Category: PASS General
(Condensed from my Community Pollination blog – read the full version here.)
If you are part of the SQL Universe, you know that SQLSaturday #100 was held in São Paulo, Brazil, a week ago. I can hardly put into words just how epic this event was and how thrilled I am that I was able to be there to witness not just SQLSat 100, but the very first of these events to take place in Brazil.
Our journey began on Thanksgiving Day (Rodney luckily had enough SkyMiles to go with me and present), and we arrived in São Paulo Friday mid-morning. We were greeted at the airport by two of the main SQLSaturday event organizers, Felipe Ferreira [blog|twitter] and Laerte Junior Poltronieri [blog|twitter].
These two gentlemen have been putting up with my twitter “pushing and prodding” to host a SQLSaturday since February. When I saw their official event request come through in July, the very month I began working for PASS, it was like the icing on the cake for me! I don’t think they really believed at first that a SQLSaturday could happen in Brazil, but these guys and energetic volunteer Andressa Martins [blog|twitter] totally brought it! They had a lot of support from Microsoft Brasil’s João Nunes and Viviane Ribeiro [blog|twitter], as well as expert speakers from all over this large country, several of whom are PASS user group leaders. Right away you could sense that there is a strong SQL community across Brazil, and it was wonderful to see them all supporting each other at this event!
The event had a cap of 300 attendees, which it reached within the first month of being posted. The wait list was over 200 by the day of the event, and around 250 people attended. The event team released 40 from the wait list, but hadn’t forecasted what the drop-off rate would be. They plan to make sure to release more for their next event – a good lesson learned for all of us.
Bright and early Saturday, we headed to the event venue at Microsoft’s offices, which were donated as part of their sponsorship. The event was held on the 31st floor, making this not only the first SQLSaturday in Brazil, but at least for me, the highest one! The event came staffed with Microsoft employees handling the check-in process, while the volunteers filled nice backpacks donated by sponsor Ka Solution with swag. In addition to Ka Solution and PASS, SQLSaturday Brazil sponsors included SolidQ, Mainwork (a Confio partner), RedGate, and SQLSentry. It was nice to see the continued support of these companies for a SQLSaturday outside the US.
The line of registrants quickly grew very long, snaking from the bottom floor (where they were checked through security) up to the 31st floor, and all the way down the hallway, past the elevators. The SQLSaturday opened with a keynote from Microsoft and remarks from the organizers – all in Portuguese. The event had three tracks totaling 18 sessions, with two coffee breaks/delicious snacks and sub combos for lunch. (Personal lesson learned: Do not try to drink Nespresso by the gallons, like you do coffee in the states!)
The day closed with sponsor raffles and end-of-day announcements. When it was my turn to talk about PASS, I started to ask the attendees if they wanted to see more of these events in Brazil – and before I could get the words out, they were all cheering and clapping. Needless to say, we have several conversations going on now with leaders and volunteers to host several more SQLSaturdays in Brazil. My guess is that a country its size could easily sustain 4 or 5 events a year.
The after-event get together featured some of the most amazing food ever and lots of cold beverages, supplied by João Nunes. Besides all the great conversation, we enjoyed entertainment by a Big Band – full on with saxophones, trombones, and drums! The room filled with cheers to the end of a very successful SQLSaturday and thanks for PASS’s support in helping to bring this event to Brazil.
Below are just a few links to the many blogs and photos from this event. You can find more by searching for the #sqlsat100 hashtag on Twitter (this event has more post-event tweets than I’ve seen for any other SQLSaturday – the buzz is still going strong).
By Sri Sridharan
(Reposted from Sri's SQL Rocks blog)
On behalf the NTSSUG Board and PASS, Erin Welker (Blog|Twitter) and I are super excited to announce that the Call for Speakers for PASS SQLRally 2012 is now open.
As part of the Program Committee for SQLRally 2012, Erin and I have been working hard along with the PASS HQ team (Marcella, Anika, and Alison) for the last 8 weeks. We have made some minor tweaks from what happened in Orlando and hope this is received well by the community.
1. We will have sessions between 60-75min. How many of 60 and 75 min sessions is something that is still in the works. This was a big ask by many speakers in their feedback, and we are glad to do something about it.
