Category: PASS General

PASS Summit: Already Setting Records

June 24, 2014  Congratulations to all the community speakers selected for PASS Summit 2014, and thanks to everyone who submitted abstracts in a record-breaking year! We had the most Summit submissions ever, with 943 abstracts submitted for the 144 community session slots in this year's program.

On behalf of the Program Team, I want to share how much we appreciate the SQL Server community’s ever-growing support in helping build the biggest and best educational program for SQL Server and BI professionals.

Thank You, Program Committee Volunteers
I would like to thank all of this year’s 88 Summit Program Committee volunteers for their dedication and hard work in the session review, scoring, rating, and selection process. The team reviewed all the 943 abstracts submitted by 335 speakers from around the world.

I also want to give a special thank you to this year's Program Managers, Lance Harra and Melissa Coates, who led the Program Committee through all phases of the selection process and spent countless hours analyzing and constructing a well-balanced conference program. Finally, a huge thanks to Marcella McKeown and Emilija Dufresne at PASS HQ – invaluable members of the Program Team who support and help coordinate and execute all program-related functions.

Behind the Scenes: How Are Sessions Selected?
The program-selection process is constantly being fine-tuned and improved based on lessons learned and feedback from each event. We welcome and encourage feedback and look forward to continuing to enhance our processes for a fair and objective approach that ensures a well-balanced program. Here’s a high-level overview of how Summit sessions are selected:

    • Reviewing Abstracts, Speakers, PPTs: Program Committee volunteers are assigned to one of three teams:
      • Abstract Review – Abstract Review volunteers work in sub-teams that match the program’s educational tracks, with each team reviewing and ranking abstracts in its track. The abstract review teams do not know which speakers submitted which abstracts; this "blind rating" is done to remove any favoritism in the scoring process, creating an even playing field for both new and seasoned speakers.
      • Speaker Review – This team separately reviews speaker credentials, experience, and past attendee feedback to help select a slate of quality presenters.
      • PowerPoint Review – After sessions are selected for Summit, the PowerPoint Review teams take over, reviewing speakers’ presentations, including verifying completeness, ensuring that required slides are included, and doing final spelling/grammar checks.
    • Building the Program: When the Abstract and Speaker Review teams are finished, the program managers collect all the scores and ratings and analyze the top sessions from each track to fill the community session slots. Key factors in this analysis phase include:
      • Topic Balance – The goals are to ensure that sessions within each track are inclusive and representative of the track’s key topics and to avoid duplication.
      • Level Balance – We want to ensure a good mix of skill levels for beginners through experts.
      • Speaker Balance – We strive for a lineup that includes both established expert speakers and rising stars. To offer a good variety of speakers, we limit the number of general sessions to two per presenter.
    • Partnering with Microsoft: With the community sessions selected, our next step now is to open the Microsoft call for speakers, collaborating with Microsoft to make sure selected submissions complement the community sessions and create a cohesive overall Summit program. Watch for Microsoft sessions and the complete session schedule in early September.


New: Improved Filtering and Learning Paths

As part of our commitment to execute a robust and diverse educational program for Summit 2014, we are providing better attendee guidance through role- and skill-based learning tracks. This year, we are introducing Learning Paths, which are being rolled out as part of an improved session filtering and search feature.

Filter options include Track, Speaker, Level, Session Type, and the new Learning Paths, which let attendees further refine their search by leveraging nine cross-track topics:

    • Beginner
    • Big Data
    • Cloud
    • Hardware/Virtualization
    • High Availability/ Disaster Recover
    • Performance
    • Power BI
    • Security
    • SQL Server 2014

If an attendee is interested in sessions related to SQL Server running in a virtualized environment, for example, he/she can select the Hardware/Virtualization Learning Path. Additional Learning Path filters can be applied for an even more refined search.

Recognizing that Cloud/Azure-related topics cross various tracks and interests, this year we have incorporated Cloud sessions into the appropriate remaining tracks and have created new filtering and search options on the PASS Summit 2014 Sessions page. We hope the new filtering and search options will make it easier for all Summit attendees to locate sessions that are best suited to their interests and needs.

We have a phenomenal program this year, planned and presented by the SQL Server Community for the SQL Server Community. Help us spread the word, and don’t forget to register by June 27 to save $300 on your registration. See you in Seattle!
– Amy Lewis
PASS Director of Programs


 


What's New with WIT

June 11, 2014 – Recently at SQLSaturday Silicon Valley, PASS VP of Marketing Denise McInerney shared what's new with Women in Technology (WIT), including the growing commitment of more organizations, academic institutions, and companies to engage women in technology roles, a topic PASS has been passionate about for over 10 years.

