SQL Saturday in Chicago (2016)

This past Saturday I attended SQL Saturday in Chicago (http://www.sqlsaturday.com/484/). It was a nice event and there were plenty of opportunities to network, get product demonstrations, and get some FREE SQL Server training.

Sessions I attended:

    • What’s New in SQL Server 2016 (Ross LoForte) – This was a fast moving presentation that gave a nice overview of things that are new to SQL Server 2016. It included visualizations and demonstrations of Query store (which would be similar to a flight recorder), live query stats, temporal tables (retaining previous copies of data), Json features, Always encrypted and row level security, dynamic data masking of sensitive data, enhancements to AlwaysOn availability groups (load balancing, standard edition support to deprecate mirroring), Polybase, advanced analytics (R scripts), mobile apps (Datazen), new features in SSRS (placing parameters), stretch databases, and backups to Azure. Free ebook: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/microsoft_press/2015/12/22/free-ebook-introducing-microsoft-sql-server-2016-mission-critical-applications-deeper-insights-hyperscale-cloud-preview-edition/
    • Scripting out SQL Server for Documentation and Disaster Recovery (George Walkey) – This presentation focused on the presenters PowerShell scripts that he uses to document his SQL Servers. They seem like they could also be useful with disaster recovery, server migrations, upgrades, and auditing. He walked through some of the scripts, but it seemed that you would need to download and examine them to get a better understanding of what is happening (https://github.com/gwalkey/SQLTranscriptase).
    • Effective Data Visualization: The Ideas of Edward Tufte (David Giard) – The speaker in this session tried to simply explain some data visualization ideas from Edward Tufte (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Tufte). The title of the session really fit the presentation. Some of the key takeaways were: visualizing data can be much better than looking at raw data for larger data sets, how some visualizations lie or hide data (lie factor), data ink ratio, and data density.
    • Big Data in the Modern Data Warehouse (Fred Bliss – Aptitive) – This session was presented over lunch and gave a nice introductory explanation to Big Data. One of the keys I noted from the speaker was to use Big Data as a data source to your data warehouse, once you determine the metrics that you need (http://www.aptitive.com/).
    • Reporting Services 2016 Solutions: The New Awesome (Paul Turley) – The speaker did a nice job presenting the hybrid approach that Microsoft is taking, focusing on both on-premise and cloud usage. He showed some new features of SSRS including: the new portal, parameter placement, KPIs, mobile reports, and Microsoft’s BI roadmap (https://sqlserverbiblog.wordpress.com/).

 

Overall, I had a great experience and look forward to future events like this.

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