SQL Social – Keeping SQL Social

Last night approximately 30 of us met at the Style and Winch pub in Maidstone for another of the irregular SQL Social meets.  Maidstone was quite a trek south-east for me, although arriving at the scene of a Jack the Ripper film set within the pub made me wonder just how from normality I’d gone!

The evening was really broken into three sections:

Introduction to StreamInsight by Allan Mitchell of SQLIS.com fame – a 75 minute session on the new complex event processing engine shipped with SQL Server 2008 R2.  Still a very new area for most SQL Server folks Allan summed it up well calling it “real-time Integration Services”.  Allan’s session covered the key uses, concepts, terminology and terms used by the tool, before going into some code based demos.  Demonstrating at these community events can be quite a challenge as some people are pure code based devs, while others are more functionality focussed DBAs.  The demos we saw gave the .net coders the depth they needed to understand the tool, they also gave the rest of us something to follow and nod fairly honestly when asked if we were following.  StreamInsight is obviously still a very new tool in the SQL Server toolbox and Allan’s introduction certainly left us feeling informed about it.

Mid-way through the evening was a chance to cash in our drinks voucher and enjoy the buffet.  SQL Server community events tend to be very well furnished when it comes to their locations, facilities and food arrangements, the last thing you want after a long day at work is to turn up at an un-furnished office desperate to leave early enough to still get some food.  More importantly for me than the food was a chance to put faces to some of the names I’ve come to know online; Allan Mitchell and Simon Sabin were just a couple.  A big thank you therefore goes to the sponsors of the evening Infuential Software http://www.influentialsoftware.com/.

The third and final session was presented by Neil Hambly.  An un-expected presentation of his about computed columns and indexed views again introduced the concept and functionality they can each deliver.  Neil is obviously very experienced in this area and his presentation had the “notes from the field” feel about it, allowing him to share his day-to-day tips about improving repeatable view based querying in large operational environments.  Neil’s presentation left us with good ideas which we could take home and begin researching tomorrow.

Overall, a good evening which didn’t have the formal user group feel to it, instead an informal but informative session in the heart of Kent.  For more information about the group check their web site  http://www.sqlsocial.com/Home.aspx

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