On Saturday last weekend I travelled up to Manchester to present at SQLBits4. This was my first ever trip to Manchester and it was great! It was held at Manchester Metropolitan University.
SQLBits is a community conference event. Speakers are not paid and delegates attend for free; the event is entirely funded by sponsors. It has an excellent ethos, and people at it, both presenters and attendees, are giving up a day of their weekend to further their knowledge.
I also presented at SQL Bits 2 which was held just over a year ago in Birmingham. That time I presented on ‘TSQL Enhancements in SQL Server 2008’ (which hadn’t even been released at that time). This time I presented on Clustering SQL Server. My slot was last thing in the day (3.50 to 5pm), but I still got a good turn out for a relatively obscure/esoteric subject. I have had some nice, positive feedback from attendees and have supplied the slides and some other documents to those who have asked for them. You can also download my slides from the SQLBits website here.
Partly what made this a really enjoyable weekend was that I travelled up on Friday afternoon and stayed in the Macdonald Hotel with the other speakers, and my girlfriend Anna came with me. The speakers, organisers and some of the sponsors went out for dinner on Friday night, a fabulous Chinese buffet. The hotel was absolutely wonderful – one of the finest beds I’ve ever slept in (vast!), and a shower that was like a massage.

Brad McGeehee, one of my fellow speakers, and eminent SQL Server guru, has posted about the day and has included some pictures on his blog. Chris Webb has also posted a nice blog about it here.

If you are involved in SQL Server at all, in any capacity, I would warmly recommend future SQL Bits events to you. It’s free – it’s top quality content (I say this as an attendee, not just a speaker). It’s fun, it’s a great way to network, and great opportunity to meet your peers. Who knows, you might even get lucky and get given off a day off in lieu by your employer (you should ask – what’s the worst thing that can happen!?).
I hope to see you at future events.

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