PASS is running a contest to find out the Best thing you learned at the PASS Summit. This could win you free registration or a free hotel at Summit 2009. I wanted to share the best thing’s I have learned at the summit.
Best Technical Lesson
My best technical lesson was at my first summit I took a Pre-con from Kimberly Tripp. It was on managing the DB and internals for SQL Server. Anyone that has taken one of Kimberly’s sessions knows it’s about so much more. It always amazes me to see her present. She speaks fast but concise it’s like she has millions of rows of data stuck in her and she knows just the queries in her head to get the right information to send out. Considering her knowledge of Indexes and SQL Internals this might not be far from the truth.
During this sessions I learned what system tables were and where they were located and about the internals of how Indexes actually worked. This has been the one thing that’s helped me more than anything else technically. I continue to learn and be thrilled with how the internals work because of this session. I spent the next few weeks after pass playing around inside the system tables. I’ve spent the last few years continuing to read and understand the internal workings of the optimizer and the engine so that I understand SQL Server better. In a recent project we designed a new schema for a new project we were working on. Because of this knowledge I had learned I was able to map out indexes on tables based on the queries I had seen from the developer. When it came time for the app to start running and testing we couldn’t locate any missing indexes in the model for what the system was doing. Here is some more reasons I attend the summit.
The Reason I attend the Summit
There is a lot of great technical content at PASS and I personally feel you can’t get a better set of technical DBA style talks anywhere at one time. But this is not the reason I attend the summit. I attend because of a “Fruity” drink that I had in Sept of 2004 at dinner with 2 people I had never met before. I attend because I was given a chance to wear a Walmart vest and help other people at the conference. I attend because I sat down on a Wednesday morning for the first time at a breakfast table with a bunch people I didn’t know.
These are all experiences I have had because of PASS. I still find new things every year that when I attend. New people to help and in New ways. My goal with attending the summit every year is to help someone to become a better DBA/Developer/Admin. I do this because I know in doing so it will make me better at what I do. So my goal each year since my first summit has been to help others to get the most out of the summit.
So my good friend Thom (aka SQL Rockstar) interviewed me recently as a PASS Board of Director. Great Blog article by him go read it if you haven’t already. If you have well read it again. An additional story of that first week was Dinner that first night. Allen, Thom and Myself all agreed to get dinner somewhere as the conference got over that day. This was before we had tons of Vendor dinners or volunteer Parties to attend to. The Gaylord Palms hotel was a city all in itself and had a large boat in the middle of the atrium area that served as a restaurant. So we decided on the Boat Restaurant inside the hotel.
We ordered some drinks with dinner the one drink that stood out was mine(Thom and Allen had beer). I have a tendency to like Mai Tai’s and anything in the Rum/Caribbean type of alcohol. So naturally I got something from the menu that was a little “Fruity”. Took Thom a few years to truly give me flack about my Mai Tai habit which lead to a interesting evening in Denver. I digress that’s another story for another time.
I remember during the conversation we really just discussed different ways to do things with SQL Server. We discussed volunteering and running chapters (I ran my local chapter at the time). Overall it helped to set the stage for me to want to continue to volunteer and help others in PASS. Just knowing that I could meet people like this and learn from them and them learn from me was a huge advantage to me and made me keep wanting to come back. I’ve attended many conferences for the first time since this first PASS summit. None have had an impact on me like this one.
So what is the best reason to attend the summit. As any consultant will tell you “It Depends”. The Best reason for you to attend the PASS Summit might be to meet others and build a network or it might be to find a great technical tidbit you didn’t know. You can find lots of reasons here on the PASS Site.
Whatever the reason might be I know one thing is 100% certain you will have people there willing to help and maybe even share a “Fruity” drink with.