TechEd Impressions: Day Four

TechEd is finally over, and I have been overwhelmed by attending 20 different sessions over the last four days. As with any conference I attend, my head is swimming with a lot of new information that I hope I can retain over the long term.

I accidently ended up in another Microsoft-oriented marketing session again today. I wish there was a good way to know which sessions are more marketing than technical, but it is tough to tell if a Microsoft employee is leading the session. On the other hand, if a SQL Server MVP is leading the session, then it is a sure bet the content will be more useful.

My two favorite sessions of the day were by SQL Server MVPs Adam Machanic and Maciej Pileck. Both offered useful, high-level technical information that I found useful.

On another note, in one of the Microsoft sessions I attended, which was presented by a member of the SQLCat team, there was a reference on one slide that made a specific best practice recommendation about small verses large databases. One of the attendees asked the speaker what they considered to be a small and a large database, and the answer caused me to chuckle out loud. The speaker said a small database was in the 1-2 terabyte range, and that a large database was in the 100+ terabyte range. It is interesting that Microsoft (at least the SQLCat team) considers a database small if it is 1-2 terabytes in size. Times have really seemed to have changed over the past few years in regard to what defines the size of small and large database.

While I have been critical of many of the TechEd sessions I attended this year, and found the quality of the sessions to be a little uneven, overall it was a good experience, and I am glad I attended.

On the other hand, if a DBA were to ask me if they only had one week of training they could attend next year, should they attend TechEd, I would say no. If you only have a single week of training a year, and you want to attend a conference, I would recommend attending the PASS Summit or SQL Server Connections instead. I would only recommend DBAs to attend TechEd if they were in the enviable position of being able to attend at least two or three conferences a year. Both PASS and SQL Server Connections not only offer more DBA content, but the content is generally better than what TechEd offers.

TechEd 2011 will be held in Atlanta, GA, May 16-19, 2011, so mark your calendar if you think you might want to attend. I will be fortunate enough to attend, and hopefully next year’s will be better than this year’s event (from the DBA perspective).

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