Things have been buzzing at PASS with the 24 Hours of PASS web event in March, the first-ever PASS SQLRally conference in Orlando in May, the ongoing SQLSaturday events, and PASS Summit in October. With all the activity going on though, you might be wondering about the European Conference. What’s happening with this event? Is it taking place? Is it dead? Is PASS focused just on US events now?

The answer to the last is a resounding ‘no!’ Let me take a step back to give you the longer answer and address the other questions.

The PASS Board met at the last Summit for a full day deep-dive into PASS planning. Central to our discussions were two key topics: global growth and the European Conference. We talked a lot about how PASS as an organization can better reach out to SQL Server users around the globe, what governance models could work best, and how to more effectively achieve our mission of connecting, sharing, and learning with users worldwide. We set a goal to support as many global regions as possible with a viable event model.

At the meeting, we also discussed and approved postponing the European Conference from its ‘usual’ Spring timeframe. The reason was partly due to time constraints and partly because we felt we needed to examine if what we were offering was truly a ‘European’ conference and if we were fulfilling the needs of the regional user communities in the best way possible.

Do we have an answer? Not yet but we’re working on it. We’re discussing ideas with community leaders in Europe and looking at a bunch of options. We’ve gotten great feedback on the SQLRally model: 2-day grassroots events delivering high quality training at a low cost. In fact, plans are underway for 2 more SQLRally events to be delivered in 2011! Watch out for information soon on the SQLRally Nordic event being organized by an awesome group of local community leaders in Sweden.

We’re really excited about the response from the community and about extending the SQLRally model around the world. We’re working on providing future SQLRally organizers with templates, guidelines, best practices, and other building blocks so they can more easily produce excellent events regionally. This model may be the one to follow for now. Perhaps we can grow the organization, volunteer, and member bases to the point where we could run an event in Europe–and elsewhere–along the lines of a PASS Summit. That’s a goal to strive for!

So, we’re not there yet but we hope to arrive soon. If you have any comments, ideas, contributions, or want to host a SQLRally event in your region, let us know. Climb aboard and join us for the ride!

Rushabh Mehta