Red Gate SQL in the City

Free training … free food … I’m there!  That’s what I thought when I first heard about Red Gate’s SQL in the City coming to Chicago (  To me, it felt like a “no brainer” of a decision to make, as long as my manager allowed me to go.

And I would say that it was definitely worth it!  There were plenty of opportunities to network, get product demonstrations, and get some database training.  It was also nice to be at the Field Museum.  But, we were sort of sectioned off in an area and I am not sure if we were allowed in the more general area of the museum.

Sessions I attended:

  • Keynote: No Data Left Behind (John Theron) – In order to impress upon us the difficulty of releasing code, we played a game where we passed untied balloons from row to row, without letting the air out.  That led to a demonstration of Deployment Manager, which would help with the releasing of versions of code.  Also, it was mentioned that the new version of SQL Backup has the option to backup to the cloud … nice!
  • Database Maintenance Essentials (Steve Jones) – Although, I have always felt like I have had a good handle of database maintenance, it is generally good to review what you are doing against the expert’s opinions from time to time.  Steve spoke about the need to do comprehensive database maintenance, which included: backups, optimizing indexes and statistics, checking data corruption, and monitoring.  Most of that I have covered.  But, some of the things specifically I need to improve on were: pre-sizing your databases for 4-6 months (not always rely on auto-grow, although keep it enabled) and making sure you are testing your backups by restoring them.
  • Prepare for When Disaster Strikes (Steve Jones) – The key to this presentation was not if a disaster will happen, but when it does what should you do, and how could you have prepared for it.  One thing mentioned was to have the disaster plan (or runbook), which would be written by the most experienced person, but tested by the least experienced.
  • Automated Deployment: Application and Database Releases Without the Headache (Allen White) – This session was pretty much all about Deployment Manager.  It included lots of demonstrations and seems to be a pretty handy product.
  • Proactive Data Growth Management: Reducing Your Storage Footprint (Jez Borland) – Since growing storage is an issue at my company, I was quite interested in seeing this session.  The main idea that came across is you can’t afford not to compress your data.  Everyone should be using storage and backup compression, whether it is SQL Server’s or Red Gate’s products.
  • Six Scary SQL Surprises (Brent Ozar) – This session was filled with humor and quite enjoyable.  Brent focused on checking the obvious (i.e. disabled indexes), problems associated with RDP’ing into servers and copying files, SSD’s and their memory requirements, tempdb, and fill factors.  It was nice to be reminded about common problems he sees at clients that can be fixed relatively easy.

So, if this training is still coming to your city, I highly recommend it.  It’s a very nice thing that a vendor sponsors training like this, even if they are trying to sway your loyalties … 🙂

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