You can watch parts one, two, and three of the interview series with Denise.

Want to learn more? Log in to your myPASS account today and follow the prompts to join the PASS WIT Virtual Chapter.


Announcing the 2014 PASS Nomination Committee

June 9, 2014 – A big thank you to everyone who made their voices heard in last week’s 2014 Nomination Committee (NomCom) elections. And congratulations to Erin Stellato, Andy Warren, and Allen Kinsel, the community representatives elected to join NomCom Chair Bill Graziano and Board-appointed representative Richard Bolesta on the committee to manage this year’s PASS Board of Directors election. 

A total of 539 voters cast 1,537 votes in the NomCom elections, featuring a slate of 11 incredible candidates. To be eligible to vote in this year’s NomCom and Board elections, PASS members needed to update their PASS profile by June 1. The IT and Marketing teams analyzed the voting list for any duplication before sending out the NomCom elections ballot link to 9,086 eligible PASS voters.

The NomCom elections also saw the successful debut of PASS’s new online voting system. The secure and easy-to-use web-services-based Simply Voting system doesn’t hold any PASS member email addresses or passwords.

The NomCom community seats reflect the three seats up for election on the PASS Board this year: one US/Canada seat and two open seats. The five-member NomCom will manage the Board elections process, qualifying, interviewing, and ranking potential candidates. A final slate will then be submitted to the Board for approval. In addition, this year’s NomCom is charged with streamlining the process for involving and evaluating candidates and with enhancing opportunities for community engagement in the elections. 

Applications will open August 6 for the three PASS Board seats up for election. To learn more about the 2014 NomCom election results and preview the upcoming Board of Directors elections, please see the Elections site. The discussion forums will be closed until the Board elections open, but if you have any questions or concerns, please contact PASS Governance

Congratulations again to Erin, Andy, and Allen. And a special thank you to all the candidates for their dedicated volunteer efforts on behalf of the PASS community and their enthusiastic and professional candidacies in this year’s NomCom elections.

SQL Server 2014: Hybrid Scenarios

June 9, 2014 – SQL Server 2014 makes it easier than ever to unlock new hybrid scenarios between your on-premises SQL Server instances and Microsoft Azure. Here are three key hybrid scenarios that you can easily deploy with SQL Server 2014 and Azure to help reduce operational costs while improving business continuity:

    • Quickly develop and test SQL Server applications. You can spin up a SQL Server 2014 image in minutes on Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) for your next SQL Server development and test project. And with full SQL Server compatibility and many VM sizes to choose from, you can easily deploy the application into production on Azure or back on-premises. The best part is that you pay only for what you use, so you can reduceyour capital-expenditure investment to set up a dev/test environment for SQL Server. You can also now easily connect to and manage your SQL Server VMs in Azure through SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).
    • Cost-effectively back up your on-premises SQL Server instances. SQL Server 2014 makes full SQL Server-level backup to Azure storage even easier with a new UI built directly into SSMS.  SQL Server 2014 also offers the ability to encrypt the backup, where you have the option to hold the encryption keys. In addition, a new complimentary backup tool lets you also back up previous versions of SQL Server to Azure.
    • Enable low RTO disaster recovery while improving BI reporting for your global offices. You can enable a low Recovery Time Objective (RTO) disaster recovery solution with SQL Server 2014 that not only improves business continuity but also gives you the ability to enhance business intelligence (BI) reporting for your global offices. The solution takes advantage of up to eight readable secondaries with the AlwaysOn feature in SQL Server 2014 and places them strategically across the many Azure global datacenters. You can use the readable secondaries to offload BI reporting or run backups, and they are much easier to deploy on-premises or on Azure with new the UI in SSMS.

These hybrid scenarios can benefit your on-premises SQL Server instances and help you innovate faster by providing flexible, cost-effective, and efficient ways of developing and testing new database applications. If you haven’t already, download the evaluation copy of SQL Server 2014 and try these new hybrid scenarios with Azure for yourself.  


 


Global Representation in NomCom and Board Elections

June 4, 2014  Discussions around this year’s Nomination Committee (NomCom) elections have raised some questions about global representation on the NomCom. The three community seats on the five-member NomCom match the three seats up for election on the PASS Board of Directors. Here’s a quick summary of where we are in the process of increasing international representation and participation in PASS leadership via regional seats and how that relates to this year’s NomCom and Board elections.

Last year, the PASS Board approved bylaw changes that allowed the transition of its formerly all open seats to a mix of open seats and regionally-reserved seats, paving the way for more international perspectives and representation on the Board. The bylaw changes also set the NomCom to mirror the composition of Board seats up for election in any given year. The Board began this transition by adding two regional seats for the 2014/2015 term: one US/Canada seat (won by Tim Ford in the 2013 Board elections) and one EMEA seat (won by Jen Stirrup).

