IT/Dev Connections 2016 Speaker Highlight: Steve Jones

IT/Dev Connections 2016 Speaker Highlight: Steve Jones

Part of an ongoing series, we're highlighting the excellent speakers we have handpicked to present phenomenal and extremely valuable content at the IT/Dev Connections conference. Want more? Get the Insider’s Scoop About IT/Dev Connections 2016 on September 8!

Today's speaker highlight is Steve Jones.

Steve's IT/Dev Connection sessions:

·       Who’s Touching My Database?

·       End to End Always Encrypted in SQL Server 2016

·       Bringing DevOps to the Database


Recently, we asked Steve to give us a little information about himself. Here's what he shared:


ITDC: Give us a brief introduction to you.

Steve: I’m Steve Jones, editor and founder of SQLServerCentral. I’ve been a SQL Server DBA and Developer since 1991, initially working with the platform on OS/2. That wasn’t a great experience, as we had a high volume application at a nuclear power plant that wasn’t stable on OS/2. Myself the staff baby-sat the database server 24/7, rebooting it a dozen times a day. We were thrilled to migrate to Windows 3.1 Advanced Server and get some sleep.

I live in Colorado on a working horse ranch, where my wife teaches people and trains horses. I don’t do it often outside of work, but I have been known to shovel my share of manure. At work, well, let’s not talk about that.


ITDC: Describe the sessions you are presenting and why you feel the topic is important.

Steve: I’ve got three sessions at IT/DevConnections this year.

The first is “Who’s Touching My Database?” This covers some of the ways in which you can audit activity on your system. I’ve worked in a few environments where security was taken very seriously and auditing was critical to proving we were properly managing our systems. These days I slowly see the importance of security and auditing growing to all industries, becoming more and more important. I hope to showcase the flexibility and possibilities (As well as drawbacks) of tracking activity on your database servers.

My second session is also security related. I’m a fan of, and fascinated by, encryption. I was an early adopter of PGP in the first part of the 1990s and I’ve continued to use and experiment with encryption. I loved seeing encryption being natively built into SQL Server 2005 (and beyond), but the addition of Always Encrypted in Azure SQL and SQL Server 2016 really intrigued me. In fact, I think many people were very excited about this feature. In End to End Always Encrypted in SQL Server 2016, I cover the detailed workings and setup of the feature and how it can be included in your applications. There’s a lot to think about with encryption features, and I hope to both inform attendees as well as ensure they have a healthy respect for the limitations.

My last session is the most interesting one to me. It’s Bringing DevOps to the Database, and is designed to show how many of the software development processes that we take for granted with .NET, Java, and other front end applications can be applied to the database. This has been a focus of mine as an evangelist for Redgate Software, and I’ve found a number of ways that you can adopt common, best practice software engineering in the database development process.


ITDC: What should attendees expect to be able to take away from your sessions?

Steve: In each of my sessions, I’m hoping to give attendees ideas, inspiration, and insight into some feature or idea. For auditing,  I want people to understand the various options they have, as well as the potential ways in which these options may or may not work for you. The same thing with encryption. There are specific items to be concerned about, or be aware of. For the DevOps talk, I’m hoping to really inspire developers and DBAs to begin treating the database like their other code, bring some order and automation to the deployment process, and remove most of the stress of making changes to database objects.


ITDC: What is your primary reason to be excited about IT/Dev Connections?

Steve: I love the multi-technology conferences because I get the chance to see and talk about a variety of different platforms. Typically, I spend a lot of time on the SQL Server platform and talk to data professionals, but I always learn something and get insight from talking with fellow speakers and attendees that work in ASP, or C#, or Windows. I both learn that many things are similar between the technologies, but there are always some tips and tricks that help me or my customers. Plus, it’s Las Vegas. I’m not a gambler, but I enjoy the comedy shows and I’m hoping to get out one night and laugh a bit.


ITDC: What is the one key technology you believe is changing the technology industry right now?

Steve: AI and Bots. I wasn’t sold on this at first, thinking that too many of the bots I’ve seen doing automated responses would fail the simplest Turing test. However, as I’ve looked at some of the ways the technology is growing and changing, with better and better machine learning algorithms, I think this is an area that will grow in the next decade. I was especially impressed with the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge where software tried to find and patch security issues. I expect to see more and more of that in the future.


ITDC: Assuming attendees want to know, what’s your favorite, non-technical hobby or pastime? What’s one thing that totally irks you.

Steve: I have a few, which vary depending on season in Colorado. I’ve been a regular runner, and took the Zuckerberg Challenge this year to run 365 miles, a mile a day. I ran for 199 consecutive days before a travel snafu caused me to skip a day. I’m looking forward to finishing out the year. Around that, I snowboard regularly in the winter (25+ days), and am involved with youth volleyball. My daughter plays competitively and since she’s starting to drive, and not needing me to get her to practice, I’m looking forward to coaching 15-year olds in the 2017 spring season.



IT/Dev Connections runs from October 10 – October 13, at the ARIA Resort in Las Vegas. IT/Dev Connections has been designed specifically for IT, DevOps, and Developers. You can read all about what IT/Dev Connections offers you HERE.

And, there's still time to register!  Here's some important resources to check out:


Topic Tracks

Full Sessions Catalog

Pre-conference Workshops

Travel and Lodging Information


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