June 11, 2010 was a wonderful day because I attended the very first SQL Server 2008 R2 Launch event held by Microsoft at Mumbai. I traveled to Mumbai from my home town, Ahmedabad. The event was located at one of the best hotels in Mumbai,”The Leela”.
SQL Server R2 Launch was an evening event that had a few interesting talks. SQL PASS is associated with this event as one of the partners and its goal is to increase the awareness of the Community about SQL Server. I met many interesting people and had a great networking opportunity at the event.
This event was kicked off with an awesome laser show and a “Welcome” video, which was followed by a Microsoft Executive session wherein there were several interesting demo. The very first demo was about Powerpivot. I knew beforehand that there will be Powerpivot demos because it is a very popular subject; however, I was really hoping to see other interesting demos from SQL Server 2008 R2. And believe me; I was happier to see the later demos. There were demos from SQL Server Utility Control Point, as well an integration of Bing Map with Reporting Servers. I really enjoyed the interactive and informative session by Shivaram Venkatesh. He had excellent presentation skills as well as ample technical knowledge to keep the audience attentive. I really liked his presentations skills wherein he did not read the whole slide deck; rather, he picked one point and using that point he told the story of the whole slide deck. I also enjoyed my conversation with Afaq Choonawala, who is one of the “gem guys” in Microsoft. I also want to acknowledge Ashwin Kini and Mohit Panchal for their excellent support to this event. Mumbai IT Pro is a user group which you can really count on for any kind of help.
After excellent demos and a vibrant start of the event, all the audience was jazzed up. There were two vendors’ sessions right after the first session. Intel had 15 minutes to present; however, Intel’s representative, who had good knowledge of the subject, had nearly 30+ slides in his presentation, so he had to rush a bit to cover the whole slide deck. Intel presentations were followed up by another vendor presentation from NetApp. I have previously heard about this tool. After I saw the demo which did not work the first time the Net App presenter demonstrated it, I started to have a doubt on this product. I personally went to clarify my doubt to the demo booth after the presentation was over, but I realize the NetApp presenter or booth owner had absolutely a POOR KNOWLEDGE of SQL Server and even of their own NetApp product. The NetApp people tried to misguide us and when we argued, they started to say different things against what they said earlier. At one point in their presentation, they claimed their application does something very fast, which did not really happen in front of all the audience. They blamed SQL Server R2 DBCC CHECKDB command for their product’s failed demonstration. I know that NetApp has many great products; however, this one was not conveyed clearly and even created a negative impression to all of us.
Well, let us not judge the potential, fun, education and enigma of the launch event through a small glitch. This event was jam-packed and extremely well-received by everybody who attended it. As what I said, average demos and good presentations by MS folks were really something to cheer about. Any launch event is considered as successful if it achieves its goal to excite users with its cutting edge technology; just like this event that left a very deep impression on me.
Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)