This past Saturday, our NTSSUG group hosted SQL Saturday 56, which was our second SQL Saturday of the year. This event was a departure from the typical SQLSat in that it strictly focused on BI, and featured topics including SSIS, SSRS, SSAS, SharePoint, MDX, and other disciplines in and around the Microsoft BI stack. Due to space and logistical issues, the maximum capacity was intentionally kept much smaller than our big SQL Saturday back in May, with a final count of about 215 people taking in 34 different sessions in six tracks. Thanks go out to Microsoft for allowing us the use of their Las Colinas campus, and to Artis Consulting (my employer) for taking care of the food and drinks.
I delivered three different but related sessions this time. I started by speaking on Loops, Lookups and Splits in SSIS (files), which is aimed at the intermediate-level SSIS developer. This was followed by Dynamic SSIS with Expressions and Configurations (files), and rounded out by my tenured presentation on SSIS Scripting (files). These three sessions were scheduled consecutively at my request, broken up only by lunch after the first session. All three were well attended, and we spent as much time in dialog as I did presenting; there were lots of good questions and comments throughout. I was a little worried about my voice holding out – I’d gone to a baseball game the night before and was still a bit hoarse – but with a little help from Diet Coke and B12, I made it through with no problem.
We had some rough weather in the Dallas area on Saturday, and my second session was interrupted by, of all things, a tornado warning. We were ordered to evacuate from the fourth floor to the first, only to be sent back up. We were slowed down just a bit but continued with the presentation after a few laughs about the interruption. I’ve had to deal with lots of unexpected situations as a presenter, but never before have I had a weather situation cause a disruption. Only in Texas!
After the event, a few of us went out for drinks at NYLO, a trendy bar and hotel next door to the Microsoft headquarters. Quite an interesting place, admittedly a little to hip for an old dog like me, but the conversation was good.
All in all, a great event. We had a lot of positive compliments, and the only negative I heard was that there was no coffee available in the afternoon. This was, by design, a no-frills SQL Saturday (no speaker party, very few sponsors, few giveaways), but keeping it as a smaller and easier to manage undertaking allows us the flexibility of doing two SQL Saturdays per year.
If you were in attendance and have comments or suggestions, feel free to ping me offline.