Wednesday, 11 May 2016

SQL Bits 2016

So last week I headed over to Liverpool for four days at the SQL Bits conference. This was the first SQL event that I had ever been to so just as much as I was looking forward to it I was kind of wondering what on earth (or space) would be going on there.

I was going to be quite detailed in my post but I quickly realised that if I was going to write about everything I learned or picked up from the event then I would be writing it for weeks, and I guess you'd be reading it for that long too - well maybe! 

Magic domes. Walk in and walk back out a bit smarter.

Day 1 was the first of two full training days and of course, registration. Attendees were met at the centre by a Stormtrooper (so security was tight - good to see) and an army of volunteers. Registration was like lightning and in we go! I'd picked Indexing with Kendra Little and made sure I arrived at the dome super early to get a seat. It really was an amazing day and honestly, it flew by. Indexing is one of my favourite topics in SQL so to have someone like Kendra is pretty cool. I learnt stacks and had dozens of things that I wanted to try out and look into some more; and I will refer to missing index details as the house recommendation from now on!

Time to learn!

Day 2 was the next full training day. I'd opted for Accidental Database Design in 2016 with Thomas LaRock and Karen Lopez. Once again the training was excellent, this time we split into groups and did 3 labs through the day implementing what we had learning. Super insightful, immersive and the team element helped everyone to meet some new people. Really good day but sadly I was feeling a little poorly so I had to miss the pub quiz in the evening and opted for an early night instead!

Day 2 is all about data design.

Day 3’s training began with the SQL Engine enhancements in 2016 with Pedro Lopes (making engines roar) but before that we had the keynote with Data Group VP. I was still feeling under the weather so asked if I could sit at the back – huge thank you to the volunteer who helped me out by the way!!!! The keynote was seriously cool and highlights included querying the universe (really), facial expression recognition and of course, the insights into how we will be using data in the future.

I believe the technical term is swag!

Next up, Pedro’s training session was great and it was fantastic to get some insight into the Tiger Team and how new functionality ends up in SQL. I loved this season and will be reviewing again when the video arrives. In fact, the first session was that great that I opted for part two for the rest of the afternoon! Again, feeling a bit on the poorly side I decided to miss the space party and retire for the night.

 My initial view at the keynote before retiring to the back!

Day 4 was the final day and I arrived nice and early for a 8.15 start with Denny Cherry for a session about performance in virtual environments. Great session and once more it was I headed over to what would be my final bit of training at SQL Bits which was on the Query Store with Enrico Van Laar. I had one final wander around the hall and was fortunate to bump into Kendra to say thanks for the training on the first day before heading off for the journey back home.

Mr Denny Cherry; session topics.

So what did I make of it all? Well I hope its obvious from my various social media posts that I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. I loved every second of it, the training sessions, meeting experts and picking their brains, the vendor demos and getting their view on things, the food! Of course the final word should be for the SQL community because that is what was more prominent than anything else. It was quite clear, in the speakers, attendees, vendors and above all else, the volunteers, seriously I cannot thank you guys enough because I’ll remember walking in on the first day to an army of warm welcoming big smiles.

Thank you SQL bits!  

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Always Encrypted - a little glimpse of the future?

Okay so the title is a bit misleading, Always Encrypted isn't quite a glimpse into the future as it's now right on our doorstep with the 1st June release of SQL Server 2016. What I wanted to post about was something that appears within this new feature.

I recently attended the 2016 Database Design training session led by Thomas LaRock and Karen Lopez at the SQL Bits conference where we spent a bit of time looking at the new security features which of course featured Always Encrypted.

Now Always Encrypted is a great (but pretty limited) feature and is pretty straightforward to implement so I'll not go through it here and get to my actual point which is all about something that appears on the validation dialog page of the Always Encrypted wizard as seen below:  

You see it? Generate a what a PowerShell script?!

Now to me this is a little odd for a few reasons:

1 - Why isn't there an option to generate a T-SQL script? (maybe it will be in RTM)

2 - Why PowerShell, as I can't do anything with the script inside management studio? (yes there is a Start PowerShell option)

3 - Is there anything else that offers a generate PowerShell script option in SSMS? 

4 - As an added bonus, the PowerShell script doesn't actually work 100% of the time - sure that is fixed by now!

OK it might not be that much of a surprise because PowerShell has become quite an integral part of SQL administration these days but by including this option does that mean PowerShell is going to become an even bigger part of our day to day activities? (Erm, yes).

We briefly discussed it in the session and what came across is that there will be an even bigger shift towards PowerShell coming in the future. How and what exactly I leave to discussion but it's certainly going to be interesting to see how SQL Server goes down this route. Needless to say if you're not on-board the PowerShell train already you better be thinking about booking your tickets pretty soon!