Ajarn Mark Caldwell Blog

Bringing Business Sense to the IT World…

Before the Summit of 2012

Today, Monday, was the first day of the PASS Summit Preconference training events, but instead I spent the day at the free SQL in the City event put on by Red Gate. For me this was not a financial decision (pre-con sessions cost extra above the general Summit registration) but rather a matter of interest.  I had already included money for pre-cons in this year’s training budget, but none of them really stood out to me, so even if the Red-Gate event were not going on at the same time, I probably would not have gone to any pre-cons this year.  However, the topics being presented at the SQL in the City event were of great interest to me.  There promised to be good information on Continuous Integration and automated deployment of database changes, which lately has been a real hot topic at my work.  And indeed, Red-Gate announced the release of a new tool (still in Early Access Program…a.k.a. Beta) which is called the Deployment Manager.  Since we are in the middle of a TFS implementation project, it will be interesting to see how this plays out and compares to what we put together with the automated builds in TFS.  But, as I understand it, the primary focus of Deployment Manager is not to be the Build process (Red Gate uses JetBrains’ Team City for that in their shop) but rather to aid in the deployment of those build packages, as well as providing easy rollback and a good visualization of which versions of software are in which environments.  It looks promising and I’ve already downloaded the installer package to play with it later.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the SQL in the City event.  Having heard many current and past members of the PASS Board of Directors describe the challenges of putting on a large conference, and the growing pains that the PASS Summit has gone through, I am even more impressed that the Red Gate event ran as smoothly as it did.  And it is quite impressive the amount of money that Red Gate must have spent given that this was a no-charge event to attend, they had a very nice hot lunch, and the after-event drinks celebration.  Well done, folks!

Of course it was great to hear from a variety of speakers.  Today I listened to some folks from Red Gate like Grant Fritchey (blog | @GFritchey) and David Atkinson (Product Manager for SQL Source Control and now the Deployment Manager tool set); and also Brent Ozar (blog | @BrentO) and Buck Woody (blog | @BuckWoody).  By the way, if you have never seen either Brent or Buck speak, you really should.  Different styles, but both are very entertaining and educational at the same time.  I love Buck’s sense of humor (here’s a tip…don’t be late to Buck’s session or you’ll become part of the presentation) and I praise Brent’s slides.  Brent’s style very much reminds me of that espoused by Garr Reynolds on his Presentation Zen blog (and book) and I am impressed that he can make a technical presentation so engaging.

It was a great day, a great way to kick off the week, and I am excited to get into the full Summit!