PASS Europe 2009

Our European SQL Server Conference kicked off yesterday with pre-conference sessions by Bob Ward, Allan Mitchell and Chris Webb.  The event is in Dusseldorf, Germany again this year.  Our attendance is up 35% from last year to over 250 attendees.  Today was the first full day of sessions and the rooms were packed!  The program committee did a fantastic job choosing speakers this year.  Tonight is our social event at a local restaurant.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the event.  You can view all of them on our Flickr stream.  I do have to say Rushabh looks great with hair doesn't he?

-Bill Graziano

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PASS Connector Editorial for April 22 - by Andy Warren

We’ve made some minor updates to the PASS web site recently. None that are amazing, but represent attempts to fill gaps that we think will be useful to members, and more often, to prospective members. Here’s a list of recent additions:
·         Top 10 Lists. We’ve already got a few posted, why not become mildly famous by building your own list and adding it to the collection?
·         Online Communities. PASS isn’t the only SQL Server community, and we want to make sure our members can find all the resources that are out there – and its part of us being good citizens in the online community too.
Waiting for deployment are pages about SQL MVP’s, the history of PASS (terrific read!), the history of SQL Server, and some great information on certifications. All of them contributed by volunteers, and we hope you find them useful. But if you find a typo, or an omission, or a page we should have but don’t – drop me a note at andy.warren@sqlpass.org. Eventually PASS should become a great career resource for you, and when someone asks you ‘should I get certified’ or ‘what is an MVP’, you’ll have a place to point them to!
Changing subjects, we recently extended our call for speakers for the 2009 Summit, but at the time we didn’t explain why, which in turn lead to speculation. Microsoft had let us know that the BI conference that runs in the same time frame was being cancelled, and we decided to extend the call for speakers so that the speakers from that event would have an opportunity to submit sessions for the Summit. Our plan is to add capacity so that as we add BI sessions we don’t detract at all from the DBA market, but for many of us it’s no longer DBA or BI, most of us do a little bit of both. I’m looking forward to taking in a great BI session or two to expand my own horizons.
This will be posted on the PASS blog and comments are always appreciated.

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Mixing BI and OLTP at the Summit

PASS is deep in the planning cycle for our SQL Server Conference. One of the key decisions we have to make is how much content to allocate to business intelligence and how much to OLTP. In order to make that decision we look at a number of data points. Among these are a survey we recently completed, registration details from previous years, registration details so far this year and actual session attendance information from prior years. Adding to the challenge is Microsoft's decision not to have a business intelligence conference this year and their desire to use PASS as one of their conferences to reach business intelligence professionals.

This year we split the Business Intelligence track in two. This will in some ways mirror the split on the OLTP side between the Application Development track and the DBA track. We think it will help us better target sessions to business intelligence professionals. We also increased the total number of sessions at the conference to 168. Making the whole pie bigger is an easy way to make sure all our attendees are happy with the type of sessions we have available.

Where does that leave the DBA? What are we doing for the person that writes complex T-SQL stored procedures to process business transactions? Or spends their days managing instances? I want you to take away two key points here. First, we're going to have more OLTP sessions than we've ever had before. Second, the combination of the Application Development track and DBA track is now larger than the entire conference was in 2006. I think that's a pretty amazing accomplishment!

Even doing that for the OLTP community we aren't short changing business intelligence. We've increased the BI sessions nearly 60% over last year. If you're a business intelligence professional you'll have your choice of multiple sessions at every slot during the conference.

Allocating sessions is a difficult task. Lynda and the rest of the program committee have done a great job supporting our growing BI community and our established OLTP community. We think our overall mix of roughly two-thirds OLTP and one-third BI will meet the needs of our conference attendees.

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Micrsosoft BI conference cancellation

For the last few years Microsoft has hosted a business intelligence conference in the fall. This year they decided not to have a conference. You can read the announcement on their web site.  PASS remains committed to providing a strong line up of business intelligence sessions at PASS Summit Unite 2009 in November.  PASS has taken a number of steps in response to this situation:

  • We previously increased the number of sessions at the Summit. The PASS Summit will have a strong session line up for both business intelligence and OLTP.
  • We split the business intelligence track into two tracks.  This will help us focus on the tasks required build and manage business intelligence solutions.
  • We extended the call for speakers by two weeks.  If you planned on speaking at the MS BI Conference we want to give you plenty of time to submit an abstract to the PASS Summit.
  • Our Summit is a great mix of community and Microsoft sessions.  We continue to work closely with Microsoft to make sure you get the best sessions possible.

Don't forget that April is the last month to receive the discounted rate of $1,195.  The rates go up on May 1st -- three short weeks away.

- Bill Graziano

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PASS Connector for April 8 Available for Download

The latest issue of the PASS Connector e-newsletter can be downloaded here.

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PASS Connector Editorial for April 8 - by Andy Warren

Hello Everyone,

What does a professional organization do? What should members expect from their professional association? Those are good questions, though not easy to answer. Twenty years ago one of the big reasons to join associations was for the benefits large organizations could negotiate – now there are very few that are large enough to beat the discounts available via various web sites and searches. For those of that use SQL Server we don’t have the same licensing requirements that doctors and attorneys do, so that model doesn’t quite fit us either.