2. Approximately 75% of the sessions will be selected by the Program Committee, and only 25% will be out for voting. We mainly did this is to make it simpler and easier from a process standpoint.
3. Finally, I know many of you personally asked me to allow 2011 Summit pre-con speakers to be allowed to speak at SQLRally 2012 – Dallas, and I was really hoping to be able to do something about it. As I came to understand during this process, one of the goals for SQLRally is to develop new speakers and specifically the pre-con speaker pool. I am not 100% sold with this approach since I could see myself go either way. At this point, this is a non-negotiable item to the host city. So, the rule to not allow a prior year Summit pre-con speaker to deliver a pre-con at SQLRally remains. We still encourage all Summit pre-con speakers to submit for regular sessions.
Hopefully the community likes the tweaks we have made in SQLRally Dallas 2012.
By Allen Kinsel
(Reposted from Allen's blog)
Every year after the Summit the results of the thousands of evaluations are tabulated. It seems every year the only question I hear after the summit is “when are the evaluations coming out?” Well dear reader I’m happy to say, that day is today. First id like to point out that this year we had well over 13000 unique session evaluations which is an increase of about 30% over 2010.
Online Evaluations produce unexpected results
One interesting thing I noticed in this years online evals was that we received evals for all sorts of “events” that happened at the Summit. Normally, we only get them for sessions but because of the way the session scheduler was automated and integrated into the session eval forms, we actually received evals on many other events that took place at the summit other than regular sessions. Receiving candid feedback on these events was quite refreshing and will be worked back into next years similar events.
Moving into the 21st century
This year since we offered online evaluations as well as paper evaluations I was interested to see what the turnout would be and while the amount of paper vs online evaluations entered was more lopsided towards paper than I’d have liked. I believe that overall they were well used and next year we plan on only having online session evals. I expect that if the room monitors push the online evals in the same manner they pushed the paper this year that we’ll get enough evals next year for this to be an effective option. The real benefit other than costs of entering paper evals and killing trees is that if all of the evals come in a digital form I would see no reason that they shouldn’t be ready either real time or within a week or 2 from the end of the event but, Ill leave those details to next years Board member who's in charge of the Summit.
Without Further ado, Here’s the link to the 2011 Summit top overall sessions.
The top sessions were calculated by averaging all of the evaluation answers then we excluded results if there were less than 20 evaluations or 20 attendees.
Also, if you were a speaker, You can log into the PASS Speaker portal site and get your full evaluation results (and the overall event scores) from the following link
Please join me again in congratulating all of the speakers from this years Summit, without them and their excellent contributions our community wouldnt be the same.
Edited-> I had the wrong filter criteria on our exclusion of sessions from the top list specification. I stated we excluded if there were less than 10 evals and 10 attendees when the number was 15 each, I apologize for my fading memory.
A week into campaigning and voting for three open seats on the PASS Board of Directors and PASS members are rocking the vote. It’s been great to see all the “I voted” messages on Twitter and the Elections Forums discussions on communications and transparency, PASS Summit locations, directors and pre-cons, and more. Thanks for getting involved!
Individual voting links have been emailed to all PASS members in good standing as of June 1, 2011. If you are eligible but did not receive a ballot, please contact PASS HQ.
Voting ends Dec. 20, so if you haven’t voted yet, there’s still time to learn more about the candidates and submit your choices. Visit the Candidate Campaign Space to learn more about the six candidates running for the 2-year Board terms:
- Adam Jorgensen
- Rob Farley
- Denise McInerney
- Geoff Hiten
- Kendal Van Dyke
- Sri Sridharan.
Even if you’re a more recent member of PASS, you too can have your say in this year’s elections. Go to the Candidate Forums to ask the candidates questions or simply have your say. Elections season is a great time for healthy debate on the future of PASS.
For more information about the elections, see the 2011 PASS Elections site. And watch the Dec. 28 Connector for elections results. Good luck to all the candidates, and happy voting!
PASS is pleased to announce three new board members for the 2012/2013 term in what was a record-setting elections season. Adam Jorgensen of Pragmatic Works Consulting, Denise McInerney of Intuit, and Rob Farley of LobsterPot Solutions and a current International Advisor to the board were the top vote-getters in a competitive race for three open seats on the PASS Board of Directors.
