SQLDay 2018

SQLDay 2018

The SQLDay conference happened this year again. The biggest conference about Microsoft Data Platform in that part of Europe and the only one organises by community. The formula is the same: 3 days whereas first day is a workshop and another 2 days are full of regular session spread across 5/6 tracks. I had a pleasure to play a few roles: I was leading full day pre-conf, have had a regular (60 minutes) session and be co-organizer of the conference. But, let’s start from the beginning.


As the conference has started on Monday, the team started its work the day before, on Sunday. Organisizing such big conference it’s always a challenge. Fortunately, the location hasn’t been change for a few years (Centennial Hall) which helps the preparation. Anyway, there is a lot things to do before conference starts, e.g. fold T-shirts and pack these stuff to goody-bags. Obviously, do not forget make a bite & take a sip of beer.

“I have nothing to offer but…

…blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”




As always, it’s fantastic opportunity for me to meet my polish friends. That’s why I have joined them in the venue on Sunday. Even for a few dozens of minutes only.
So, I’ve said hello, have had a chat and couldn’t help too much. On Monday I had something important. Something I had to prepare to. This evening supposed to be even more busy for me this time.

My first workshop

At the end of our workshop

That’s right. I was to lucky to be selected to present my full-day session about DevOps with Microsoft’s database. As it was my first time, I asked Damian Widera (T) to present this session with me. I had a scenario for a workshop, we’ve discussed about execution (plan) and kicked off the preparation.
Whole workshop contained 4 modules, so we divided the content by two – each of us prepare 2 modules. If you want to see the subjects we covered – check it out on this page.
So, the day before – we had to check our materials, demos, and refine all a bit more to be better understood by our attendees and remit the knowledge as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
We had 61 attendees in the room, which is very, very good result in my opinion. During my preparation for the workshop, I had 2 ideas. One of them was to prepare a short survey and ask our listeners about their opinion. That opinion was very important for me for a couple of reasons:
a) it was my first workshop, so I appreciate all feedback about my presentation and demo
b) I’d have to understand how they found the workshop, which parts were useful and what can be improved.
In order to encourage the attendees – we have had books for draw out at the end of the conference. Both with signature of its authors (Itzik, Dejan)

Briefly, these are the answers to the survey’s questions:

Thanks to all the people who took part in that survey. Much appreciate and also, I’m very glad that you liked it.

Memorable Evening

With my friend Rob Sewell

I thought that the worse is behind me. I was wrong.
After the whole fatiguing day, it was time to go to a hotel and rest… no, forget. Check, makeup, practice my tomorrow’s session about Azure Data Warehouse. AZURE. Cloud. So, you need to have the Internet, valid subscription and enough money on it. As you probably know – Azure SQL DW is not cheap (toy).
I always try to be well prepared for my session. It’s increasing my self-confident and decreases stress (yes, I’m still getting a stress before I present, but I’m calm that it’s common for most speakers and good sign – my friend Rob Sewell (T) has written post about it here).
Hence, first goal was to check the demo (scripts). Before I started doing so, just quick take a look at emails. And then I found email from Microsoft that my subscription has been disabled.
Oh no. It wasn’t funny. Not today. Microsoft, you have 362 days (365-3) in the year to do this and you have to choice one of those three? Great…
First thought: did I reach a limit of my subscription? Of course not! I mean… 99% not. I’ve raised a ticket to the support explaining the situation and its seriousness (at least for me).
Second thought: I have second account, let’s try that one. When I tried to log in to the Azure portal – I’ve got the message like this:

Your account has been locked.

Damn it. What happens now? Is that due to my location? This account should not be used outside of UK. Anyway… I have no active Azure account and tomorrow morning I have my presentation. What could I do? Nothing. Hence… went downstairs and I’ve got a beer.

Speaker Dinner & subscription

Thanks from Community

To be honest, it was the best decision I could have made.
First day’s evening was a speaker dinner at the event hotel. I went down there, grab some beer and start talking to people. And then, it turned out that I have more friends that I assumed. Janusz (T|B) offered me to swap our session and as he has had his session last slot day-after – that might help me to try sorting out everything. Help accepted, +10p to Janusz appreciation account and my many thanks!
Then Michał Smereczyński (T) offered me a subscription that he had on the pocket. Wow! Many thanks! That’s becoming my session feasible again. The last concerns which left were about the data (flat files) I had prepared in my blob storage. “Gonna be fine. I will come up with an idea tomorrow. Today, just focus on community. Eat something, drink a little bit and have a good time with friends”, I have thought. And I did it.

Second day

It was great that I had enough time to check and repair my presentation.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s support replied to me and enabled my subscription. Unfortunately, they couldn’t ensure that it will not be disabled again automatically. I couldn’t take that risk. I used AzCopy to copy all my demo CSV files and double check my demo. I was ready. The crisis has been defused.
And I spend most of the day in the speaker room.

