SQL Rally Success!!!

SQL Rally Success

I just got back from SQL Rally in Orlando and I am spent. My brain is full of new knowledge and great ideas. I met some wonderful and very interesting people and attended some seminars that were very insightful and full of new information. Let me elaborate.


I started off my Rally experience by attending Eddie Wuerch (t|b) talking about Troubleshooting Performance Problems by reading the wait stats. It was a very informative review of the wait stat DMV’s. Eddie did a great job of laying out the DMV’s and the stats that were related to them to help the everyday DBA troubleshoot issues.

After Eddie’s presentation, I attended a session by Wes Brown (t|b) in which he discussed storage and how it related to SQL Server. If you have not seen Wes speak in person, you really need to! Not only is Wes engaging when he speaks, but he finds a way to present information in a fun and humorous way. I walked away from Wes’s session with a lot of info and one thing engraved in my brain…RAID 10!

I was on a high after Wes’s presentation and walked in on Stacia Misner’s (t|b) session on data visualizations in SSRS. Stacia showed us how to use new features including databars, sparklines, indicators and maps. I was super excited to see the new indicators. Based on some of my past experiences with SSRS 2005, this is a huge improvement (something I could have use about 3 years back!). I left her session with a renewed interest in getting back into SSRS.

I ended the first day in Jorge Segarra’s (t|b) lightning talks. He brought in 7 SQL Rally speakers who each were given 5 minutes to present something before they got grilled by the crowd. It was a good light way to end the day. I am pretty sure that Grant Fritchey (t|b) scared the crowd to death with his ‘Test your Restores’ talk.

We spent the evening in Old Town Orlando where we met up with 40-50 other SQL rally folks for dinner and drinks. The night really started after dinner with a race around the track on go-carts, 8 seconds on a mechanical bull and ended with cigars and good conversation with a bunch of SQL geeks. It was great to just hang out and meet people from all over the country with similar interests. The conversations ranged from work and experiences to sports and trash talking.

My second day started with Kendra Little’s (t|b) discussion on Partitioning. I took away quite a few notes on table partitioning and some great tips on how to best implement it. She was a great presenter and did a great job of answering questions and keeping us all intrigued. Good way to start the day.

I followed up with a session from John Sterrett (t|b) on using Policy Based Management (PBM) and Central Management Servers (CMS). It was a great overview and he even got into some great detailed exampled based on the questions that were being asked. It was good to see the tools in use with his demos rather than just screen shots and pictures. It was great to see that so many people were interested in the built in features of SQL 2008.

I ended my day with a discussion on Deadlocking from Jonathan Keyayias (t|b). It was a lot of review, but extremely informative information. I was especially intrigued when he discussed range locks and how BizTalk is a major abuser of them. He gave some very good recommendations for all of us tortured by BizTalk! Great stuff to bring back to my day job.

It was unfortunate that my flight left early, so I missed out on a couple of sessions, but after all of this, my brain was near capacity with new information. The first ever SQL Rally was a huge success in my eyes and I am already looking forward to PASS Summit and the second annual SQL Rally. I learned a little, met a lot and had a ton of fun.

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4 Responses to SQL Rally Success!!!

  1. stuco says:

    Thanks for the analysis of your SQLRally experience. I often view industry conferences as a waste of money, but in your case it seems you gained a ton of useful knowledge and new zeal for related technologies. I’m returning back to the DBA and SQL Server world after a 4-year hiatus. I hope to see you at future SQLServer and PASS events.

    • Mitch says:

      I was truely a great experience. Even if you don’t learn a lot from the sessions, just talking with others in the industry can be more rewarding!

  2. Jim Murphy says:


    I didn’t get to meet you at SQLRally in Orlando, but perhaps we can meet at a future event (The Summit?). Welcome back to the community.

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