The election proved that every vote counts, with only 68 votes separating the top three candidates and just 177 votes between third and fourth places:
1. Adam Jorgensen – 1,026
2. Denise McInerney – 990
3. Rob Farley – 958
4. Sri Sridharan – 781
5. Kendal Van Dyke – 762
6. Geoff Hiten – 526
A record 1,951 community members across 66 countries voted in the 2-week election, casting a total of 5,043 votes. That’s 867 more voters and 2,247 more votes than in 2010, and more than three times the number of voters who participated in 2009 (576). And for those who may think the election is decided in the first 2 days, 904 votes were cast in the first 2 days of voting and 832 in the last 2 days, with the candidate standings actually changing from the midpoint of the election to the final results.
Newly elected board members will officially begin serving their term on January 1, 2012. For more information about the candidates and the elections process, see the 2011 PASS Elections site.
Congratulations and thanks to all the candidates for an energetic and tightly fought race. And thanks to everyone who asked a question in the candidate forums, blogged and tweeted about the elections, and helped shape the future of PASS by voting.
As PASS continues to grow, it will need more and more great individuals to step up and lead. If you are interested in starting your own leadership journey, contact your local PASS Chapter or PASS HQ for opportunities to volunteer. After all, the 2012 elections will be here before you know it!
Jennifer Moser, Microsoft SQL Server Senior Marketing Manager recently spoke with PASS Marketing Vice President Rick Heiges about the latest release of Microsoft SQL Server 2012.
Rick: I hear you just released SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate – what’s the scoop?
Jennifer: Building on our announcement at the PASS Summit 2011 in early October, we are excited to announce the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC). SQL Server 2012 RC is the first release which is feature complete and represents an exciting milestone for customers and partners looking to experience the full value of SQL Server 2012.
Rick: So, what’s in the Release Candidate?
Jennifer: We’re happy to share that SQL Server 2012 RC is a production quality release providing:
- Greater availability. Deliver the required 9s and data protection with AlwaysOn, with added functionality over CTP3 that allows customers to experience multiple, readable secondaries for distributed scale of reporting and backup workloads and support for FileTable and FILESTREAM which brings first-class HA to complex data types.
- Blazing-fast performance. More effectively govern performance in multi-tenancy environments like private cloud. Resource Governor enhancements include support for 64 resource pools, greater CPU usage control, and resource pool affinity for partitioning of physical resources and predictable resource allocation.
- Rapid data exploration. Empower end users with new insights through rapid data exploration and visualization. Discover new insights at the speed of thought with more feature/functionality in Power View, the highly interactive, familiar browser-based data exploration, visualization, and presentation experience for end users.
- Credible, consistent data. In addition to CTP3 functionality delivered for Data Quality Services and Master Data Services, customers can better support heterogeneous data within Data Warehouses through new Change Data Capture (CDC) support for Oracle.
- Optimized productivity. Optimize IT and developer productivity across server and cloud with the new SQL Server Data Tools, a unified development experience for database and business intelligence projects, and cloud-ready capabilities within SQL Server Management Studio for snapshot backups to the Windows Azure Platform. Additionally, SQL Server 2012 offers a new version of Express – LocalDB. SQL Express LocalDB is a lightweight version of Express with all its programmability features, yet runs in user mode with a fast, zero-configuration installation and short list of pre-requisites.
Rick: That sounds good, but should I be testing with this release or actually using it?
Jennifer: Today, you can download, preview and deploy the full marquee capabilities being delivered in SQL Server 2012.RC is a production quality release that includes access to upgrade and migration tools like Upgrade Advisor, Distributed Replay and SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA). Upgrade Advisor and Distributed Replay allow you to perform thorough analysis and testing of your current SQL Server applications before upgrading so you know what to expect. You can also use SSMA to automate migrate non-SQL Server databases to SQL Server 2012.
Download SQL Server 2012 RC today here: www.microsoft.com/sqlserver.
