Category: PASS Community Summit

Last Chance to Save $600 on PASS Summit

A quick reminder that tomorrow is the last day to save $600 on PASS Summit 2011, the SQL Server event of the year, Oct. 11-14 in Seattle, WA. In the whirlwind of organizing all the conference details and getting the word out, it’s easy to forget exactly what PASS Summit is. Yes, it’s the largest SQL Server and BI conference in the world. But more than that, it’s your conference – planned and presented by the SQL Server community for the SQL Server community.

Volunteers (this year with the help of community session preference voting) select the sessions and speakers. Except for the pre-conference seminars, speakers share their knowledge and experience in exchange for a complimentary Summit registration. Community members are the driving force behind Summit’s special events, including the Welcome Reception Quiz Bowl, the annual Women in Technology Luncheon and Panel Discussion, SQL Kilt Day, the Photowalk, SQL Karaoke, and much more.

PASS Summit continues to grow in attendance and quality thanks to community members like you, who are passionate about the PASS mission – Connect, Share, Learn. And your registration fee stays in the SQL Server community, supporting a myriad of local, regional, and international programs and events that bring database professionals together around the world.

Whether you’re a seasoned PASS Summit veteran or thinking about attending for the first time, we encourage you to take advantage of this low rate before the price goes up July 1. See you in Seattle!
 

2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Adam Machanic

Today's post is from Adam Machanic who will be presenting "No More Guessing! An Enlightened Approach to Performance Troubleshooting" - you can find more about his session here:  http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1627.

Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?

  Countless times I have seen people grinding away when faced with a performance problem, not making any real progress on fixing it. The first step is often rebuilding indexes ("it must be fragmentation!"). Next they'll try various query rewrites ("is it a bad plan?"). And maybe the process will continue as they restart the SQL Server instance ("is it a memory leak?"). In many cases the problem is still not solved after all of this effort. The DBA or developer has wasted the better part of a day, is frustrated, and is convinced that SQL Server just can't handle the workload.

   My session is designed to teach attendees that it doesn't have to be this way. SQL Server gives us plenty of access to all of the information we need to diagnose the actual root cause of most performance problems. You just need to know where to look. And the best part is that once you understand the problem, the solution is usually natural and obvious. I am of the opinion that there is no reason to struggle with performance, nor to end a tuning process feeling disappointed or annoyed. I look forward to helping attendees move beyond these pain points so that they can use their valuable time to do more interesting and satisfying work.

After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?

  My seminar teaches a methodology that leverages a number of tools within SQL Server to easily identify the cause of performance problems. Attendees will be able to go back to the office and immediately start looking at issues from a new and refreshed point of view. This translates into much quicker turnaround time when there is an issue and, in many cases, the ability to leverage proactive diagnosis to help stop problems before they fully manifest themselves. This seminar is not theoretical in nature; the entire day is focused on real-world techniques and the session materials include a number of scripts that attendees will be able to immediately use in their own environments.
 
 
What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?

  I will assume that attendees have at least some working experience as a SQL Server DBA or database developer. Performance monitoring is a topic that spans a huge part of the surface area of the product, and a number of components will be discussed over the course of the day. I won't have time to explain basics (e.g. the different types of indexes that can be created in SQL Server), and the ideal candidate should be comfortable with core topics. The more attendees know about the various components of SQL Server and how they interact, the easier it will be to understand and take advantage of the techniques that will be taught in the seminar.

 
 
What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?

  I have several years of experience working as a performance consultant, specializing in finding and fixing the some of the most difficult problems that my customers faced. My customers have ranged from startups with the server sitting on the floor under the CTO's desk to enterprises with hundreds of production SQL Server instances. I have learned how to deal with a large number of different performance problems in the various environments, and more importantly I have learned to understand the patterns of when and why problems arise. This session will teach attendees the best of the techniques that I have learned--and successfully used--over the course of my career.

 

2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Itzik Ben-Gan

Today's post is from Itzik Ben Gan who will be presenting Advanced T-SQL for SQL Server 2008 and Denali - you can find more about his session here:  http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Speakers/CallForSpeakers/SessionDetail.aspx?sid=1017 .

Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?

SQL Server developers and DBAs.  Essentially anyone who needs to write or review T-SQL code and cares about its efficiency and performance.

After having attended your seminar, what are two or three things that an attendee will be able to take back to the office and put to use right away?

The will be able to improve their existing T-SQL solutions in SQL Server 2008 as well as learn what's new in SQL Server Denali.

What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?

At least one year of experience writing T-SQL code.

What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?

T-SQL is my native tongue; I live and breathe it all the time.  I have over a decade of experience training people with advanced T-SQL topics, and training is my passion.

Announcing PASS Summit Regular and Half-Day Sessions

The all-volunteer PASS Summit Program Committee has had one of its most challenging years ever, working tirelessly over the past 6 weeks to select the best educational sessions for this year’s conference from an exceptional pool of 650+ abstracts.

