What I Learned at Community Summits

I went to the first  Community Summit in 1999. This was one of the first conferences of my career, and I was excited to have one focused on SQL Server and data. I met Kalen Delaney and shook her hand after having her educate me about how tempdb worked in SQL Server 7. That event started a 20-year journey of traveling to subsequent Summits nearly every year since. Over the years, I have a lot of memories from Summits, mostly of people that I’ve met and talked with. Much of the time I’ve been at any of the Summits was spent on networking and business purposes more than learning, but I have picked up a few things along the way.

Early on Brian Knight and I delivered a presentation in a debate format. We were talking about the pros and cons of using identities. It was an enjoyable session and one where we learned a few things. A developer from Microsoft was in the audience and helped clarify some of the specific numbers related to limitations and scaling issues with using the feature.

When SQL Server 2005 was ready for release, I still remember going to watch Donald Farmer talk about Integration Services, a radical change from the way that Data Transformation Services used to work. It was quite an eye opening session for me.

Early in the time when I was working with DevOps and databases, I watched a talk on how you might apply some of the techniques with Reporting Services to implement CI and ensure your report changes would actually work correctly. It was a hack, but I think that a number of the technologies that Microsoft has added to SQL Server aren’t designed with version control and automated code review, which is a shame. However, that’s one of the great things about Summits. You can learn how someone else solved a problem.

There are many other memories from the event where someone taught me a bit more about SQL Server. Being in the same place as so many smart, talented, inspiring data professionals was magical. That was one of the big reasons that my boss wanted to see the conference continue. Nowhere else in the world brings so many people together.

You can still register for the event next week. It’s virtual this year, and completely free. No cost, and even if you get busy next week with work, you have access to the content after the conference, so register today. It’s a few minutes, and you’ll get the chance to learn from some amazing speakers.

Steve Jones

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Editor, SQLServerCentral
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