My first SQL Server presentation – database mirroring w/ Transparent Data Encryption

I’ve finally cut my teeth on a technical, public presentation on SQL Server.

This wasn’t explaining to a bunch of co-workers and managers about the latest features in SQL Server 2012.  It wasn’t sharing my understanding of whatever piece of Scripture we were studying in church.  It wasn’t addressing a group of parents about our team’s achievements over the last season.  This was a group of my peers who potentially knew as much or more about the subject matter and, being in IT, we’re probably not afraid to let me know when I was wrong.

My first mistake: the topic for the presentation was way too large, Database mirroring with Transparent Data Encryption.  I chose the subject because I was familiar with the technical aspects and figured that I could spin it as ‘High Availability and passing an audit at the same time’.  I had already done it in my environments so felt comfortable presenting…my relaxed demeanor was one area I received compliments.

The day of the presentation I discovered that the computer I had brought from home had suffered a failure. I was using it, a cross-over cable and my laptop to simulate server to server communication (for the mirroring).  I scrambled to get mirroring working between two instances on my laptop to no avail (some of you saw my #SQLHELP tweet).  The site where the presentation was being held did not offer WiFi, but I had a cellular dongal (borrowed from wife) and could remote into my test servers at work.  This was a last resort; it also meant a live demo.

I arrived early and tested my cell connection: 100% strong with full bars.  Sweet, one potential speed bump behind me.  We went through our normal meeting announcements and then it was my turn…I now had the Conch.  A quick prayer to the DemoGods and I was off and running.

I had way too many windows open.  My font size was too small.  I switched context between servers often. The code was not fully commented.  The last piece of the demonstration failed.


I was relaxed throughout.  I was knowledgeable about the subject.  I kept consistent eye contact with my audience.  I engaged the audience regularly.

For what I had to overcome, it turned out fairly well.  The feedback I received was constructive and positive which is a testament to our Sacramento user group.  It gave me the confidence to want to do another.

I’m looking forward to my next opportunity…this time I’ll choose a topic that can be explained in 100 words or less.

Check out for my code and slide deck.

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