3-Weeks to PASS Summit 2010 Countdown -

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Only 3 more weeks until the PASS Summit and it’s time for another countdown post. I’ve done a few of these now ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ) to hopefully prepare readers for the opportunities at PASS. Trying make sure that you will know as much as possible about the summit to get the most out of it.

Of course, this won’t be as helpful if you haven’t registered to attend. I would really recommend getting… registered! If you need some reasons to attend outside of this post, I wrote a post on some of the reasons I attend the PASS Summit.

PASS Summit 2010 Banner

Exhibit Hall

The theme for this post is the exhibit hall. This is typical fare for any conference, but lets take a moment to take a look at some of the things in the exhibit hall.  We’ll start first with the sponsors…

PASS Sponsors

The sponsors at PASS are important. True, they are there for their own interests but these interests serve us in the community.  Let’s look at a couple benefits that we get from the sponsors doing this.

First of all, they help fund the event so that we can attend for the prices we currently pay. If you’ve sat through the keynotes before then you you know that just the cost of beverages for the PASS Summit is in the 10′s of thousands of dollars. This stuff isn’t free and the sponsors help make it possible.

Second, the sponsors provide tools and learning opportunities for the SQL Server community. These sponsors range from Microsoft who, of course, brought us SQL Server to tool vendors to educational organizations.  Part of the reason they are there is, of course, to try to generate some revenue.  But this revenue is generated through providing value to you.

Take some time to stop in and visit the sponsors. One of them may just be selling the tool that will give you back your weekends. Or maybe they have something that will cover the duties of the extra DBA your team really needs.

Keep an eye out in the exhibit hall for some presentations from the sponsors that feature their products and what they can do for you. Their is even a Expo Partner Theatre in the hall where they will have a time to engage the community more.

Ask The Experts

Once you’ve toured the exhibit hall, head to the back wall, because back there a number of SQL Server MVPs and SQLCAT members will be hanging out to answer questions and talk about SQL Server.  The is the PASS Summit’s Ask the Experts booth.

Whenever the exhibit hall is open, you can sit down with an expert or two and get a conversation going on pretty much anything SQL Server related.  The area is broken down into the following ten categories:

Ask the Experts Table Topics Focus Areas
SQL Server Business Intelligence Self-Service BI, Excel Services, PerformancePoint Services, SSAS, OLAP and Data Mining
Data Warehousing SQL Server 2008 DW,  Fast Track Data Warehouse, Project Madison, Compression, Partitioning, Performance
SQL Server Reporting Services Report Design, Reporting Services Management, Reporting Services & SharePoint Integration
SQL Server Integration Services High-Speed Connectivity, DTS to SSIS Migration
Data Development Sync Framework, Entity Framework, LINQ, ADO.NET, ADO.NET Data Services, ODBC, OLE DB,TSQL, PHP Driver, JDBC Driver, Oslo, M, Quadrant and Repository, SQL Azure
SQL Server Programmability T-SQL, Spatial, XML, Filestream, Full-Text Search, Service Broker, Sparse Columns, Filtered Indexes, Hierarchy ID
High Availability, Virtualization, Consolidation Clustering, Mirroring, Log Shipping, Data Recovery, Replication, Hyper-V™, What to consider while setting up SQL for virtualization, best practices and guidelines, Use of
virtualization for HA (Host clustering–Windows team), Live
migration and other provisioning–Windows team
Manageability, Security, Compliance Setup, Policy-Based Management, Data Collector, PowerShell™, Management Studio, Encryption, Auditing, Compliance
Performance & Scalability Optimizer, Shared Databases, Resource Governor
SQLCAT Architecture, Design, Project Discussion, Customer Learnings

So if you need a question answered or want to just talk about an aspect of SQL Server – come on down and join the conversation.  Who knows – the guy that gets there before you might be talking about the issue or project you have to work on next month.

Meet the Bloggers

Tucked even further back behind the Ask the Experts tables there are will be a bunch of couches.  Tired people and bloggers (not mutually exclusive) are planning to be hanging out on the couches.

This is an area new to the PASS Summit and it offers bloggers a place to sit and relax – and maybe a place to pop out another blog.  Also this area will offer attendees a chance to meet some of the community bloggers they follow.  You can ask them about your favorite articles.  Or even how to get started.

Look out for the official announcement on this area on Monday – it’s shaping up to be a cool new addition to the summit.

Chalk Talks

PASS is a busy place and sometimes you can’t get to every topic that you need to see.  Chalk Talks in the exhibit hall offer a chance to see a topic over a shorter period within a more intimate setting.  It’s not candle light – but it is a crowd less than 100.  Defintely an opportunity to ask more focused questions and get some great information.

There’s a lot going on at the PASS Summit – don’t forget about the Exhibit Hall and make sure you take full advantage of it.  Who know… you might win a Zune from just by hanging out there like I did a couple years back.