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Announcing Mentors for New PASS Nordic Region

We are excited to announce the formation of the PASS Nordic Region, formalizing our support for the tremendous Nordic SQL Server Community. To help us provide this support, we have appointed two leaders of that community who will serve as PASS Regional Mentors. The countries represented in PASS Nordic are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
It is also a pleasure to announce that Johan Åhlén and Raoul Illyés  have accepted our invitations to become PASS Nordic's first Regional Mentors. Johan is a Microsoft MVP and Chairman of the Swedish SQL Server User Group.
Raoul is a leading voice in the Nordic SQL Server community and a founding partner of the PASS SQLRally Nordic event. He is based in Denmark and recently joined the PASS Board of Directors as a non-voting member in support of our international outreach efforts.
Our efforts to work more closely with the Nordic Region are in alignment with PASS's global initiative. Supporting this initiative, the PASS Board recently appointed three International Board Members: Rob Farley (Australia), James Rowland-Jones (UK), and Raoul Illyés (Denmark), also mentioned above as a new Regional Mentor. 
Furthering our efforts to support the international SQL Server community, PASS SQLRally Nordic will be held in Aronsborg, Sweden, November 8-9.
PASS Regional Mentors have extensive experience with the local and regional SQL Server Community and provide help and guidance to leaders of our local chapters worldwide. The Regional Mentors work closely with the PASS Community Team.
Please join me in welcoming Johan and Raoul as PASS Nordic Regional Mentors, and check out more information about PASS Regions and Chapters here.
-- Mark

Mark Ginnebaugh
PASS Director, Global Chapters

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PASS Goes Global

We are excited to introduce some changes to PASS in an effort to connect global SQL Server communities and foster relationships between our professionals – wherever they’re located. PASS began in 1999 with a vision to empower all of our SQL Server communities to connect, share, and learn. To meet these objectives for our global community, PASS needs to change who we are and how we engage with communities. The direction for how we evolve needs to be paved by people representing the diversity of voices we want to support and connect with.

Earlier this month, representatives from PASS traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, to meet with key community leaders Johan Åhlén and Raoul Illyés from the Nordic region, James Rowland-Jones and Simon Sabin from the UK, and Rob Farley and Greg Low representing Australia/New Zealand. These leaders represent regions that have vibrant and healthy communities and bring diverse voices and viewpoints as well as a shared passion for the SQL Server community.
The primary purpose of the two-day meeting was to discuss our shared goals to strengthen and connect global communities and how we can work together to help all of the communities. The team identified an initial set of priorities that we all believe to be important first initiatives, including:
• Localizing communications from PASS
• Increasing the value proposition of chapters
• Supporting global events
• Exposing event content

As a first step, based on the recommendation from the team that met in Stockholm, the PASS board unanimously voted to appoint Raoul Illyés, James Rowland-Jones, and Rob Farley as non-voting members of the board for a period of one year.

We welcome the ideas and enthusiasm that each of these leaders has brought to their respective communities as an opportunity to help shape the future of PASS. These three appointees will join a team that will define a plan to evolve our governance structure so that PASS better meets the needs of global communities. As a secondary objective, this team will actively participate in various board discussions to ensure that the global perspective and needs are central to every PASS initiative.

We recently read a quote from a TechNet wiki that states, “Individuals are smart, but communities are wise.” These changes are based on our belief that the efforts to connect individual international communities will make all communities stronger. We hope you share our excitement about this next stage for how PASS can support you and your local SQL Server communities.


NomCom Finalized

The 2011 Nomination Committee (NomCom) – a team that assesses and reviews all PASS Board of Director applicants – has been finalized. Three community members have stepped forward to serve in this important role: Bradley Ball, Jack Corbett and Roy Ernest.
After the NomCom nomination period, with 3 applicants all meeting the qualification criteria, the election process was no longer necessary and the three applicants were approved by the Board to sit on the NomCom. The final composition of the NomCom is as follows:
•         Bradley Ball
•         Jack Corbett
•         Roy Ernest
•         Thomas LaRock (Board of Directors Representative)
•         Wayne Snyder (NomCom Chairperson)
To find out more about the NomCom members, please check out their bios and blogs.
If you didn’t apply for the NomCom but are still interested in helping better PASS and building a stronger community, there are more opportunities around the corner. The PASS Board of Director’s Elections are coming up. Applications will open on October 5th, 2011. More details will be posted on the elections website as they develop. 