For my first editorial as PASS President, I want to take a moment to thank all of you who voted in our Board elections in December and encourage you to get even more involved in your organization in this new year. It was awesome to see the excitement generated by a phenomenal slate of candidates and by wide-ranging community discussion about the biggest issues and opportunities facing our organization. I challenge all of us to translate that energy into creative solutions to help SQL Server professionals around the world connect, share, and learn. With your help, 2012 is going to be a great year for PASS!
One of the first tasks for the President each year is to assign Board members to portfolios, and I’m excited to announce this year’s portfolio leaders. The portfolios for members of the Executive Committee were determined when the Board elected them last June. Douglas McDowell will serve as Executive Vice President, Finance, and Thomas LaRock will serve as Vice President, Marketing. Rushabh Mehta moves to the role of Immediate Past President. These terms started Jan. 1 and run for 2 years.
Directors-At-Large are typically assigned a portfolio for a calendar year, although sometimes Board members will head the same portfolio for 2 years. This approach works best with the natural Board turnover and matching the desires of Board members with the needs of the organization.
This year, we have only one returning At-Large Director, Allen Kinsel, who is taking over the Chapters portfolio. Allen previously headed the Summit Program committee, and his experience leading a large volunteer team will be invaluable in the Chapters area.
Our three newly elected Board members – Adam Jorgensen, Denise McInerney, and Rob Farley – have also received their portfolio assignments. Adam will lead the Summit Program portfolio, putting his previous 2 years of experience on the Program Committee and service in two other portfolios to great use. Adam’s experience and combined technical and business skills will be central to the continued expansion of our Summit educational offerings.
Denise will take over the Virtual Chapters portfolio. Denise was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Women in Technology (WIT) Virtual Chapter and the growth of its leadership team, and I’m excited to bring her experience to all our Virtual Chapters.
And Rob will lead the 24 Hours of PASS portfolio, heading up our largest online events program and one of our greatest opportunities to reach more members. PASS has a tremendous opportunity to expand its offering of local-language events that can touch all parts of the globe. Rob’s drive and experience organizing events and volunteers will really shine in this portfolio.
Our last portfolio, the popular PASS SQLSaturday events program, will be filled when the Board appoints someone to fill one of two empty Board seats later this month.
I’m honored to be working with a Board that has more experience and depth than any I can remember. And I’m looking forward to this team and our army of volunteers accomplishing great things for PASS and the SQL Server community this year.
Please join me in congratulating James Rowland Jones and Kendal Van Dyke on their appointments to the PASS Board.
James is a member of the SQLBits organizing committee, a very successful SQL Server event program based in the UK, and has been an international advisor to the PASS Board since August 2011. His approach to problem solving and well thought out ideas and discussions have been a valuable asset to the Board. Kendal is a passionate PASS volunteer and leader of the MagicPASS Chapter based in Orlando, FL. who has demonstrated thoughtful and persuasive arguments around PASS governance issues.
For those of you wondering how and why these two appointments were made to the PASS Board – read on!
PASS Board members that are elected to at-large positions serve two year terms. If they aren’t able to complete their term the bylaws state these seats are “filled, by a majority vote of the Board of Directors, for the unexpired term.” Prior to a June 2009 bylaw change these vacated seats with unexpired terms were filled by Presidential appointment.
The current process to fill vacated seats is simple and PASS Board Directors’ votes are publicly recorded. The Directors get to vote for the people who they feel will best serve the organization. It’s important to note that these appointments require a majority vote of the Board.
Board seats usually come available through resignation or a Board member moving to the Executive Committee. As of January 1st, Douglas McDowell moved to the Executive Vice-President of Finance role by Board election and Andy Warren resigned his seat. This means there were two Board seats to fill with terms expiring at the end of 2012.
While the President no longer appoints Directors, they do to put forward candidates. I did this in consultation with the Board in hopes of a smooth appointment process.
In this case, I focused on choosing the best individuals from among our membership to fill these slots. I based my decision on several factors: personal experience, whether the individuals stood for election, Nomination Committee rankings, and vote totals during the election. I also considered what they might be doing once on the Board. For example, we have an opening in the SQL Saturday portfolio that would be nice to fill without shuffling or doubling up. I also wanted to consider people from outside North America. Much of the growth for PASS over the next few years will be international and I wanted to see if we could find someone to help facilitate that growth.