Today, we’re proud to announce the PASS Summit 2011 regular sessions and 4 new half-day sessions, designed to give attendees a deeper look at everything from performance tuning and indexing to hardware configurations and scaling SQL Server. The sessions are spread across 6 tracks, include the new SQL Azure track.

The Program Committee’s daunting task involves choosing the best collection of session topics, types, levels, and speakers to meet every need and interest. This year, for the first time, the committee received direct input from the PASS community via the Session Preferencing tool, which let community members mark their favorite sessions. Thanks to everyone who shared their preferred sessions – your involvement helped make many of the difficult choices easier.

Another exciting addition to the Program process this year was awarding Summit session slots to the top 3 speakers at the Spring 24 Hours of PASS event and at PASS SQLRally 2011 in Orlando. We previously announced the top 24 Hours of PASS speakers, and I’m pleased to announce the top 3 SQLRally speakers, who will be presenting similar topics at the 2011 Summit:

Zero to OLAP Cubes in 60 Minutes, Adam Jorgensen
Understanding Storage Systems and SQL Server , Wesley Brown
DBA Disaster Recovery Techniques to Keep Handy, Edwin Sarmiento 

I’d like to thank every speaker who took the time to submit an abstract as well as the team of dedicated Program Committee volunteers (listed along the left side of the page) who put in the extra work to make this year’s Summit session lineup one of the best ever. Proof once again that without the community, PASS wouldn’t exist.

Watch for the Microsoft sessions to be added a little later this summer. And if you haven’t registered for PASS Summit yet, don’t wait – you don’t want to miss this one.

PS: Remember to register by June 30 to save $600 on a Full Summit registration.

 

PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte: Follow the Discussion

It’s been great to see all the interest in last week’s announcement of PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte, NC. The community response has been highly positive overall, with a few comments around Charlotte’s flight availability, nightlife, and access to Microsoft.

A couple of PASS Board members have blogged about the decision-making process the Board went through and their own thought processes in selecting Charlotte to host the 2013 Summit:

Here’s what others in the community are saying:

And here are a few tweets we’ve collected over the past week to give you a taste of the conversations going on:

  • @SQLSoldier: North Carolina is a beautiful area!! Weather is great in Oct. too!! Hoping I can get approval to attend the #sqlPASS Summit in 2013!! 
  • @mark_sqlcat: #sqlpass Summit 2013 in Charlotte...SQL Dev and SQL CSS will be there. SQL Clinic travels... #sqlserver #sqlcat 
  • @kbriankelley: Charlotte is a short drive from Myrtle Beach, SC. Make it a vacation: bring your spouse and hit the beach before/after #sqlpass 2013 Summit. 
  • @awsaxton Nice that #sqlpass is in Charlotte. Will have a MS Support Site right there to help staff the #sqlclinic room.
  • @SQLSoldier: #SQLNASCAR RT @jlangdon: @SQLSoldier #sqlpass Might be able to catch a race since NASCAR runs at Charlotte Motor Speedway in mid-October. 
  • @shannonlowder: @SQLBalls Oh yeah. That time of the year they usually have Carrowinds decorated for Halloween too. Fun stuff! #sqlpass

Thanks for all your feedback! And continue to watch Twitter for more about PASS Summit 2013 and PASS Summit 2011, Oct. 11-14 in Seattle – just remember to use the #sqlpass hashtag.
 

Announcing PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte

After 5 years in Seattle, PASS Summit will travel to Charlotte, NC, in 2013, bringing the world’s largest SQL Server and BI conference closer to database pros in the Eastern US who may not have been able to make the cross-country trip in the past.

Responding to community feedback to have PASS Summit outside of Seattle on a recurring basis, the PASS Board of Directors considered Charlotte and Dallas for 2013. Known as the Queen City, Charlotte’s strong conference amenities, affordable rates, and growing reputation as a convenient, friendly travel destination won over the Board during a meeting last week in Orlando, FL.

“The hope is to move PASS Summit around on an irregular schedule to expose more people from around the country to this high caliber SQL Server conference,” noted PASS Executive Vice President Bill Graziano. “Seattle will remain as a regular venue in the future in order to secure a larger Microsoft presence.”

PASS Summit 2007 in Denver was the last Summit held outside Seattle. PASS Summit has seen impressive growth in attendance from 2008 to 2010. And with the success of last week’s first-ever PASS SQLRally regional event in Orlando, PASS is excited at the opportunities to bring its world-class technical training and networking to DBAs, developers, BI architects, and IT pros who haven’t been able to travel to Seattle. The East Coast location should also be more convenient for many international attendees.

Stay tuned for PASS Summit 2013 dates and more details as they become available, and in the meantime, we’ll see you in Seattle this year!

