The annual SQL Saturday in Iowa has always been one of my favorite SQL Saturdays. This year it was a little later in the year which made it even better for me. See, in Wisconsin, bow hunting has opened the same weekend that Iowa’s SQL Saturday fell on. Now, for a bow hunter, it’s a big thing to not go out on opening weekend. In fact, I’ve never missed an opening morning out in the woods. Until SQL Saturday in Iowa started up that is. The first year this event was organized, I decided that it was one I couldn’t miss so bow hunting came second. If anyone has grown up or related to anyone that is a bow hunter, you’ll know that it says a lot about how good this event is that one would skip opening day to attend.

The last two years I’ve submitted sessions in hopes they would be selected as part of the schedule for this SQL Saturday. I’ve been very fortunate that each year the organizers did select me to be part of the schedule. This year I was selected to present multiple sessions and that was truly exciting for me. It’s one thing to have the chance to attend a great event like this but a completely new level to be part of it and contribute to it as a presenter.
The sessions that were selected
Query Tuning for Developers and DBAs
As a seasoned DBA, we often forget the basics of query tuning may be an area others haven’t been introduced to. Tuning can be a mystery for developers and DBAs that are starting out with SQL Server. Each operation and its cost can lead to lengthy research escapades, determining if the work is even worth the time to attempt a change in the overall execution plan. This session is going to discuss the basics of tuning; however, we can’t end there. The second half of the session, the discussion portion, will focus on the key operations in the execution plan. The overall goal of the session is to take away knowledge on how to start with a query and use execution plans to refine it and turn it into a finely tuned process.
SSIS: The DBA Multiplier
Ever wanted to create clones of yourself to get all your work done faster? I will demonstrate how SSIS can help you perform your DBA tasks as if there were more than one of you. You will leave the session knowing how to use SSIS to automate tasks such as performance monitoring above (and below) the normal health checks and transporting databases from one environment to another. You will also learn how SSIS can be used in assisted HA and DR failover strategies as well as backup solutions that go beyond the simple BACKUP statement. We’re going to take SSIS and make it a standard tool for your administrative tasks!
Both of these sessions went really well. Query Tuning for Developers and DBAs proved to be a great session. The room was packed and everyone that attended seems to really enjoy it and there was some great questions and overall interaction. Those types of sessions are as much rewarding to a presenter as they are to an attendee that takes knowledge that can help them away from the attendance.
On top of the sessions that I gave, the SQL Saturday organizers also put together a Birds of a Feather lunch. This lunch event is a group of tables with specific topics that attendees can sit with presenters and others to discuss just about anything. My table was really fun and we all talked about SSIS and dove into more tuning areas. I highly recommend to all SQL Saturday organizers to consider having a Birds of a Feather luncheon. It is a relaxing setting and can spark some great conversations around SQL Server and personal experiences.
I wanted to send out special thanks to the organizers of SQL Saturday in Iowa Ed Leighton-Dick, Mark Crooks, Michelle Ufford, Russ Allen, Brian Duhn, Jeff Belina, Mark DeWaard, Jen Lockhart, Jason Adams, Chris Leonard and the many volunteers I saw through the day helping the even run smooth. Keep this annual SQL Saturday going! It truly is one of the SQL Saturdays out there that is great and leads the way for others. Also special thanks to all that attended my sessions and the Birds of a Feather lunch. I had a great time and cannot wait to get back to Iowa to see you all again.