The bylaws call for a total of two regional seats representing the US/Canada, one each to be up for election annually, so this year defines that second US/Canada seat on the Board. Thus, for the 2014 NomCom and Board elections, community members are voting to fill one US/Canada regional seat and two open seats. Going forward, at least one US/Canada and one open seat will be up for election each year, with the EMEA regional seat up for election every other year. You can review the process for awarding PASS NomCom and Board seats here.

The Board has been diligently working on the next steps for adding other regional seats to promote greater global perspective and representation. We will be sharing this with the PASS community in the coming weeks. As the Board grows globally via regional seats so will the NomCom.

The transition to additional regional seats is an important process, but I want to remind dedicated volunteers and prospective candidates outside of US/Canada and EMEA that you don’t have to wait until a seat is added for your region. As always, candidates from any region are eligible to run for open seats on the PASS NomCom and Board of Directors, and we encourage you to do so.

Good luck to all our NomCom candidates during this week’s election and to all those thinking about running for the PASS Board later this year. Watch Friday afternoon for announcement of the full NomCom – including this year’s Board-appointed member – after the Board approves the final election results and appointee nomination. And please let us know if you have any questions.
– Bill Graziano
Immediate Past President/NomCom Chair


 

NomCom Candidates Announced – Elections Next Week

May 28, 2014  It’s your turn! The candidate slate has been finalized and voting opens Tuesday, June 3, for three community seats on the 2014 PASS Nomination Committee (NomCom), which will manage the Board of Directors election. Your 2014 NomCom candidates are: 

    • Allen Kinsel - US/Canada & Open
    • Andy Warren - US/Canada & Open
    • Angela Henry - US/Canada & Open
    • Brandon Leach - US/Canada & Open
    • Chris Testa-O'Neill - Open
    • Erin Stellato - US/Canada & Open
    • Kendal Van Dyke - US/Canada & Open
    • Mark Broadbent - Open
    • Ryan Adams - US/Canada & Open
    • Steve Wake - US/Canada & Open
    • Tamera Clark - US/Canada & Open

The community representatives will reflect the three seats up for election on the PASS Board this year: one US/Canada seat and two open seats. Immediate Past President Bill Graziano will chair the NomCom, a five-member committee that manages the PASS Board of Directors elections process, qualifying, interviewing, and ranking potential candidates. A final slate is then submitted to the Board for approval. In addition, this year’s NomCom is charged with streamlining the process for involving and evaluating candidates and with enhancing opportunities for community engagement in the elections. A representative appointed by the PASS Board will round out the committee.

NomCom campaigning will begin June 2 – watch the Elections site to learn more about the candidates. Secure, individualized ballots will be emailed June 3 to all PASS members who have updated their profile by June 1. All ballots must be submitted by noon PT on June 6.

Thanks in advance for participating in the NomCom elections and the running of your organization – and good luck to all 11 candidates who applied for this important role!


Call for NomCom Now Open!

May 14, 2014 – Are you a dedicated PASS volunteer with a passion for improving our community? Then you’re eligible to apply for three community seats up for election on this year’s Nomination Committee (NomCom), which will oversee the 2014 PASS Board of Directors elections.

The call for NomCom applications is open now through noon PT May 22.

What Is the NomCom? 
The NomCom is a five-member committee that manages the PASS Board of Directors elections process, qualifying, interviewing, and ranking potential candidates. A final slate is then submitted to the Board for approval. In addition, this year’s NomCom is charged with streamlining the process for involving and evaluating candidates and with enhancing opportunities for community engagement in the elections.

Immediate Past President Bill Graziano will chair this year’s NomCom, which will include three elected community representatives reflecting the three seats up for election on the PASS Board this year: one US/Canada seat and two open seats. A representative appointed by the PASS Board will round out the committee.

Who’s Eligible to Run?
To be eligible to run for the NomCom, candidates must have a demonstrable track record of volunteering with PASS – such as serving as a Regional Mentor, Chapter or Virtual Chapter Leader, or Program Committee member – and participating in other volunteer endeavors. Note that as an essential part of the PASS Board elections process, the NomCom requires significant time and effort. By applying for the NomCom, applicants agree to the time commitments of the entire general elections process, including Board applicant interviews.

Thinking about running? See what recent committee members have to say about serving on the NomCom.

Get Started Today!
If you meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in serving on the NomCom, please download the application for full details and submit your completed form to governance@sqlpass.org by 12:00pm PT / 19:00 GMT May 22. Successful candidates will be notified by May 27.

NomCom elections will run June 3-6, with all PASS members who have updated their profile as of June 1, 2014, eligible to vote. Good luck and thanks in advance to all applicants!