PASS 2011 Summit Abstract Submissions

[cross-posted from Allen Kinsel's blog at allenkinsel.com]

This week we’ll be launching the call for abstracts for the 2011 PASS Summit.

I thought it would be good to go over the basics for this year especially since some things are changing from years past.  Many of the changes are minor, some are behind the scenes so to speak, and a small amount are larger and more public facing.

A New Site

PASS HQ and the Program Committee team has been diligently working to bring the summit speaker/education management programming inhouse.  With this effort comes a new site for abstract submissions.  We hope this new site will make the abstract submission process easier and more relevant to collecting the info PASS needs in order to facilitate session selections.

A New Process

One of the largest changes on the backend process this year is going to be seperating the speaker review from the abstract review piece of the selection process.  Essentially, this year we have two seperate teams to do each task.  This came about from the comments of previous review team members as well as the need to offload some of the work the call generates for the larger teams.  Im hopeful that this change will help bring a little more stability to the scores each team gives an abstract as well as cut some of the subjectiveness (likely only a tiny bit)

A New Session Type

I wrote previously about having 1/2 sessions at the Summit and they are still planned.  Now you know where to bring your best and brightest content!  In case your thinking what it would be like to have your 1/2 day session recorded, Ive got great news.   Ive got a tentative compromise devised.  This year we will be distributing two seperate DVD sets, 1 for attendees of the Summit which will have every session.  Another for non attendees that will have all of the regular sessions excluding the deep dive 1/2 day sessions. 

Spotlight Sessions & Invitations

Thanks to some great feedback last year The formula that we used for spotlight selections was adjusted and looks like this: We will invite all speakers who recieved an overall evaluation of 4.5 or greater and had at least 15 attendees and 15 completed evaluations.  We will be excluding Lightning talks, Chalk Talks, and Microsoft speakers.  This year that leaves us with a whopping total of 27 people getting spotlight invites.  These speakers are truly spectacular, and they deserve the extra recognition/time for their sessions.  All abstracts submitted as spotlight will be considered not only for a spotlight slot but, will also be considered for a regular session if they dont get picked for a spotlight session.

Preconference Changes

I would be remiss to not mention this here but, some different things (changes!!) are planned for this year, as soon as I get a chance to finalize them a bit more I will write about it, hopefully in the next few days to a week. 

Abstract Limits

We have decided to change the limits on abstract submissions a bit for this year.  We will be encouraging you to submit up to 4 total : Regular, 1/2 day and Spotlight (if invited) Sessions.  In addition if you meet he qualifications you can submit up to 2 Preconference sessions.  On top of this each person can submit 1 panel (discussion type) session for consideration.  In order to do this each speaker in your panel will need to have speaker details entered so we can rate the session properly.  This in itself is a pretty good sized change so get creative and see what the selection teams think!

But when

I can hear you asking from here… “All of thats great but, when will the call for abstracts for the 2011 PASS Summit open?”  I have great news. 

The call will open this Wednesday! 4/13/2011 

look for more info coming officially from PASS

 

PASS Summit 2011: Save Money Now

[cross-posted from Bill Graziano's original Mar. 29 post on sqlteam.com]

Register by March 31st and save $200.  On April 1st we increase the price.  On July 1st we increase it again.  We have regular price bumps all the way through to the Summit.  You can save yourself $200 if you register by Thursday.

In two years of marketing for PASS and a year of finance I’ve learned a fair bit about our pricing, why we do this and how you react to it.  Let me help you save some money!

Price bumps drive registrations.  We see big spikes in the two weeks prior to a price increase.  Having a deadline with a cost attached is a great motivator to get people to take action.

Registering early helps you and it helps PASS.  You get the exact same Summit at a cheaper rate.  PASS gets smoother cash flow and a better idea of how many people to expect.  We also get people that are already registered that will tell their friends about the conference.

This tiered pricing lets us serve those that are very price conscious.  They can register early and take advantage of these discounts.  I know there are people that pay for this conference out of their own pockets.  This is a great way for those people to reduce the cost of the conference.  (And remember for next year that our cheapest pricing starts right after the Summit and usually goes up around the first of the year.)

We also get big price bumps after we announce the program and the pre-conference sessions.  If you wrote down the 50 or so best known speakers in the SQL Server community I’m guessing we’ll have nearly all of them at the conference.  We did last year.  I expect we will this year too.  We’re going to have good sessions.  Why wait?  Register today.

If you want to attend a pre-conference session you can always add it to your registration later.  Pre-con prices don’t change.  It’s very easy to update your registration and add a pre-conference session later.

I want as many people as possible to attend the Summit.  It’s been a great experience for me and I hope it will be for you.  And if you are going to go, do yourself a favor and save some money.  Register today!