I put forward James Rowland-Jones and Kendal Van Dyke as my recommended candidates. The Board discussed the appointment selections at length. We discussed a variety of potential candidates, including the two I put forward. We looked at several approaches for choosing candidates including appointing the two best people we knew, selecting the next highest vote getters in the recent election, choosing based on portfolio need and appointing based on geographic region. A portion of the discussion was placed under NDA in order to candidly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate and the Nominating Committee information. It didn’t seem appropriate to discuss individuals’ strengths and weaknesses in the public minutes– especially since some of those individuals may not have known they were even being considered. In the end the motion passed 11 to 1 to bring on James and Kendal.
I am confident that these individuals will serve PASS and its membership effectively. Our meeting minutes will be published in a week or two. Please feel free to drop me a line with any comments or feedback, or simply comment on this post.
Recently the PASS Board of Directors confirmed the appointments of James Rowland-Jones and Kendal Van Dyke to serve the remainder of one year terms that had been left vacated. This action has caused some members of the PASS community to question the methods in which members to the Board are appointed.
The current process is as follows: The President puts forth a recommendation, the Board discusses, and, the entire Board votes. Typically the pool of candidates for an appointed seat comes from the candidates that were not elected and this year we also had the opportunity to consider a current advisor (Rowland-Jones) to the Board as a candidate, an option not available previously.
It is not the case – as some community members have stated in the last couple of days – that the next highest vote getter in the PASS election is automatically asked to serve for an appointed Board seat. I know this because in 2007 I fell 13 votes short of winning a seat in the general election and was not asked to serve a vacant seat for 2008. That honor went to Pat Wright. I was disappointed, to say the least, but I knew it was the right thing for PASS. Appointments are chosen in order to give the Board the best combination of skills to be successful in the coming year. That was true in 2007, and it is true today.
For these most recent appointments, the Board had thoughtful discussions and gave careful consideration to several potential candidates and the vote was 11:1 to appoint James and Kendal. This was not an easy choice for the Board to make. As is often the case, the hardest thing to do is also the right thing to do. And this was the right decision for the upcoming year.
The process for selecting the appointments used to be done solely at the discretion of the President. It was only recently that the bylaws were altered–based on community feedback–to have it go before the Board as a voting matter. In acknowledgement of some of the questions and concerns we’ve been hearing, I will ensure that some time be set aside during the next Board meeting (in two weeks, in Seattle) to discuss a method or process to properly address community concerns over Board decisions – maybe we can look at some type of PASS Ombudsman role to fill that need. Happy to hear about any other suggestions you may have. Leave comments below or email me your thoughts at Thomas.LaRock@sqlpass.org.
The blog post below is written by James Rowland-Jones (JRJ) in response to feedback surrounding the recent board appointments. The post reflects his personal views.
In the Autumn of 2011 I started several journeys. One of them was to be invited to support and share my knowledge of the international community with PASS. As a Board Advisor I picked up roles for governance, chapters and steering sub-committees reporting into the “Global Growth” portfolio. This work didn’t just constrain itself to international endeavours either I also had to get to know PASS as an organisation. My role in the community to date has not been related to PASS at all. SQLBits has historically been my primary focus for community endeavour. Speaking of which I also had to play my part in the successful execution of SQLBits 9 and in parallel we also launched plans for SQLBits X. This has been no small undertaking. If you haven’t seen we have worked closely with the local Microsoft UK subsidiary and Microsoft Corp to secure SQLBits as the UK Technical Launch event for SQL Server 2012 – a feat that the whole organising committee can feel rightly proud of.
Before I knew it the elections were upon us. I had a decision to make. It felt very close. We really needed to kick-start the Global Growth portfolio and I was still feeling my way into my position as Board Advisor. I don’t think we had fully bottomed out the scale of the task before us when the elections came around nor the significance of the changes. SQLBits was also taking up an inordinate amount of time and then that meddlesome day job was also getting in the way.
