Last week I attended SQLBits 2016 in Liverpool. I had such a great time, and I would like to share it with you. I arrived on Tuesday evening, so I had enough time to prepare for my session and get some rest. On Wednesday I presented a precon with the title “Big Data Made Simple”. This full-day session was an introduction to the world of big data. Throughout the day I covered the challenges, the platforms, the vendors and also the use cases of big data. I had a wonderful audience, around 80 people. They asked a lot of great questions, which led to interesting discussion, such as the lifespan of SQL Server and whether SQL Server is capable of handling big data (what do you think?).
On the next day I took a day off and spent the day in Liverpool. I visited the Beatles Story, the Cavern, several museums and more. I was lucky to be there on the day of the semi-final game of the Europa League between Liverpool and Villarreal. So I went to Anfield. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get tickets, but still I experienced the amazing energy outside of the field, and I watched the game in one of the local bars, which turned out to be a great experience.
The conference started on Friday morning with a keynote delivered by Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President of the Data Group at Microsoft, followed by many great sessions throughout Friday and Saturday by excellent speakers, such as Itzik Ben Gan, Kendra Little and Niko Neugebauer, to name just a few. There were plenty of opportunities to learn new things. As for myself, I learned how to use R in SQL Server, and also some new interesting things about Power BI and Reporting Services.
Of course, SQLBits is not just about learning. There are also plenty of opportunities for networking. This is a wonderful opportunity to get together with old friends and to meet new ones. There were around 1,500 people in the conference this year. It’s a lot of people, but not too much. The whole conference – classrooms (the domes), exhibitors and food – was in a single (huge) space.
But the part of the conference that everybody was waiting for was the party on Friday night. This time the theme around SQLBits was space, and so was the party. There were so many cool attractions in the party, and a lot of people dressed really funny with space costumes. That was a lot of fun!
SQLBits is the biggest SQL Server event in Europe. It is organized once a year by volunteers, people like you and me. This is an excellent event made by the community for the community. I can’t wait for SQLBits 2017…