks! Anyway…

This was the first conference I’d ever been too, and it was great to see people talk who are so clearly at the top of their game.

The talks were great, and I learned plenty of things to take back to the office with me on Monday morning. A brief outline of what I saw is below:

Brad McGehee: Database Maintenance Essentials – This was the first talk of the day, and it was my favourite one. Brad covered a few topics in the hour he had, including importance of proper index and statistic maintenance, some dangerous DMV’s, the importance of DBCC CHECKDB, and some other bits.

Steve Jones: Prepare for When Disaster Strikes – Steve hates it when his phone rings, because nobody ever calls him to see how he’s days going. If Steve’s phone is ringing, something’s broken (sounds familiar, right?). This talk was all about being prepared, and the importance of SLA’s. He showed off Redgate’s SQL Compare, which would be a very nice tool to have if you do quite a bit of publishing from a UAT environment to a production server – like I do! Steve is a funny dude, and he was really great with audience (even if he did insult the English’s sporting ability).

Steve Jones - Preparing for When Disaster Strikes

Steve Jones – Preparing for When Disaster Strikes

Brad McGehee: Proactive Data Growth Management – Another good talk from Brad, and this one really showed off Redgate’s SQL Backup Pro. I want it. Compressing your backups by UP TO 95%!! It also has the ability to encrypt backups, which is only available as an option in SQL Server with the use to Transparent Data Encryption (requiring enterprise edition) and lots of other cool features. Brad also stated some pretty incredible statistics, like the fact that in 2011 roughly 1.8 zettabytes of data was generated!

Brad McGehee - Proactive Data Growth Management

Brad McGehee – Data Growth Management

Steve Jones: AlwaysOn and Contained Databases in SQL Server 2012 – As someone who hasn’t really had an opportunity to play with SQL 2012 yet, I really liked seeing some of the newer features. Contained databases look like a big step forward, but I think I need to play around with it myself a little before saying much more than that.

Grant Fritchey: Forgotten Rings and Other Monitoring Stories – Aimed at showing off Redgate’s SQL Monitor, Grant showed us some of the more awkward to use DMV’s and DBCC commands, explained why they were generally useless as just a single figures – therefore requiring a benchmark. This is where SQL Monitor comes to life. It monitors the server constantly, providing benchmarks as well as historic figures for trend analysis.

It was a great day, and I’d recommend it to any DBA or Database Developer. I learned some genuinely useful things that I can apply in the real world, got to see some of the new 2012 features, a lot of cool industry tools I’ll be convincing my boss to let me buy, and three of the industries greatest DBA’s – Brad McGehee, Steve Jones, and Grant Fritchey – All SQL Server MVPs.

The people of Redgate did an excellent job organizing the event, and had thought of literately everything. I was a little disappointed that there were multiple talks going on at any one time, as I thought I’d miss out on some of the other talks I wanted to see. Luckily, this isn’t an issue at all – Redgate had all talks filmed, and are going to put them up on the web for attendees to view at a later date – brilliant. At the end of the event, they let you choose a free book from a selection, but it didn’t really matter which one you took, as they’re putting them all up on the site for free download as PDF at some point anyway!

Zach_Stagers_Redgate

Me, with all my free stuff!

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Learning SQL

I’ve decided to write a brief summary about how I first got involved with SQL, how I learned, and how I continue to learn about its features.

First, a bit about the language. SQL stands for Structured Query Language, and it’s used to query databases to get the information you want and need from them.

Microsoft SQL, also known as “Sequel”, is my langauge of choice, and will be the main feature of my blog.

I first started to learn about SQL Server and TSQL development when I joined One2Create in November 2008. Previous to this I had very little experience in any development languages. I had learned bits and pieces of HTML, CSS and C#, but had never before used SQL.

The first thing I did was buy a book, this one in fact: Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes

I read through it, and completed the examples as I went. It’s a complete novice’s book, and the author (Ben Forta) has done a very good job of intoducing the language. It gives you more than enough to get an understanding of the basics.

After about a year and a half of using Ben’s book as a reference, and gaining experiance in the industry, I decided I wanted to study for the Microsoft 70-433 SQL Developer 2008 exam.

My work purchased the 70-433 Self-Paced Training Kit Book to allow me to study the more advanced features of SQL in the hope that I could pass the exam. I’m pleased to say that I did go on to pass the exam on my first attempt, with a score of 92%. Passing the exam qualified me as an MCTS: SQL Server 2008, Database Development. I’ve since gone on to take and pass the second exam, which means I’ve been bumped up to an MCITP: Database Developer 2008.

Development languages, including SQL, are ever growing. There will always be more to learn, new features introduced with new versions, as well as keeping up with all of the old stuff! And this is why I love what I do!

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