SQL Saturday 107 – Houston

Living in the Austin area we are a little more than three hours from Houston. So driving to SQL Saturday 107 was a no brainer. With my normal work schedule of Sunday through Thursday I had made plans to leave mid-morning and have a nice leisurely drive down allowing for plenty of time to find the hotel, venue and make it to the speaker dinner.

The Drive

The drive was nice and uneventful. There was a weather front moving through the area and as I arrived at the hotel it started raining pretty hard. I had some time to kill before heading over to the speaker dinner so I relaxed for a while and watched some mindless TV. By the time I was ready to head over to the speaker dinner the heavy rain had moved on through but left heavy traffic in its wake. When I picked the hotel I chose one near the venue and the restaurant for the speaker dinner so the drive was a short one.

Speaker Dinner

The speaker dinner did not started off good. At least not for me, I didn’t even have a full drink in me and I spilled some liquid refreshment all over the table and on someone’s chair. (Sorry Eric). After getting that cleaned up things went much better. Maybe I was just nervous to be in the company of so many really cool speakers within the SQL Community. Nah, that couldn’t be it. J

So was the evening went along I met some new friends and chatting with some others I met this past year at the PASS summit. I also caught up with old friends from HASSUG, NTSSUG not to mention some of the members of CACTUSS. Over all Texas had a fine showing at this hoedown, shindig, event.

The Main Event

I arrived early the next morning to lend a hand to the awesome crew from HASSUG if they needed it. As it turned out they had plenty of help and things well in hand. My presentation was scheduled for the afternoon so I decided to use the Guidebook to look for sessions to attend. There were some great speakers and a wide variety of sessions to attend and choosing what to attend was not a simple task. I attended Argenis Fernandez’s ( twitter | blog ) session Rolling Upgrades Leveraging Database Mirroring a great session with some practical information and handy scripts. I will be downloading and testing those out soon. I also attended Christina Leo’s ( twitter | blog ) session on SQL Server Internals: It’s What’s For Dinner. I loved the way she used food analogies but I do have a complaint too. Christina’s reference to food just before lunch was a little distracting. Maybe that was planned? Hmm I wonder.


What can you say bad about a traditional Texas BBQ? The food was great and plenty of it. I even had a brief conversation with the rep from the catering company. The price was very reasonable for what was provided and it tasted great too. The way they make the coleslaw is very tasty and a favorite of mine.

Post Lunch Coma

After lunch I attended Tim Radney’s ( twitter | blog ) session You Inherited A Database Now What. Tim’s presentation had me jotting down notes on things to check when I got back to work this week. Everyone knows after eating lunch you get sleepy. Tim presentation kept me awake and alert. Good job Tim.

My session, Standardize Your Environment With Best Practices. Granted is not as glamorous as some of the other sessions with demos. I think it is a very important part of any environment and can be very beneficial in the long run or I would not have a session on it. That being said, over all it went well. Attendees were attentive and engaged and only two people nodded off. Luckily I wasn’t one of them especially after the big lunch. I felt good when I was finished. I want to thank everyone that attended I hope you got something out the session. After all, that’s the goal when standing up in front of the room. The slide deck is available here if you are interested in downloading.

Networking Social

The networking event in the evening was another great time. Again I talked and mingled and had a great time over all. I think I was one of the last ones to leave because several of us were having such a good time just hanging out. I wish more people attending the event during the day would to the after event networking session. I think that we as speakers and event promoters need to make that one of the points we try and emphasize better. That is another way we can grow as a community.

After Thoughts

The event was a hugh success. I was not able to attend last year but I had a great time. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few minor things that can be improved, as Johathan Gardner mentioned, signage and the WiFi access were two that come to mind. But the event worked even without those things being perfect. I only hope we can learn some things from this and hosting our own last year and improve on our next one. Details coming soon!

After every SQL Server Community event I attend I always come away feeling good. After this event the feeling was even better. So much so during the Networking event I was already making plans for attending and hopefully speaking at other events. I have already submitted sessions to SQL Saturday 125 Oklahoma As I was finishing this post SQL Saturday 158 New York City was announced. It just so happens I will be in South Jersey visiting family and I will be submitting sessions right after finishing this post. We at CACTUSS will be hosting an event in September in Austin, details should be coming out soon. I am also trying to decide on Minnesota or Nashville. I can attend both so I need to make a tough decision.

In a few short weeks I will also be attending SQLRally in Dallas, I am not speaking but I did volunteer to help and really looking forward to the event.  I am making plans to attend PASS Summit 2012 in November.

So the next 6-7 months are going to be full of SQL goodness. As if working in it all day long isn’t enough. These community events are the icing on the cake. So look for me at an event near you. I look just like my avatar.




  1. AJ,

    It was great to have you. We are very glad you came! I am looking forward to our time in Dallas for Rally and getting to hang out when I am not running around like a mad man.

  2. AJ,

    I attended your SQL Saturday session in Houston and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a person who is responsible for setting up SQL Server Standards and Guidelines in my organization, this session came in handy. Thank you again for your time and effort. I also wanted to check with you if I can get the slide deck from your session. Let me know.

    1. Thank you Kishore.
      It is comments like this that really make a presentation. I saw by your other comment you were able to get the slides. Let me know if you have any questions.

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