This past Saturday marked a great landmark for Atlanta — the first “BI Edition” SQL Saturday, and, for many of us, our first SQL Saturday of 2016! Atlanta has been hosting a regular SQL Saturday event for many years now, always with tremendous attendance. Based on the amount of interest in the regular SQL Saturday (usually around May of each year), it was great to see a BI focused edition launched.
With the regular event in the Spring, having this event in January was a great way to space out the two Atlanta events probably about as equally as they could be. And, for a first event, it seemed to be a tremendous success with a registration wait list and around 300 in attendance.
The event was held at the local Microsoft facility in Alpharetta, GA, where the monthly Atlanta MDF user group meetings are held. All told, the facility was a pretty good choice of venue (and definitely a convenient location), but suffered from some overcrowding. The facility had about half the sessions in roughly classroom sized rooms and half the sessions in much smaller conference room sized rooms. While these smaller rooms made for an interesting and more intimate setting, they ultimately filled up very quickly.
Unlike many SQL Saturdays, the event kicked off with an opening keynote and presentation in the large room (multiple rooms joined together technically). I enjoy it when a SQL Saturday begins with some sort of all-attendee opening remarks, it provides nice symmetry to the event (which always has a final closing remarks session), so hopefully more events will adopt this.