Did not quite manage to do a live update after yesterday but I am only a day behind which is good for me :-)

Yesterday was a going to be a full day in the Microsoft UK Reading Office, known by the locals as TVP(Thames Valley Park)

I was going to start by meeting some of my contacts and hosts from the SQL Server Specialist Team and the Developer Evangelism Team but unfortunately there was a large train accident in the area over the weekend that closed the line, this meant there were large traffic jams getting into TVP (this was the first time I have ever seen this in the 4 years I have been visiting the office) luckily all my contacts were also late so no guilt on my part at all.

The first meeting was a 2 hr(that turned in to 3) meeting with a partner who is getting ready to make a switch to SQL2005 for their BI platform, it was a good meeting, they had a bunch of questions and we spent time reviewing their arcitecture, going over some best practices and talking about all the new opportunities that SQL 2005 enables, in this case these were especially around the UDM and SQL Server Integration Services, great way to start the day.

After a brief lunch(the UK cafe is VERY cheap and the selection is better than I remember), I started preparing for a meeting with the UK Ascend Customers. Ascend is a program we are running for Yukon readiness, it started out as an ISV thing but we have expanded it in the last year and it has been very popular. Reed has been blogging about his trg experiences as part of Ascend.

This meeting was a 2 hr meeting that ran somewhat long, there were a series of tough questions that started the meeting but we just went with the flow on topics, I polled the audience on concerns and favourite features for SQL2005, it was very interesting to see the responses from the different customers in terms of focus. I did a series of demos as part of the session, including but not limited to;

Report Builder(formerly known as ActiveViews)

Express Manager(see it does actually exist!)

SQliMail

SQL Service Broker

After the Ascend meeting I spent time with the MS UK SQL folks from the different groups in MCS, PSS, Sales etc and talked about the status of SQL2k and SQL2005, some of the work they are doing for readiness I also did the demo for ReportBuilder again(seems popular <g>)

The evening event was the UK SQL Server user group meeting, run by SQL MVP Tony(Old man) Rogerson, this was 3 hrs with basically no agenda, I ended up doing random QA for the first 1hr, then we had a quick break before launching into demos which included; ReportBuilder(again), Express Manager(including showing Tonys most requested feature, the -nosplash option), Service Broker, SQLiMail(this lead to a lot of conversation), Dynamic Management Views and the Management Resource Kit thats built on top of the dynamic management views.

Overall the session seemed to go down well despite me not having a firm agenda, if you didn't like the session feel free to post here and we can adjust for next time. Of course the favorite part of the user group meeting for me is the snacks that MS UK provides at the beginning, a quick Sausage, egg or Bacon buttie really helps the speaking voice!