Adam Machanic (blog|twitter) has put on a SQL Saturday/Data camp event in New England for the last two years. I’ve helped him both years. It’s been very successful. In January we had over 300 attendees, making it one of the larger SQL Saturday events. But, with a single exception (thank you Tim Ford (blog|twitter)), we’ve only had local speakers. Mind you, we’re somewhat lucky with speakers here in New England and have several MVPs and others who are truly excellent when presenting.
I’m taking over from Adam to lead the effort for this year, and due to my schedule we’re moving the event to the spring sometime. We were thinking about maybe making it the the weekend before SQL Rally. But, I’ve got a question for all of you who present at SQL Saturday events. Will you show up? Will you be more, or less, likely to come if it’s near SQL Rally. Will you be likely to come, period, full stop? While I strongly believe Adam has put on a magnificent show for two years running, for some reason we just haven’t received the community lovin’ that the other SQL Saturday events have had. Since I’m the one in charge (although Adam is still pitching in, and I’m getting help from the magnificent Mike Walsh (blog|twitter)), I’d like to make it as good a show as Adam has, so I need the other great presenters to show up, in addition to our fantastic local talent.
Comments, suggestions, questions, feedback?
PS: I hate asking questions like this on the blog, but I’m trying to collect some information so I can make a decision. Feedback is a gift, so if you want skip buying me a present for Yule this year, post a comment.
It’s not like Don Gabor had the article done in January or anything…oh wait. He did have the article done in January. However, it looks like we might be breaking the log jam and we’ll be publishing a number of SQL Server Standard issues.
The day started off with a mixed bag. First we had an honestly tearful farewell with Wayne Snyder saying goodbye to Kevin Kline, leaving the board for the first time since PASS was founded. This was followed by a painfully dull session with Dell all about their commitment to bread & butter DBA concerns. That was followed by Dr. DeWitt doing a deep dive into the history and the future of computing, showing and teaching in ways that only the very best can achieve. It was a fantastic performance, entertaining, enlightening, amazing… Just flat out incredible. It’s the kind of understanding that you wish you could get about most things, most of the time. Unfortunately, it came to an end.
Today I finally got to hit a lot of sessions. First I saw Andrew Kelly give a session on “Capturing and Analyzing File & Wait Stats.” It was great. Andrew Kelly is a good presenter and he knows this topic forwards and backwards. That makes it very easy to sit and learn from him. It’s the kind of useful information you can really take advantage of in your job. For lunch I went to a book signing to find out that both my books were sold out. A few people, including @sqlbelle, stopped by to get books signed. It was a real honor and privilege for them to do that. After that I went to two Buck Woody sessions, back-to-back. After the session yesterday I couldn’t have missed them. The first session was on “SQL Server Automation on Steroids.” The slide deck was laid out to look like a Zune. It was great stuff on fundamentals like how to configure SQL Agent, and drill downs on mechanisms for working with PowerShell, or POSH as Buck calls it. He showed several different scripts and I’m pretty jazzed to continue my pursuit of POSH skills after his session and Allen White’s earlier in the week. Yes, this sort of reinforcement of session on session with different people giving different views of the same tools used in varying ways is something you can only get at the PASS Summit. His second session was on “Performance Tuning with SQL Server 2008.” While I didn’t find it as technically useful as the previous two sessions I’d seen him do, it was every bit as entertaining and enlightening. He made my list of must see presenters. I finished out the day, and the PASS Summit, at Gail Shaw’s “Lies, damned lies and statistics.” Gail presented fantastic information in her clear, informative style. If you needed to know something about statistics, she laid them out for you in this session. Things were a bit subdued, this being the end of the Summit (not counting the post-conference) but Gail got the audience up and awake with some great demo’s and explanations of how statistics works inside SQL Server.
After hours it was off to the Friends of Red Gate party. I’m a friend of Red Gate because I sing the praises of their products, which are absolutely praiseworthy. But, I’ll tell you, I might be inspired to sing at least one praise more because of the meal we had. Nice food at a nice resteraunt with great, impassioned people, excited about what they do. It’s hard to enjoy things more.
So that’s the end of the Summit proper for me. I’ll be staying in Seattle through Friday because of a series of events that Microsoft is holding, but I won’t be blogging about them here. This has been one of the best PASS conferences I’ve been to, out of the five that I’ve attended.
