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SQL 2008 on San: Mike Ruthruff and Prem Mehra Repeats

Earlier today I mentioned that this session was full - and it is... However Lynda Rab has spoken with Mike Ruthruff and Prem Mehra - they have graciosly agreed to do a repeat of this session. It will be on Friday, November 21, @ 2:30 - 3:45 pm in Room 6E.

Thanks so much doing the repeat...

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PASS Summit 2008 Wednesday Keynote

This morning the first day keynote for the PASS conference began at 8:30.  Before I introduced our speaker Ted Kummert, I announced some growth numbers for this year. This has been the biggest growth year in PASS history - by all measures. While there has been growth in all areas, right now I'll mention the Summit growth. The total number of delegates there is, at this moment is 2464, which is an astounding 62% growth over last year. Add to that the influence of the down economy when many conferences are seeing drastic reductions in attendance - PASS is growing by leaps and bounds. Truly amazing in this economy.

I just heard that Mike Ruthruff and Prem Mehra's first session this morning filled up 20 minutes before the session began.  That's a record also.  With 150 sessions, if you attend during each time slot, you'll only get to see about 8% of the sessions. Don't worry,  summit delegates will be able to see Prem's session, plus all of the other recorded sessions  as soon as they are posted.

Ted Kummert talked about the future of SQL, and spent time on Kilimanjaro. We saw high scalability demonstrations where a single data warehouse query was spread across 192 processors, searching through a 1 trillion row fact table, using commodity hardware.  We're going places!!!!

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PASS Summit 2008 Update: T – 3 days (Behind the scenes)

Preparations for the 2008 Summit are in full swing. It was amazing to also see the change in Seattle weather from being dull, rainy and cold to being sunny and absolutely delightful. It felt like a Seattle summer day! Last night for dinner, I got a chance to meet with Kate, Blythe, Nic and Craig from the PASS team that came in early to oversee on-site preparations. We went out for dinner at one of my favorite downtown Seattle joints – Wild Ginger at the corner of 3rd Ave and Union St. The food was absolutely delightful and it was great to meet some of the team members face-to-face for the first time after having communicated over email, phone and IM for the longest time. Here are some of us (minus our gracious photographer Craig) after dinner heading back to the hotel…


This morning, the team had an early start at the convention center getting prepared for the bag-stuffing ritual. Marcella and Sanjeet from HQ also arrived today. When I walked in this afternoon, it was quite a sight to see over 15 people stuffing the registration bags at full speed. They got done in record time! The room that will serve as head quarters for the PASS team (Room 211) was also completely set up and operational. All the speaker gifts were being organized to give to the speakers during speaker orientation on Tuesday. Marcella also walked me through the session evaluation process which is now a combination of online and offline in response to attendee requests last year. I also hear that the team also has a new cheer routine for the PASS Summit. If you are on-site, ask them about it at the PASS booth! :)

I also had a chance to meet with David Yang from PASS IT who got in to the convention center at around 3pm. We spoke briefly about the Attendee site for the summit that he was going to be working on this evening. He also showed me his new HTC Touch Diamond smart phone that he got just last week. I have been long considering getting its slide-out keyboard counterpart – the HTC Touch Pro. Talking about cool devices, the Sheraton has Microsoft Surface stations in the lobby. If you are staying at the Sheraton, check out the Surface stations. Speaking of the Surface, David showed me this very cool project by Johnny Chung Lee from Carnegie Melon University showing how to use a Wiimote to turn any surface into an interactive display.

In the evening, I met with Fernando Guerrero, Itzik Ben-Gan, Lubor Kollar and his wife, Andrew Kelly and Ron Talmage. It had been a while since we met face-to-face and it was great to catch up. On our walk back to the hotel, Itzik was trying to come up with an algorithm to remember my hotel room number! Unfortunately, as I realized later, I had given him an incorrect room number to remember! :)

Anyway check out a picture from the dinner. Seen in the picture here are Fernando, Ron and me.

Tomorrow I am having breakfast with Christoph Stotz one of the PASS board members from Germany who got into town this evening. Meanwhile at the convention center, the signs, the banners and the registration booths will be going up and the pre-conference rooms will start getting set up for Monday. The registration staff will be given their final training and pep talk right before registration opens at 4pm. Everyone is super excited about the new signage and the theme and how the south lobby is going to look tomorrow once the signs are up. I am sure that I will post a lot of pictures online. Also, tomorrow, ballots go out for the board election and we will also be posting additional information about the candidates on the site.

