SQL Saturday Roundup: #318 – Orlando, FL

This past Saturday, I made my annual trek down to Orlando, FL for SQL Saturday #318 at Seminole State College.  I’ve learned you can always count on the Orlando team to put on a great event, and this one was no exception.  With over 600 registrations and over 450 in attendance, this was one of the larger SQL Saturdays in the region and in my opinion, it went off without a hitch!

On Friday morning, I left Atlanta and began the drive down to Orlando.  I would’ve liked to have been able to attend Jason Horner’s (B | T) “Zero to Dimensional Modeling Hero” pre-con session, but that would’ve required an extra day and with how busy things currently are, that just wasn’t in the cards this time.

I’d been following Andy Warren’s (B | T) blog posts regarding marketing for the even leading up to it and was pretty happy to see that they were able to exceed both their registration goal of 500 and their attendance goal of 350 by 640 and 450 respectively.  Well done!  He really worked hard getting the message out there and it worked.

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early and headed over from the hotel to the campus.  Signage was great and convenient parking was easily found.  Having printed my SpeedPASS in advance, check-in was a breeze.  Additionally, I got to pick up my SQL Saturday Orlando polo at check-in, which came out really nice!

SQL Saturday Orlando polo shirt, sold online prior to the event.  Came out great!

The first time I’ve ever seen this, but the #SQLCornhole set was pretty impressive!  Wouldn’t mind winning a set of those in the end of day raffle!

#SQLCornhole, anyone?

The vendor area is located on the 1st floor of the building right in the entrance…and it was packed with both vendors and attendees.  That was definitely one of the higher numbers of vendors I’ve seen at a SQL Saturday event!

Glorious chaos in the vendor arena

I was really torn on which session to attend first to kick off the day.  There were two in particular that were high on my list — Michael Corey’s (B | T) “Virtualizing SQL Server: Doing IT Right – The SeQueL” and Andy Warren’s (B | T) “Turbocharge your Career With a Learning Plan.”  Andy’s sessions are always great, and that is a topic of particular interest to me — but I’ve never seen Michael present and that is a topic which my current job role does work with a bit.  Ultimately, I chose to attend Michael’s session, simply because Andy will be presenting his at Summit and I will definitely attend it then — even though it looks like Buck Woody is also presenting that timeslot — doh!

Michael Corey presenting on Virtualizing SQL Server

Following Michael’s information dense session on virtualizing SQL Server with VMware, I attended Richie Rump’s (B | T) session on Database Design Disasters: Common Mistakes Found in the Wild.  I’ve seen Richie present once before, in Tampa, and he’s always a great speaker with great energy and humor and great information.  It was a very informative session.

Action shot of Richie Rump telling us how much he loves NVARCHAR(MAX)

Jack Corbett (B | T) gave us an excellent presentation on using T4 Templating in Visual Studio 2013 to automate CRUD functionality.  While some of it was a bit over my head, I saw some great possibilities that I’ll have to play with on my own.

Jack Corbett presenting on automating the CRUD

Following a jam-packed morning of sessions, it was time for some lunch.  SQL Saturday is known for serving an excellent lunch, and this year was no exception.  Big plates of excellent BBQ served by the SQL chefs.  I don’t think anybody went hungry.

Andy and the other SQLChefs doling out some excellent lunch at SQL Saturday Orlando

With lunch in the bag, it was time for more excellent information-dense sessions.  I attended a couple of presentations on Big Data/Hadoop, as well as my requisite Professional Development session, “Why I won’t Hire You and what you can do about it” by Leigh Freijo (B | T).  As I’ve mentioned previously, I like to attend at least one purely professional development session per event and this was an excellent one.  Leigh had some excellent information and a lot of great stories to go along with it.

Leigh Freijo presenting on Why I won’t Hire You and what you can do about it

With the conclusion of the sessions for the day, it was time for the closing ceremonies.  Orlando’s signature move is that this involves projectiles.  New for this year was a t-shirt launching water balloon catapult!  They got some serious range on that thing — but I don’t think anybody minded because hey, “free t-shirts!”

Andy giving closing comments and raffle at SQL Saturday Orlando 2014

SQL Saturday Orlando was a great time.  Great speakers, great organizers, great sponsors, great food, and great attendees!  Had a blast attending and looking forward to the next!

The t-shirt catapult at SQL Saturday Orlando launching t-shirts to the masses
Crowd shot at the end of day raffle from up top.  I’m in orange in the bottom right.  Photo by Andy Warren (sqlandy.com)