Congratulations to Bradley, Jack, and Roy! The Nomination Committee plays an important role in PASS’s growth, and these members are a valued addition.

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PASS SQLSaturday Recap

PASS community bloggers love their SQLSaturdays, and they love to tell everyone about their experiences, so who are we not to share that love?

PASS SQLSaturdays have been mixing work with play this summer. Despite vacations and summer hours (you know who you are),
hundreds of you have come together for SQLSaturday events for a good mix of technical topics at a variety of skill levels. There's
always something of interest for everyone! PASS SQLSaturday travelled to Birmingham for SQLSaturday #81, to Wheeling for
SQLSaturday #80, then Baton Rouge for SQLSaturday #64 and lastly to South Florida for some fun in the sun at SQLSaturday #79.

For those of you not in the know, SQLSaturday is a free training event for SQL Server professionals and anyone wanting to learn about
SQL Server. Admittance to these events is free as costs are covered by generous donations and sponsorships. 

Bradley Ball digging his new shirt at SQLSaturday#79!

All work and no play at SQLSaturday #80 in Wheeling

Beautiful Birmingham played host to SQLSaturday #81

Baton Rouge got its SQL on at SQLSaturday #64

On Twitter? Follow @sqlpass and make sure to check out the #sqlsat and #sqlsaturday hashtags to stay up to date. Besides
attendance at free learning events, there are many speaking and sponsorship opportunities available.


+Wes Brown presented at SQLSaturday #64, Baton Rouge, LA

+Carlos Bossy presented at SQLSaturday #64, Baton Rouge, LA

+ Hugh Thomas participated in SQLSaturday #81, Birmingham

+ Andy Warren participated in SQLSaturday #81, Birmingham

+John Sterret helped organize SQLSaturday #80, Wheeling, WV

+Matt Velic snapped some pics at SQLSaturday #80, Wheeling, WV

+ Bradley Ball presented at SQLSaturday #79, South FL

+ Thomas LaRock presented at SQLSaturday #79, South FL


August wraps with a SQLSaturday double-header! September is all about back-to-school so grab your calendars, it's going to be a busy month.

Aug 27: SQLSaturday #90, Oklahoma City

Aug 27: SQLSaturday #91, Omaha

Sept 3: SQLSaturday #88, Western Cape, South Africa

Sept 10: SQLSaturday #94, Salt Lake City

Stay tuned for more events this fall–PASS SQLSaturdays are added all the time!


PASS SQLSaturday got a makeover! As you know, PASS SQLSaturday events have been on the rise and also branched out internationally to Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa, and Portugal. This growth prompted a refresh of the SQLSaturday website, including an updated logo, a more polished look and feel, and improvements to such features as the schedule builder and login credentials. Check out the updated SQLSaturday website and see for yourself!

Want to attend or speak at a SQLSaturday? Check out the SQLSaturday website or "Upcoming In-Person Events" on the PASS Home page for upcoming dates near you.

Want to put on your own SQLSaturday? Click here to get started.

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Call for NomCom Applications Kicks off Elections Season

The PASS 2011 elections season is officially upon us with today’s opening of the call for Nomination Committee (NomCom) applications.

The NomCom is at the heart of the elections process, ensuring that each applicant for the four open Board of Director seats in this year’s general election possesses the characteristics and attributes necessary to lead the world’s largest independent, user-led organization for SQL Server professionals. This year, the PASS community will select three of the NomCom members, who will join me and another Board member on the 5-person committee.

To be eligible for the NomCom, candidates must have a demonstrable track record of volunteering with PASS, such as serving as a Regional Mentor, Chapter Leader, Virtual Chapter Leader, Program Committee member, or speaker (at PASS Summit, PASS SQLRally, SQLSaturday, or 24 Hours of PASS) or participating in other volunteer capacities.

If you meet the eligibility requirements and would like to serve on the NomCom, I encourage you to submit an application by August 19. NomCom voting will run from August 24 to September 9, with all PASS members as of June 1, 2011, eligible to vote. The top three vote-getters will be elected to the NomCom and immediately get down to the business of managing this year’s general election process.

Note that the NomCom is an essential part of the PASS Board of Directors elections process and requires a substantial commitment of time and effort. By applying for the NomCom, you are agreeing to the time commitments of the entire general election process – including a lengthy applicant interview process currently set to start in late November or early December.

Serving on the NomCom, however, is also an extremely satisfying experience and one of the most important ways you can give back to the PASS community. If you’re interested in running for the NomCom or know someone who would make an ideal candidate, please review the details on the PASS Elections website, which includes a complete timeline for this year’s elections process. And make sure to follow and join in the discussion on twitter using the #passvotes hashtag.

