SQL Europe

SQLSaturday is a free mini-conference run by the local SQL usergroup and as the name suggests, it is usually held on a Saturday (though there have been a couple held on a Friday). To date, there have been around 370 SQLSaturdays held on six continents and around 40 more are scheduled or in the planning phase.

SQLSaturday has more than 20 sessions, ranging from DBA-centric to data analysis and cloud computing, along with a pre-con day on the Friday, which offers a full-day’s training, though not for free. Along with a number of local and other international speakers, I’ll be giving a presentation there. I’ll be talking about database corruption, what should be done to ensure that a DBA is prepared if corruption strikes and what the DBA should do if a database really does become corrupt. The presentation covers backup strategies and the need for tested backups, options for consistency checks, monitoring and alerts. It also covers what a DBA should, and most importantly shouldn’t do, should the database become corrupt.

The week following SQLSaturday Vienna is the SQL Bits conference. SQL Bits, one of the largest SQL conferences in Europe, is back in London this year with an expanded agenda. With two training days offering full-day presentations, two days of general sessions and the free Community Day on Saturday, SQL Bits has a lot to offer. SQLBits runs from 4–7 March 2015 and is held at the ExCeL London Exhibition and Convention Centre.

SQLBits has grown from strength to strength over the years and it boasts a huge list of top international speakers. Some of the best-looking sessions include Itzik Ben-Gan’s ‘Boost your T-SQL with the APPLY Operator’. Knowing Itzik, this will include some wicked-smart use of Apply that no one else had even considered. Bob Ward’s session ‘Troubleshoot the memory of SQL Server’ also promises to be enthralling. Bob is a principal escalation engineer for Microsoft’s Customer Support, which essentially means that he fixes problems that no one else can figure out how to solve. His presentations are well known for being overloaded with information. Lastly, on the Saturday, Grant Fritchey will present ‘Execution plans. What can you do with them?’ where he shows just how much information there is hiding in an execution plan.

I’m presenting two sessions this year for SQL Bits: an introductory talk on database transactions on the Thursday and a two-hour dive into indexes on the Friday. The transactions presentation is an introductory look at SQL’s transactions. It is aimed at people fairly new to T-SQL development and aims to clear up myths and misunderstandings about what transactions do, what they don’t do, why they should be used and when, and how they interact with isolation levels and error handling The indexing presentation is one of SQLBit’s new double-length sessions. In it I’ll be covering index architecture and then looking at how that architecture affects choices for the clustered index. Most of the session will be spent looking at how nonclustered indexes are used and how they should be selected to give the best possible improvement to the application performance.

With so much to look forward to and so many presentations to plan, it looks like March is going to be a busy month!

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