ENTRIES up to June 15 (Part 1 of 2)

ENTRY #1

In 2007, I attended a session on security debugging taught by Ruslan Ovechkin. This class, which I had to cut short because of my flight home, made a big difference on my job.

I work as the lead DBA for a product development team. Our application was repeatedly throwing login errors when trying to connect to SQL Server. Specifically, errors 18452 and 18456. Prior to the Summit, I had been researching these errors in vain on the web. So when I saw this session on the Summit agenda I decided to attend.

Ruslan was a very efficient presenter, and he got right to the point. Eight slides into his PowerPoint presentation, he gave us a list of the common states that throw Error 18456. Right away, I knew that our problem was with our SQL Server service accounts, so I knew what I had to do when I came home.

That wasn't all. He laid out detailed instructions about the various security caches in SQL Server and showed us how to navigate and query them. He also gave us an application to assist with security debugging.

I got a lot out of this session, even considering that I couldn't stay until the end. I still keep the presentation on my workstation since it's a great reference in and of itself and also provides links to the SQL Server security blogs. My team also benefitted, since I was able to educate our developers about the nuances of SQL Server security.

- by Ken Powers


ENTRY #2

I went to my first PASS Summit many many months ago in November of 2008. I didn’t know many people in the SQL Server community, but I knew a few people. Throughout the PASS Summit, I spent time getting to know people. I met a lot of great people at the Summit and I’ve stayed in touch and become friends with many of them.

But, the best thing I learned at PASS was that there’s always something to learn from everyone. We’re all part of a community and we get better by learning from each other.

- by Jeremiah Peschka
- blog post here


ENTRY #3

I attended my first PASS conference in 2007 in Denver and I didn't know exactly what to expect. I signed up for the two pre-sessions prior to the conference and was able to sit through a full day training session with Itzik Ben-Gan the first day and Kalen Delaney on the second. Needles to say, I learned more about T-SQL and SQL Internals in two days than I thought was humanly possible. Just when I thought my brain couldn't hold anymore, I went to several sessions the next three days listening to some of the best minds in the business speak about any SQL topic you can imagine. I think this is one of the areas that make attending the PASS Summit invaluable (it spawns ideas that you can take with you and apply in your environment). You may not remember everything from every presentation, but you can remember enough to know that you need to research a little more on certain topics when you get back to work. But, I think the best thing I took away from the PASS Summit was not something I learned; it was motivation. We tend to get stuck in our daily routines and every now and then we need something like the PASS Summit to recharge our batteries and rejuvenate our outlook on our jobs. When you combine all this with the great networking opportunities and after parties the PASS Summit is one of the best SQL events that you'll ever attend.

- by Ken Simmons
- blog post here


ENTRY #4

The best thing I learned at PASS 2008 was in regards to the SQL Server Upgrade Assistant. I wasn't alone in the people that didn't know this tool existed. When the presenter asked for the hands of those who had used or knew of the tool, not many were raised. I knew of and had used the SQL Server Upgrade Advisor before, but this tool was the real deal and helped us get approval sign offs in record times. This tool saved my organization SAIC a great deal of time an effort in staging and testing for our upgrades from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005. We plan to make use of the tool again when we go from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2008 sometime in the future.

- by Rob Spellman
- blog post here


ENTRY #5

I attended my first PASS Conference in 2007 and was blown away. The presentations were so amazing and insightful; I practically begged my boss to allow me to attend the 2008 Conference. The most valuable thing I learned from both of these conferences is that there is no replacement for networking with your peers and being able to communicate situations and solutions to each other. After the 2007 Conference, I rushed back to the office to begin sharing all that I had learned. I stressed to my teammates that we needed to get more active in the PASS community as there was an extremely broad base of people that were always more than willing to help answer questions and offer advice when needed.

I took PASS as an opportunity to be able to meet some of the people I only had been able to read their blog posts or articles in SQL Server Magazine. I was going to get a chance listen and learn from people like Kalen Delaney, Itzik Ben-Gan and Kevin Kline. Not to say that the technical aspect of it all wasn’t amazing and it sounds a little corny but for me it was the people at PASS that made it worth it for me. I would never trade the experience of going to PASS and I encourage everyone to try their hardest to go!

- by Sheldon M. Williams


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