Reflections on SQL Bits 9

Last week I went to Liverpool, UK – birthplace of The Beatles – to speak and to represent SQL Sentry at SQL Bits 9. I have to hand it to these guys – James, Tim, Allan, Simon, Darren, Neil, Dave, Chris, and countless others that my jet-lagged mind is simply forgetting – they put in a tremendous amount of effort, and it reflected well due to a (once again) fantastic show. I've only been to two of these events (the previous one was SQL Bits 8 in Brighton, UK) but I've been thoroughly impressed both times. 

I gave two mainstream sessions: one on T-SQL Bad Habits to Kick, and one on the new features in the engine and tools for Denali. I also co-presented two vendor sessions with Steve Wright (@SQL_Steve) on Plan Explorer and Event Manager / Performance Advisor.

My only complaints have absolutely nothing to do with the event itself or its organizers, but more about the facilities. It seems that everyone experienced very poor Internet connectivity throughout the event, with several complete outages – I don't think they could ever have been prepared for a conference with this many nerds. The rooms where we presented were very warm and stuffy – even if air conditioning were available, it would be tough to keep a reasonable temperature when the ceilings were, I estimate, 30 feet high. And since I have been fighting severe inflammation in my right ilium since SQLSaturday #84, the "very firm" beds (a.k.a. concrete slabs) were not the most comfortable. I have to say it was quite nice returning to my relatively mushy bed last night.

It was quite a hectic schedule, though we did have a little bit of time for touristy site-seeing (I uploaded about 30 pictures). Had some great conversations with various people about the cloud, difference in uptake of SSAS in Europe vs. USA, and community. Sadly, I did not get to chat with a few folks I've only known virtually for some time – most notably Jen Stirrup (@jenstirrup) and Mark Rasmussen (@improvedk).

Thanks guys for all your hard work, and I'm really looking forward to the next event in the Spring. Now, to prepare for the Pass Summit

Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at SQLPerformance and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him. If I've helped you out, consider thanking me with a coffee. :-)

2 Responses

  1. Simon Sabin says:

    I agree its all James fault.
    The weather was exceptional, as can be testified by the fact we gave everyone scarves. How stupid did we look. Last year in York it was really chilly.
    As for the internet, having good internet is high on our priorities. Normally its a go/nogo decision maker but in this case the venues we had on offer we had to compromise somewhere.
    We did push and push to get things upgraded but it didn't happen. In Brighton we paid to upgrade the hotel to 100Mb so we would have a good experience. In Liverpool they just couldn't/wouldn't do anything about it. We did have extra access points put in but as many testified the system couldn't cope with the number of connections.
    We will definitely make sure the next one has better internet access.

  2. James Rowland-Jones says:

    Thanks Aaron for the writeup.  Your comments are always very fair. I am delighted you had another great SQLBits experience.
    We have had fantastic support from SQL Sentry for six events now and I was very amused with Nick's latest swag innovation. Didn't he say you guys may have some at the PASS Summit? I don't want to ruin the surprise but for anyone reading this let's just say it's always worth a trip to the SQL Sentry stand…
    Oh and I hold my hands up. I did the site visit and ultimately recommended the Adelphi to the team. However, when I went it was nowhere near the temperature we experienced last week-end. We've basically had two sunny week-ends all year and both have been over SQLBits. You might be forgiven for thinking the weather is always like that over here. Believe me – it is not :).
    As for the wireless this is something we will take back to the venue. They were warned many, many times and they did apparently have their systems upgraded. However, it was clear to me that they didn't do enough. I can't begin to tell you how many times we raised this and also how many times I had to go and complain.
    As for the bedrooms – yes they were shall we say tired.  I guess the Adelphi is one of those lost splendour hotels. However, you are right the beds weren't exactly the best – although the rates were significantly less than in Brighton.  I'll be honest though this isn't something I looked into terribly deeply. Finding venues/hotels big enough to handle a SQLBits event is tough. The bedrooms is definitely a secondary consideration.  However, I will add a "mushy" bed test to the site visit for future consideration :).
    Thanks again for coming over and supporting us with your knowledge and experience. I look forward to catching up with you again in a week
    Cheers, JRJ