Now up is Ted Kummert of Microsoft.
He’s giving us a good overview of some of the technology coming up. He’s showing us his Top 5 reasons to be at PASS
- You are part of the world’s largest gathering of SQL Server Professionals – way too true. why aren’t you here?
- You can take your questions directly to the “Source” – Yes, this is very useful
- We’ve got Wayne & Rushabh – Instead of Arnold Schwarzenneger at the Oracle conference. Eh
- You can work hard & play hard at Gameworks – Oh lord, we’re in a DOT COM. Please no.
- You will build skills & knowledge on the #1 Database in the world – Yes.
Most of these are pretty good reasons to be here. #1 and #5 especially.
The Information Platform Vision. Ah, it’s no longer called the Data Platform Vision. That’s the kind of change that get’s DBA’s worked up. However, it’s true. The desktop, the servers (SQL Server), and the cloud (Azure). They’re still stating the SQL Server is the foundation for the information platform. IBM is now a FastTrack partner. R2 is going to scale to 256 processors. R2 is also going to go to 100’s of TB (yikes).
We’re hearing about one companies experience with upgrading to 2008. They were very interested in partitioning and data compression. Data compression not only saves space, but you’ll see performance improvements. I’ve seen the most improvement in indexes, but I’ve talked to people who are also seeing a lot of enhancements on the data performance (fewer pages in memory means more data available in memory means better performance). They went through a full production upgrade with lots of users, lots of data, lots of servers, over a weekend.
Now Mr. Kummert is going at EmpoweredIT with information about Application & Multi-Server Management. Dan Jones is coming up for a demo on multi-server management. They’re going to show a feature complete build of the multi-server management system in R2. This should be good. He’s showing how it works, right out of the gate. Setting up instances for management right in front of us. Oops. Damn I hate that. The demo is tanking a bit. But they’re plowing through. The servers validate ahead of time so that you know if it’s going to work ahead of time. The dashboardfor the control point looks good. So they’re going to enroll other instances. Kimberly Tripp talked about this last night. If you’re really interested in hearing about this, you should track her down. She’s got some good insights to the product (hardly a surpise, I realize). Setting the policies for monitoring and management are pretty easy. It’s slick and simple. Not bad. Now they’re moving into the application management.
I have to run though. Have to get ready for my session.
I think the Professional Association of SQL Server users (PASS) is an extremely important organization for SQL Server DBA’s. Even if you’re not a member, you’ve never attended the Summit, gone to a local chapter meeting, read the magazine (while it was in print), took part in the special interest groups, or even read the technical articles available on the web site, you know, or work with, someone who has. What’s more, the people who get involved with PASS are the ones that are growing and expanding. PASS members are the ones that are becoming leaders in the industry. PASS members influence the direction Microsoft takes with its products. PASS, it’s members and volunteers, foster and grow the speakers, teachers, writers and MVP’s that are showing you how to perform your craft as a DBA or developer in better, faster, stronger ways. Even if you’ve never been directly involved with PASS, you’re involved with PASS.
Why am I bringing this up? Because the nominations are open for the PASS Board of Directors. They need strong, invested individuals to help move this organization, that you’re using, in the right direction. If you know someone that you really think can make a difference in this organization, you need to put their name forward. Further, you need to make sure you vote on the Board members that you think will most positively affect the organization. I understand, from people who participated in past elections, that it’s frequently only a very few votes separating the winners from the losers. You can make a real difference by nominating and then voting for the people that will keep this thing running, and running the right way. Get out there and make it happen.
On a side note, one or two times I’ve seen my name come up as a possible candidate. My current position is completely in line with William Tecumseh Sherman; I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected. Not yet anyway. I’m still struggling to keep my local users group going (I need speakers by the way, please). If I can’t keep that afloat, what business do I have running something as large, and as important, as PASS? None.
Not quite, but I am getting the final preperations done to fly to Seattle. The shuttle service is picking me up at 7:30 this morning. Then it’s off to PASS. There’s quite a line-up of speakers this year. The Tuesday pre-con’s, which I can’t attend because of the PASS Volunteer Training, look fantastic. It should be a good conference this year.