Schedule 2018

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Data n’ Gravy 2018 was the first event run by the Leeds data community, and part of Leeds Digital Festival. We wanted to give people a fun, informal day to learn something new and share their own knowledge.

We added a Yorkshire twist with a tasty lunch of Yorkshire puddings, chips and a LOT of gravy, provided by The Brewery Tap (Leeds brewery pub).

Our speakers were from, or associated with, the Leeds Data Platform User Group. Some had never spoken at an event before but they all did a fantastic job! Sessions included:

• Introduction to Containers
• Tune the query, not the plan
• Lightening Talks from User Group members
• SQL Server Operations Studio
• A voyage through test environments

For the full schedule, scroll down the page.

Feedback for the speakers was great, and the favourite won the highly sought-after Gravy Boat award (well done Dan). The day was finished off nicely with a trip t’pub, so everyone could chat about what they’d learnt!

Full 2018 schedule

09:30 | Registration

10:00 | Introduction to Containers | Chris Taylor @sqlgeordie

Session Duration: 1 hour
Session Details: Containers have been around for a while now but are becoming increasingly popular and with Microsoft’s release of Windows Server 2016, Docker is now their effective container standard. In this demo heavy session, we will run through what containers are, how to get started with Docker and “spinning up” SQL Server environments with minimal fuss and how you can adapt these or indeed your own VM images to create your own bespoke SQL Server development and testing environments.

Short Break

11:05 | Tune the query, not the plan | Kev Riley @kevriley

Session Duration: 1 hour
Session Details: Execution plans are a great resource when trying to tune a query, but often we get hung up on trying to fix what we consider to be ‘bad’ operators, for example table scans vs clustered index scans; scans vs seeks; sort operations. In this session we will take a look at some misconceptions, step through what SQL Server is doing and see if we are actually improving the performance when change the plan to have ‘better’ operators.

About Kevin: Kevan Riley (MCSE: Data Management and Analytics) has been working with SQL Server since 1999 in a variety of DBA and DB developer roles. He now works as a freelance SQL Server Consultant in the UK and is no more happier than when knee-deep in performance tuning. He can be often found contributing at and getting involved with the SQL community at UK user groups, SQL Saturdays, SQLBits and SQL Relay.

Short Break

12:10 | Lightning Talks | Various Speakers

Session Duration: 1 hour mixed short talks
Session Details: We have a great mixture of short talks lined up on auto scaling Web and SQL Servers in Azure, Power BI, A ML Predictive analysis demo, and Graph Databases on SQL 2017 (using Docker).

13:10 | Gravy Break
Yep, we’re getting some delicious grub from The Brewery Tap.

13:50 | Common issues from the field | Phil Grayson @databoffin

Session Duration: 30 Minutes

Short Break

14:25 | SQL Server Operations Studio | Martin Croft @martincroft

Session Duration: 45 Minutes
Session Details: Anything that can make my job easier and make me more productive I am interested in. There are a lot of different tools out there for the data professional to make their life easier. Microsoft recently released in preview SQL Operations Studio, a cross-platform (Azure, Mac OS, Linux) open source platform for Developers and DBAs. Even in its infancy, it’s on its had multiple releases, with new features added monthly this is starting to add things that are missing from likes of SSMS. I will cover what it offers, what you can do with it currently. The session will be demo-rich with information that might make your life easier ( at work)

About Martin: Martin Croft is a time served SQL developer / DBA contractor / consultant who has worked with SQL Server since SQL 6.5 all the way through to SQL 2017, having attending the user groups for many years he wanted to (try) and give something back for all the things he’s have picked up from the sessions he’s seen and share things people find useful (hopefully). Martin is a co-organiser of the Manchester SQL PASS Usergroup and SQLSaturday Manchester.

Short Break

15:15 | A voyage through test environments | Dan Thompson @leedsdba

Session Duration: 45 Minutes
Session Details: A voyage through test environments! An introduction to some of the challenges we’ve found over the last couple of years when building and refreshing test environments for an expanding business. The evolution of the processes and tools we have used to become more efficient as a team and how we’ve implemented standards. Environment builds and refreshes using Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager, PowerShell -using dbatools (community open-source) and dbastack (our custom solution).

Dan Thompson (MSCE: 2012 Data Platform) has been a data platform professional for over 10 years, working in development and infrastructure, but typically as a DBA. More recently he manages a team of skilled DBAs at Jet2 based in Leeds City Centre. Having attended SQLBits / Relay / UGs in the past, Dan is keen to promote the great things that happen at Jet2 as well as give something back to a truly amazing community.

16:00 | Off t’Pub
Pub choice will depend on the weather