SQLCambs

Well my day is finally coming to an end, my bed is calling me after a long day. If I had thought about it more I would have packed a few cans of Pepsi Max and probability took a half day at work, as it was I spent my lunch break by coming home and taking my son to the park*, then heading off to Cambridge after work for mine and my colleagues first Cambridgeshire SQL Server User Group. I thought I’d write a blog post about the event whilst everything is still fresh in my head and my dinner is still going down.

First up, the venue, Redgate’s office in the Cambridge Business Park (also the same business park that Mythic-Beasts has a data centre in) was fantastic. You really did get the feeling they practice what they preach and they really have embraced the agile culture. It really is visible in their environment – I have to admit the floor to ceiling room divider whiteboard did (sadly) give me a bit of envy and I was thinking if I could get away with turning the cupboards at work into a giant whiteboard.

The Cambridgeshire SQL Server User Group is ran by Mark Broadbent who I assume is doing these events as part of some Microsoft-y requirement of mentoring. Whatever his reasons, it’s great his doing it. This especially rang true in the second half of the event when Alex from Redgate started taking about the importance of Redgate database version control software. To Alex credit, he did do a good job showing Redgate products whilst at the same time not feeling like we just entered a sales pitch meeting and we’re going spend the next 6 months getting spammed with sales calls. I really appreciate when people put these types of events together, the low pressure, honest events where you can see the product but then not have your phone ring every 5 mins asking when the orders going to arrive. It also gives a chance to see how other people in different areas are having the same problems as well as get some honest feedback about products and companies from real end users – ie not managers who will spend 20 mins talking about how great it is despite never using or having any real knowledge about it.

The first session was by Dave Ballantyne on statistics, a subject, if I’m being honest, doesn’t particularly feel me with much excitement. My colleague on the other hand, they are the difference between a quiet day or a day with a number of managers hovering over your desk ask why everything is so slow. Despite my lack of excitement and my colleague previous  attempts to explain it to me, I did feel I left, after a 1 hr session I might add, having a better understanding. I should at least have a clue why I’m having problems later on and where to start looking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to go looking at it until it happens!

The second and final session was by Alex Yates who works at Redgate on “Building an automated database deployment pipeline”. In short, automating how you get the new stuff into production. One of my bug bears is how we deploy. It’s manual. I won’t go into detail, I’ll leave that for another post, this was basically the sales pitch of the day which I suspect might of been the cost of the free venue… food… drinks… books…. lanyards. Still the message was a important one and it needs to be heard. DevOps is the future. And Redgate is your friendly company who will help you get there.

So, would I go again? Yes. Would I recommend it? Totally. Amazing what can come from putting “cambridgeshire” and “sql” into twitter’s search box will lead you too 🙂