PASS BA Conference in Review

May 14, 2014 – Last week’s PASS Business Analytics Conference featured three days of professional networking and the latest in analytics education delivered by the world's top BA/BI experts.

Relive your favorite moments or catch what you missed by watching the Day 1 keynote with Microsoft’s Kamal Hathi and Amir Netz and the Day 2 keynote with data visualization expert David McCandless. Then see what bloggers had to say (Day 1 | Day 2), check out our Flickr feed, and make sure you purchase a USB of all conference session and keynote recordings.

We look forward to seeing you next year in Santa Clara, CA, April 20-22  sign up today to receive conference updates!

Why Run for the NomCom?

April 29, 2014 – The call for PASS Nomination Committee applications opens in just two weeks. Thinking about throwing your hat into the elections ring for this year’s three community NomCom seats? Here’s some information to help you get ready.

The NomCom manages the PASS Board of Directors elections process, qualifying, interviewing, and ranking potential candidates. A final slate is then submitted to the Board for approval. In addition, this year’s NomCom is charged with streamlining the process for involving and evaluating candidates and with enhancing opportunities for community engagement in the elections.

Immediate Past President Bill Graziano will chair the five-member NomCom, which will include three elected community representatives reflecting the three seats up for election on the PASS Board this year: one US/Canada seat and two open seats. A representative appointed by the PASS Board will round out the committee.

To be eligible to run for the NomCom, candidates must have a demonstrable track record of volunteering with PASS – such as serving as a Regional Mentor, Chapter or Virtual Chapter Leader, or Program Committee member – and participating in other volunteer endeavors. Note that as an essential part of the PASS Board elections process, the NomCom requires significant time and effort. By applying for the NomCom, applicants agree to the time commitments of the entire general election process, including Board applicant interviews.

Thinking of running?

“There is no better way to contribute to the health of the PASS community than serving on the NomCom,” notes PASS Regional Mentor Ryan Adams, who served on last year’s committee. “You are vetting the future directors of the organization, who will provide strategic guidance, long-term growth, and stability to the community we love. It’s not just an opportunity to interview and ensure solid and motivated candidates for the community, it’s also a responsibility that has immense rewards.”

Fellow 2013 NomCom member Erin Stellato adds that serving the SQL Server community through the NomCom is about more than giving back. “It's about having the opportunity to really get to know the community members who choose to run for the Board, and then taking that information and helping the greater community decide who the best people are for the job,” she says. “The NomCom also gives you the chance to better understand the PASS organization as a whole and starts the wheels turning about other ways you can make a difference.”

Remember that to be eligible to vote in the NomCom and PASS Board elections, members must update their PASS profile by June 1. Whether you join the conversation about how to improve the organization, support your favorite candidates and vote, or run for office yourself, please get involved and help shape the future of PASS.

For more information about PASS’s elections process and running for the NomCom, contact PASS HQ Governance Administrator Janice Simpson.

Welcome Global Alliance Partner SQL Sentry

April 29, 2014 – PASS is excited to welcome SQL Sentry as a Gold Level Global Alliance Partner, expanding the company’s strong individual event and program sponsorships into a comprehensive, strategic relationship that supports the worldwide PASS community year-round.

SQL Sentry has been supporting database professionals through its tools since 2004, when the company released its first product and joined the SQL Server community. Over the years, SQL Sentry has worked to give back and strengthen the community, not just through event sponsorships but also through services such as the shuttles at PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte and the high quality educational efforts its respected experts Aaron Bertrand and Kevin Kline share through events, blogs, and other venues.

"Teaming up with PASS for the Global Alliance Partner Program was the logical next step for SQL Sentry,” said Nick Harshbarger, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for SQL Sentry. “Since our roots come from many years of running a very large, complex SQL Server enterprise, we have appreciated the benefit of the unique community shepherded by PASS. The education we’ve received and the connections we’ve created through PASS have been critical to the growing success of our business. We are proud of our 10-year support of PASS and look forward to stepping up and helping the PASS community reach new heights of success.”

As a Gold Level Global Alliance Partner, SQL Sentry will be a Gold sponsor of PASS Summit, a Silver sponsor of the PASS Business Analytics Conference, and will be supporting 24 Hours of PASS virtual events, PASS SQLSaturday events, and the entire PASS community through Connector sponsorships, web advertising, and more.

PASS sponsors are a vital part of the community, supporting the organization’s many training and networking opportunities, including free learning events. Through the Global Alliance Program, PASS looks forward to bringing many new opportunities and added value to our community and to our partners. For information about becoming a PASS Global Alliance Partner, please contact Craig Ellis.