Therefore to summarise, I did not run for election because I simply would not have been able to do the process justice. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly. I was delighted though that Rob, a seasoned PASS veteran, ran from the pool of Board Advisors and I supported his submission. Raoul clearly could not run as it would have breached PASS bye-laws had he been successful. It was also wonderful to see the dramatic increase in interest in the PASS board elections. As has been pointed out elsewhere it was an outstanding success and I congratulate all who were involved in that process.
When Bill approached me he said that he wanted to recommend the appointment of a Director to manage the Global Growth portfolio. I thought he was making the right strategic choice. Here’s why and note this is not about me but it is all about the role.
PASS is investing in Global Growth. It’s a strategic bet. The interest in the SQL Server Community internationally has never been higher and PASS needs to make the most of this. PASS needs to change to embrace it’s wider responsibilities – it’s an evolutionary step. My role to date has been to advise the Global Growth Portfolio and its sub-committees on what that future shape might be. As time has gone on it has become clear to me that my fellow international advisors and I are doing a lot more than advising. We are shaping the international agenda for PASS. We are spending money on it. There will be budget exceptions and there will be change – significant change. Someone needs to be accountable for that. As a Board Advisor I am not accountable – I am a Teflon coated consultant. Something needed to change and I am glad that Bill spotted this.
I therefore wholeheartedly support Bill’s desire to have a board director owning the international agenda. There is a job to do.
Now it is true to say that Bill could have appointed Rob, my fellow Board Advisor and now Director-at-large, to the portfolio of Global Growth. He was an elected official and had Global Growth experience. However, in my view, he chose instead to make another strategic choice. 24HOP is an international event – one that Rob has been committed to for a long time. It’s a sensible choice as it also aligns to Rob’s work to date with the International Events sub-committee within Global Growth. I am absolutely certain that Rob will be a huge success in this position and to me makes a very positive statement from the President about his commitment to the international community.
I’d like to close by commenting on why I decided to say yes and accept Bill’s nomination.
I believe that re-structuring PASS needs to start in 2012. I personally don’t believe it can wait for another election. The scale of the task before us is really quite significant. I have already invested over three months of time and energy into the international role. I know a lot more about this process now than I did back in August / September when this journey started. By accepting this appointment there was an opportunity to cement the global growth portfolio at Board level and allow us to move forward with accountability this year. Did I realise that there would be this need back when the election nominations first were announced? No – not in this timescale. You only need to look at the number of planned international SQL Saturday events to see that we cannot wait. The time to change is now. My personal view was that this is more of an extension of what I was already delivering for PASS at Board level. Adding someone else in would have in my view arrested our progress and also added cost – and waste - to the PASS organisation. Every Board member added, be it advisor or director, increases cost to the PASS organisation. In this instance we would have basically been doubling up. Remember the vacant slot I have been asked to fill is the Director for Global Growth. It is not a generic Director-at-large position. It was also at the Board’s discretion to fill the position or not. The Board did not have to fill them – they chose to. However, had someone else had been chosen to fill this role then this is what they would have been charged with doing.
That said, I do understand the concern amongst the community for appointing someone who did not go through the election process. Let me say that I think the concern is valid and with hindsight this process might have been easier had I stood for election in the first place. I don’t think anyone is doubting that. However, I have been vetted by your board for the last three months whilst doing the job of international Board Advisor. I can’t think of a more thorough interview. Therefore I do not believe that leaves either me or PASS either ethically or morally bankrupt and I certainly don’t believe that I have usurped anyone else’s right to be on the Board. Look at what has materially changed for me and for PASS. I now have a vote on the board and I am now directly accountable for the successful delivery of the Global Growth Portfolio. Costs to PASS are the same. My investment in PASS has increased. Accountability in place. Velocity protected. I therefore considered this to be a sound decision for all involved and I do not regret the decision to accept.
This year is an exciting year. In 2012 we have a new version of SQL Server containing some of the most exciting changes we’ve seen since 2005. We will also be making some strategic changes within PASS to help us scale this community organisation internationally. I look forward to engaging with you throughout this process and my only ask would be that you support the effort PASS is making to scale it’s reach so we can help support the international SQL Server community. You can help. If you want to have your say then do please feel free to contact me at JRJ@sqlpass.org. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you in the year ahead.