Thanks for getting involved!
--Wayne Snyder



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2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Allan Hirt

 Today's post is from Allan Hirt who will be presenting "A Deep Dive into AlwaysOn:Failover Clustering and Availability Groups". You can read more about his session here: .

Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?
There has been a lot of buzz around all the changes in high availability that come as part of Denali. This session is for those who want to jumpstart their knowledge, and focuses on both failover clustering and the new availability groups feature from a DBA/IT/infrastructure, not a developer, perspective.


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?

  1. Learn the essentials of the new AlwaysOn availability groups feature in SQL Server Denali
  2. Understand how to plan and implement an underlying Windows failover cluster for not only a standard SQL Server failover cluster, but ones that are multi-site as well as for AlwaysOn availability groups
  3. See live demos to how how DBAs will actually need to implement and administer these features. This will not be just a day’s worth of theory from slide presentations that is not usable in the real world.

What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?
Since there is no plan to teach the basics of failover clustering, attendees should have at least a working knowledge of clusters because clusters not only play a role in the traditional failover clustering aspects of Denali, but in availability groups as well.

What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
Besides being a Microsoft Cluster MVP who can talk to both Windows and SQL Server, I have been working with one of Microsoft’s Denali TAP customers since Spring 2011 on a multi-site deployment combining both clustered instances and availability groups. I also bring close to 20 years of experience with SQL Server including consulting, training, and writing numerous whitepapers, articles, and books. I do not just do this stuff in a lab; I help customers in the real world.

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2011 PASS Summit Pre-Con Preview - Rob Farley

Today's post is from Rob Farley who will be presenting "Fixing Queries With Advanced T-SQL Constructs".  You can read more about his
session here:
Is there an audience that would benefit especially from this session?
A lot of people are quite good at T-SQL. They can write queries to solve most of their problems, and they probably understand indexing principles - able to pick the ideal covering index for their queries, and probably know to look in the Execution Plan to look for ‘bad things’ such as Index Scans and Lookups. However, I see a lot of things that people don’t really know about writing queries and the relationship to plans. I know they don’t, because I remember learning them myself. I remember making that shift from being able to write ‘good queries’ to being able to write the queries that matched the plans I wanted to see being produced.

But you don’t have to be particularly good at T-SQL already. The kind of person I think will get the most out of this seminar is the person who is merely comfortable writing queries, and interested in being stretched to think differently.

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 favourite piece of feedback from any of my Advanced T-SQL classes is when someone writes "You’ve made me want to pull up every query I’ve ever written." It’s not because they suddenly have tools to assess their queries better (although they will certainly have the opportunity to learn to assess queries), but because they’ve developed an interest in thinking about their queries more. I’ll show people the profoundness of what they already know, and they’ll probably think of times they’ve used those constructs without considering the impact of them. I’ve had people remote into their machines during my talks to see if they’re taking full advantage of the things I’m showing.

As well as that, people will get renewed hope that they can tune some of their nastier queries even more. We all have queries that we have given up on, and I hope that I can persuade people that there is almost always hope, even for the worst of them. The things I’ll be showing can affect a lot of queries, so I’m sure there will be something for even the most frustrating of queries.

What background should attendees ideally have to be fully prepared for your seminar?
I’m going to assume that attendees are not complete beginners with T-SQL. I figure if I show a simple GROUP BY statement, that someone’s going to understand what I’m showing. But I don’t expect that they should have a certain level of expertise before coming. The biggest prerequisite I see for this is to have an interest in getting the most out of T-SQL. If they’re coming to hear my jokes, they’ll be disappointed - my jokes aren’t really that good.

What experience are you, as a speaker, bringing to this session?
Well, I’ve taught Advanced T-SQL for a number of years, using my own courseware, and have delivered this seminar before with excellent feedback. I’ve done public speaking for a long time, and promise to make the day enjoyable as well as instructional. I’ve had some of the best in the industry say that I’m one of the best explainers out there, and I take pleasure in helping people really get the concepts that I’m showing. I try for a mix of the light-hearted and eye-opening, that generally works well. I don’t try for massively deep and obscure; I go for profound, and may make your head hurt as you start seeing the possibilities for the code you can write.

Oh, but if you’ve never seen an execution plan before, then consider going to Grant & Gail’s session. I’m sure that will be very good too.


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