 

PASS: The Legal Stuff

[cross-posted from Bill Graziano's blog at sqlteam.com]

I wanted to give a little background on the legal status of PASS.  The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) is an American corporation chartered in the state of Illinois.  In America a corporation has to be chartered in a particular state.  It has to abide by the laws of that state and potentially pay taxes to that state.  Our bylaws and actions have to comply with Illinois state law and United States law.  We maintain a mailing address in Chicago, Illinois but our headquarters is currently in Vancouver, Canada.

We have roughly a dozen people that work in our Vancouver headquarters and 4-5 more that work remotely on various projects.  These aren’t employees of PASS.  They are employed by a management company that we hire to run the day to day operations of the organization.  I’ll have more on this arrangement in a future post.

PASS is a non-profit corporation.  The term non-profit and not-for-profit are used interchangeably.  In a for-profit corporation (or LLC) there are owners that are entitled to the profits of a company.  In a non-profit there are no owners.  As a non-profit, all the money earned by the organization must be retained or spent.  There is no money that flows out to shareholders, owners or the board of directors.  Any money not spent in furtherance of our mission is retained as financial reserves.

Many non-profits apply for tax exempt status.  Being tax exempt means that an organization doesn’t pay taxes on its profits.  There are a variety of laws governing who can be tax exempt in the United States.  There are many professional associations that are tax exempt however PASS isn’t tax exempt.  Because our mission revolves around the software of a single company we aren’t eligible for tax exempt status.

PASS was founded in the late 1990’s by Microsoft and Platinum Technologies.  Platinum was later purchased by Computer Associates. As the founding partners Microsoft and CA each have two seats on the Board of Directors.  The other six directors and three officers are elected as specified in our bylaws.

As a non-profit, our bylaws layout our governing practices.  They must conform to Illinois and United States law.  These bylaws specify that PASS is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership with two members each from Microsoft and CA.  You can find our bylaws as well as a proposed update to them on the governance page of the PASS web site.

The last point that I’d like to make is that PASS is completely self-funded.  All of our $4 million in revenue comes from conference registrations, sponsorships and advertising.  We don’t receive any money from anyone outside those channels.  While we work closely with Microsoft we are independent of them and only derive a very small percentage of our revenue from them.

PASS Resources Revealed

[cross-posted from Allen Kinsel's blog at allenkinsel.com]

What has PASS been up to?

Ever find yourself with tons of extra time just looking for something to dig through?

yeah, me neither… But, I do make it a point to go out and read through lots of PASS documents regularly.  Sure, Some of those documents are not for public consumption but, a large portion of them are available for any PASS Member to view.  Almost all of them will require you to be logged in to the PASS site.

A good starting point is the PASS Governance Page <- lots of good stuff hides on this page, Im working on getting this page removed from behind the login wall

PASS BOD Meeting Minutes are posted on the left hand side

The Feb 2011 Minutes are here

  • Good discussions in here about Globalization of PASS, especially revolving around events

The Jan 2011 Minutes are here

  • This was an in-person meeting and there is a literal ton of info in here.  Highlights are  globalization, Summit 2011 Planning, Summit 2010 Post mortem, 5 Year plans, Bylaw Changes

PASS Monthly Reports are found in the middle on the left

These are gems that reveal the day to day inner workings of the BOD and HQ

The Feb report should be posted in the next day or 2

The Jan report however, is here

  • In here You’ll find things about Chapters, IT Projects, Marketing initiatives, ERC info, Sponsorship Sales, Summit Program, SQLRally, Gloablization, etc

The Dec report is here

  • This one contains things like Chapter info, HQ Finance, IT Projects, Marketing, Summit, Rally, 24hop, SQL Saturday,

The budget for PASS is included at the bottom of the governance page

2011 Budget is here

  • Wanna know where the money is supposed to be coming from, and where its supposed to be going?  this is where to look.
  • Side note: Im going to check into where the 2010 audited financials are, they should be available by now.

The SQL Rally has posted all of the planning meeting notes posted here

  • There is tons of good stuff in here, its especially interesting to me to watch the minutes back and forth dealing with very familiar problems as what I’ve seen in the Summit program group.
  • Wanna know how many attendees are registered so far for the Rally? yup its in there. Wanna know how many are in Precons?  yup its in there too

We (PASS Program) started posting meeting minutes near the lower left side of this page

  • I have written about these minutes before
  • Good information in here about many new changes that are being considered by the Program Committee
  • Essentially It says that I’m not getting nearly enough done for the program committee lately.  I need to work on that!

PASS Blog

  • Im including this here because lost of good stuff gets posted here but, for me I can only find it since its in my RSS Reader.

In Summary, PASS releases a ton of information about what its doing.  The problem with this is two-fold, one its a ton of information.  Two, the information is spread out all over the place and is often difficult to find on the site using conventional browsing methods so I hope this helps