Monday, 23 November 2009

Database guys only want sets

As I queued for breakfast last Friday, the T-shirt in front me read “Database guys only want sets.”

Databases, it seems, are a bloke thing. This is news to me having been fascinated by databases since before SQL Server 6.5. I idly wondered what a gal’s database T-shirt might read as I looked around the room. A sea of male faces stared back at me - all of them looking as if sets were the furthest thing from their minds.

I was at SQLBits Goes West – the latest SQLBits conference for those, like me, who work with Microsoft SQL Server in its various guises.

The conference was being held in Newport, Wales, at the iconic Celtic Manor Resort. It’s the first thing you see as you enter Wales from the M4. It nestles in the steep hillside, towering above the motorway below. I’ve driven past it many times, but this was my first visit inside. It is grand and spacious and its imposing front hall vaguely reminded me of The Shining. Jack Nicholson, fortunately, was nowhere in sight.

SQLBits is a terrific idea. Organised by a bunch of enthusiastic SQL Server Microsoft Valued Professionals, it is not-for-profit and all-for-education. And bacon butties.

Last Friday’s excellent presentations were centred on the latest Beta releases from Microsoft: Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2. There are some deeply exciting new features which open up Business Intelligence to many more users. This has to be a good thing. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft’s strategy of BI for the masses pays off but from where I'm sitting it's looking good.

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