SQL Saturdays in South Africa

The SQLSaturday conferences are free, one-day conferences, and as their name suggests, usually on a Saturday (though Hawaii ran its conference on a Friday), run by the local SQL Server usergroups. They provide high-quality training run entirely by volunteers. To date, there have been more than 400 SQLSaturday events on six continents since the first one was held in Orlando in late 2007.
This will be the fifth year in a row that there’s a SQLSaturday held in Johannesburg. However, it’s the first year that we have three events running in South Africa.
Johannesburg is up first on 5 September. I’m presenting several sessions there: a full day preconference session on the Friday, as well as two sessions on the Saturday. The precon is titled ‘All about Execution Plans’ and that’s what it is. I’ll be talking the entire day on execution plans, starting with how and why they are generated, and ending with a detailed look at the operators that can appear in the plans, what they mean and how to read them.
The first session on the Saturday, titled ‘What backups?’, covers SQL’s backup options, the full, differential and log backups, what they each do and when they’d be used, as well as a discussion on restore paths for different kinds of backup. The second session on the Saturday is a more advanced session called ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics’. It looks at SQL’s statistics objects, what they are and what they are used for. It goes into detail on the part that the statistics play in the optimisation process and what can (and will) go wrong when statistics are out of date.
The second Saturday of September sees SQLSaturday moving to Cape Town. Again, I’ll be delivering my talk on statistics.To complete the trio, on the 19 September, the very first SQLSaturday Durban will be held. In addition to the sessions on backups and statistics, I’m also doing a two-hour presentation on execution plans. The first half is focussed on how to read execution plans and the second, on using the execution plan to identify performance problems with queries.
To end the month on a very different note, I have the pleasure of presenting an AI paper at the SAICSIT conference in Stellenbosch … a change from the usual SQL conferences indeed.

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