The party!

As usual on the evening of the second day – the party is happening. There is a good music (my good friend Mateusz (DJ MTM) played DJ role), plenty of various food, bunch of drinks to choose and many opportunities to have fun and good conversations (including our fantastic speakers). So, what is a good enough reason not to join to such party?


When you giving a regular, 60 or 75 minutes, session – you are doing it as a volunteer, for free. And this is fine for all of us, even though it does cost a lot of efforts to prepare a quality session. The longer session is the most effort, work and time you need to spend on it. Typical, isn’t? So, this is not a secret but maybe not everyone know that the workshop sessions are payable to the speakers. This may vary depends on conference, of course, but generally, that is the rule.
When I was preparing the workshop I came upon an idea. Don’t understand me wrong. As that would be extra money for me – why not to share the money with someone who need it more? Always there is some people, children, animals or charities whom that money can help much more than me, right? I believe that the karma returns.
It worth to mention that I was also inspired by two people: the polish lead financial blogger, Michal Szafranski (T) and my UK friend – Alex Yates (T). Alex has given away ample amount of money to two charities several months ago (read about it here) and Michal regularly helps one of polish charity who feeds malnourished children.
So, my idea was to spend part of earned money on children. Hence, I decided to start with 10% which is maybe not a break-taking sum, but it still better than nothing, right?
I shared this idea with Damian (we led the workshop together) and he agreed to do this. I can’t even imagine how it’s possible that some children can be malnourished.
Eventually, I wanted to reveal a confirmation of money transfer sent to “Pajacyk” as I have nothing to hide and simply can confirm that I did it:

my part of “better than nothing”


I did it. Very easily. Without any problems. And I felt happy. Again: don’t get me wrong: generally I’m a fan of giving people fishing rod rather than a fish and I’m not going to discuss about these things deeper. BUT.
What if at least part of us has possibilities to spend at least part of that extra earned money to freely selected charity? Just think about it: how many of us do the workshops across the world? How many conferences we have got every month, every year? That would be massive help!
Naturally, everything is up to you. This decision is thoroughly under your discretion. And of course only when it’s not your only one source of income.
However, if you would decided to do that – spread a word on twitter tagging it with #sqlcharity and name/handle of organisation you have supported.
Let’s make a new trend. Let’s make something big. Let’s change the world. Even though a little bit. Perhaps it saves somebody life?
#sqlcharity can help. We can help.

Closing session

At the end of the conference, there have not run out of a raffle. As only in good events – only present people can take part of the raffle. This year we had a several special prizes and tons of books. Of course – Szelor’s contest has taken place either. Interested what is it? I will not reveal that mystery – you need to come and experience yourself.
Thanks to my friends, Damian and I, had opportunity/capability to giving away 2 books to attendees of our workshop. The books contained the autographs from Itzik Ben-Gan (T) and Dejan Sarka (T).

SQLDay in numbers

This year reach the limit. 800 people is the maximum what the venue can afford. That’s why we had to close the registration 2 months before the event.
It shows us that the event enjoys great popularity and it’s our gratification. Below you can find out some figures:

Where attendees come from?

Gender Companies Attendees
Women: 14.2%
Men: 85.8%
282 Workshops (only): 4%
Conference (only): 36%
W+C: 61%

Why it is worth?

As I mentioned, it’s biggest Data Platform conference in Poland (and probably in that part of Europe) with many international speakers which means two things: very good quality content, session in English as well (we try to have 50% of them).

Value for money

The prices for entire conference is really really reasonable! Only 1000 PLN (about 250 EUR) is almost nothing comparing to ton of knowledge you pick up during the event. When it’s still out of your reach – ask your line manager or boss to send you onto such training. When even this scenario fails – why not to be volunteer on SQLDay? Let us know: sqlday@sqlday.pl

When will be the next conference?

Next event will take place in Wroclaw, Poland between 13-15.05.2019. We already know big names of this conference:
– Aaron Bertrand (T)
– Grant Fritchey (T)

You don’t have to rush yet. The registration will commence December/January, so stay tuned and buy your ticket in the best prices. Early bird last only first few weeks. We don’t know exact prices yet, but certainly they will be very similar to this year.

CFS buddy. I wanna be a speaker!

You’re more than welcome to submit your session. CFS doesn’t start yet and follow twitters: @SQLDay and/or @SQLPlayer if you want to be up to date with the news.


I want to thanks to all volunteers, speakers and organisers. Data Community Poland is the organiser of this conference and it’s a group of people who are professionalist and passionate in their work. Big, big thanks to you all, my #SQLFamily.


fot. Dariusz Brejnak

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Kamil Nowinski
Kamil Nowinski 200 posts

Blogger, speaker. Data Platform MVP, MCSE. Senior Data Engineer & data geek. Member of Data Community Poland, co-organizer of SQLDay, Happy husband & father.

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