I’ve thought about it a lot and while I don’t have all the answers, here is what I have come up with so far:

  • PASS should focus on career development, networking, and some aspects of professional development
  • PASS should speak out about matters of interest to our members – best practices, features for the next version, bugs that need to be fixed, and more
  • PASS should be the place where we send those considering a career as a SQL Server professional to understand the options and the career path
  • PASS should be more than just DBA’s, we have to include those that work on the BI side of things, and we should encourage developers to participate in some way too
  • PASS should help employers and managers understand the particular needs, demands, and stresses of our profession, how it affects them and how it affects us
  • PASS should continue to host the annual Summit as the premier learning and training opportunity for those of in the SQL Server business
  • PASS should be a equal player in the larger world of SQL communities and events – we’ll seek to be the best we can be at our mission and we’ll let them be the best they can be at theirs, and we’ll embrace any site/event that provides learning opportunities to our members
  • PASS should be keeping our members informed about news and events of interest – you may find it in other places, but we’ll make sure it’s visible here
  • PASS should encourage those that want to take the next step and provide opportunities for volunteers to participate, and to speak at our local chapters, regional events, and the Summit – and provide training and guidance to help them succeed

We would like to hear from you! Do you like that list, have an idea for something that can be added or removed? At the end of the day we want being a member of PASS to be more than just good karma; we want you to be a member because we’re providing value to you. I’ll hope you post to our blog your ideas, but as always you can reach me directly at andy.warren@sqlpass.org.

Andy

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Interview with Blythe Morrow at PASS Headquarters

Although I (Thomas La Rock) have been on the PASS Board of Directors since January, for some reason I have not blogged much about the experience to date. No, I do not know why, but I hope to change that, starting now. In addition to having some type of regular posting giving updates on some of the behind the scenes activities, I want to start including some interviews with members of the Board and PASS HQ.

And…for my first act…we have the wonderful Blythe Morrow. Blythe works for Christianson & Company Event Management Ltd. in Vancouver, BC. C&C is the management company that helps to run PASS, and is what is meant whenever you hear someone say “PASS HQ”. I thought it would be great for people to understand more about all the work that happens behind the scenes every day, and Blythe was happy to participate in an email exchange that I could post in an interview style.

 

SB: You work for PASS HQ in Vancouver, what is your role there?

BM: My current title is PASS Community Coordinator, I would like to tell you about a day in the life for me (on a Monday). I get into the office a little bit before 9:00am PST. Keep in mind that it’s lunch time on the East Coast, so my mailbox is normally teeming with messages from chapter leaders who are requesting eblasts or who are telling me great events they are putting on in their area. I reply to any chapter requests, process all chapter agreements and then have my lunch while I read the many SQL Community blogs I follow.

In the afternoon I touch base with any committees we have developing resources for the community, whether it be Speaker Resources, Chapter Kits, Online Maintenance, or SIG Live Meeting support. I write processes, help Board members, and connect the right people together within our community.

Mondays are my favourite days because the entire C&C team makes time to sit together and give updates on all of the aspects of PASS. I hear about the Summit logistics from Judy and Kate, Advertising from Craig, Program from Marcella, IT from David, and Marketing from Sanj.

SB: Wow, that is a lot of activity, especially for a Monday. How many people are involved in working for PASS HQ from C&C?

BM: That is definitely an interesting question. We have 10 full time individuals fully committed to the PASS organization with additional consultants who fill the management requirements throughout the year for Marketing, Sponsor & Expo Sales, Registration and on-site Summit Operations – the consultant roles are fully supported from an operational aspect by our fulltime employees - it is this grouping that makes up the team called PASS HQ.

SB: How long have you been with C&C?

BM: It will be my one year anniversary on July 21st.

SB: What do you like most about working with the PASS Community?

BM: I really like the often virtual aspect to this community. The longer I work in the field, the more I realize that this community makes friends regardless of geographic location. We Tweet, we Facebook, we connect on Linkedin, we read and comment on blogs, and join webinars; then we all come together once a year at the Summit and get that very precious face time. It’s a beautiful thing.

SB: Have you ever worked with a similar community before, in either size or in terms of technical focus?

BM: Before I came to PASS I did work in Community Relations for a large retail outlet. I wouldn’t say they were the same size, but they were expanding at a very fast rate similar to PASS. I am happy to be working in Community Relations for a technical community. It definitely seems much more suited to me, and allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of a larger industry.

SB: Where do you think PASS needs the most help?

BM: This is a tough question. I would like us to be a little bit more creative in reaching and professionally developing our members. Over the summer, PASS members should see some great speaker developer resources and technical articles. I think that is a step in the right direction, and PASS’ global community will benefit from that.

SB: If someone reading this wanted to get started helping out with PASS, what would be their first step? Should we tell them to contact you?

BM: Yes! All volunteer and chapter requests come through me. Depending on what you would like to do (start a Special Interest Group, Affiliate your User Group as a chapter, volunteer on a Committee) the process might be different, but I can help you every step of the way.

 

If you want to know more about PASS in general, you can visit the website at http://sqlpass.org.

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Conference Registration for Speakers

You may have already registered for the PASS Summit, or will be doing so soon to take advantage of the early bird discount. What happens if you submit a session that gets accepted?

If you have submitted abstracts for consideration, and have already registered for the Summit, and then are later confirmed as a Speaker, your registration will be reimbursed.

 

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