Stay tuned for more updates from the 2008 PASS Summit.

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The time to sit on the fence is almost over

It's almost here!! I am already in Seattle and the wonderful folks from PASS HQ are due to arrive in Seattle today to oversee the final onsite preparations. Tomorrow morning, the eco-friendly canvas bags will start getting stuffed with goodies and on Sunday the actual signs and registration booths will be put up. The various staff members will have their pep talk and briefings and will be all ready - just in time for the first attendee to arrive at 4:00pm and register.

I had already mentioned that this was going to be the greatest PASS summit yet. It will also be the largest summit in terms of attendees and registration. I have been watching the registration numbers grow rapidly in the last few weeks. You will hear all the actual numbers and statistics in Wayne's keynote, but suffice to say - we have far exceeded all previous registration numbers by a huge margin. I believe that Kevin is going to mention something about it in his blog. Keep an eye out. You can truly expect one of the best summit experiences till date. Even the level of excitement around this summit within Microsoft is tremendous. The entire SQL Server Product group is prepping to make this summit a truly memorable experience. If you are attending the summit, you can be rest assured that you will leave on Friday with a lot more knowledge, information and new friends and great memories. If you have not yet decided remember that we still have the $1595 rate through the 18th for online registrations and a couple of our summit hotels are still honoring the discounted PASS rate.

Yesterday, we had a board meeting where we voted on the election slate to fill the 3 board positions that are up for elections. We have a very strong slate of candidates this year. I am truly excited at the skills each of these candidates will bring to the PASS board and the organization. Check out the PASS site for more information. The information will get posted today and if you are an eligible voting member, you will get your ballot by email. Watch out for the ballots.

Lastly, if you are packing for the summit, remember your umbrellas and warm jackets. Late last night when I got to my car which was sitting in an open parking lot on Microsoft campus, there was frost on my car!

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SQL Server Heroes Unite

You probably already know all about the theme that we have for the upcoming PASS Summit - next week! This is our first true summit with a unique theme. The theme will be a prominent part of the Summit experience. I quickly wanted to give you a sneak peek at the registration area that will welcome attendees to the summit. Expect a Heroes welcome and see you at the summit next week.

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Getting ready for a great PASS Summit

Of late, I have been witnessing an absolutely un-precedented flurry of activities at PASS HQ, signaling the arrival of the Summit. All the months of planning, preparation, conference calls, pouring over budgets and late nights all lead to what will be the largest and best SQL Server Event in PASS history! I cannot share the numbers just yet - you will probably need to wait to witness it first hand at the summit or read my blog posting during the summit :) I am getting in on Saturday and my calendar has already been filling up. I have heard from so many of you who are attending the summit - I can hardly wait to meet you!

There are just so many exciting things planned for the summit. All the way from all the new announcements that PASS will make at the summit (hint: some are related to technology!), to things we intend to do during the summit to enhance summit goers experience. You are sure to witness a new PASS! Oh - don't forget to wake up early on Thursday morning and get to the keynote in time - least you miss my debut on the big stage! I am still debating on whether I will keep my beard or shave it for the keynote! - what do you think?

I also just completed my slides for a case study that I am presenting during Erik Veerman's keynote on Designing, Planning, and Tuning a Scalable BI Solution. I will be talking about a scale-out SSIS solution that I built at Microsoft recently.The session I am most looking forward to, is the volunteer session on Tuesday morning. This is an opportunity to get valuable input from all the wonderful and dedicated PASS volunteers to help drive the direction of PASS. I also heard through the grapevines that the SIG Bowl preparations are going very well. You will have to be at the welcome reception to be part of the action. I have thoroughly enjoyed the SIG bowl in the past. I am sure that you have heard of the Thursday evening Heroes party - I was reviewing some of the plans for that event and I must say - I am very excited and looking forward to it. Don't miss it.

Talking of activities, we will also have elections happening at the summit for open board positions. Look out for your ballot in your email. I assure you that this election process is much less stressful than the recent presidential elections - unless of course the candidates try to BLOCK the others - but then I am sure that our SQL experts know how to deal with it! 

Oh - another bit of news - PASS recently hired a full-time IT  person - David Yang and Monday was his first day! His first task - ... oh I can't tell you just yet. Stay tuned...

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