Last Saturday I headed down to “the OC” for SQL Saturday #73 in Huntington Beach, California.  The main organizer was Andrew Karcher, and the participating PASS Chapters were Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.SQLSaturday SQL Saturday #73 in Orange County

It was a terrific meeting.  Here’s what I was able learn and do:

•    Represent and evangelize PASS and meet more PASS Chapter Leaders and members.
•    Talk to the organizers to learn how they pulled it all together.
•    Observe how a SQL Saturday actually runs – the venue, logistics, number of organizers and volunteers required, speaker evaluations, giveaways, and door prizes.
•    Meet as many speakers, sponsors, and attendees as possible.

And of course I wanted to learn more about SQL Server.

•    Clint Kunz of Microsoft gave a very high level talk on the current state of Microsoft’s Business Intelligence efforts.  Other speakers would be presenting the details in later sessions.
•    I then heard Rob Kerr of BlueGranite speak on delivering BI solutions with SQL Server and SharePoint.  I really enjoyed his practical examples.
•    Ted Tasker of Microsoft gave a really good intro to Microsoft’s Parallel Data Warehouse (AKA PDW, Project Madison).  This was great information about a very exciting project.  PDW is big, powerful, and pretty expensive, but is a bargain compared to competing products from Terradata and others.  I had a great talk with Ted afterward.
•    The Women in Technology Virtual Chapter had a great panel on the theme “Encouraging the Next Generation.”  Kudos to Denise McInerney, Meredith Ryan Smith, Lynn Langit, and Diana Dee.
•    Clint Kunz talked about the Largest SQL Server Projects in the World.  Very interesting!
•    Harold Wong is a hoot!  He gave a talk on virtualization basics that was really useful, and at the same time, very entertaining.map1 SQL Saturday #73 in Orange County
•    The last session I attended was with Bret Stateham on SQL Server Reporting Services Map Visualizations.  I enjoyed the interesting examples that Bret walked us through, step by step.

We closed out the event with a drawing for some great raffle prizes, and adjourned to Michael’s Sports Bar for food and drinks.

Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to put on this great event!