Patrick Purviance – SQL Server DBA Blog
Blogging impactful solutions for SQL Server DBAs worldwide

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

SQL PASS Summit 2011 – A First Timers View – Day 3

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

This post is part 3 of at least a 4 post article on my First Timer view of the SQL PASS Summit as I experienced it personally.  If you missed the first posts, click here.

Day 3

Day 3 for me, Day 2 of the Summit (Thursday) rolls around and today I’ve gotten up a little earlier to make it on the shuttle over to the convention center for the free breakfast at the Summit.  Yesterday I mentioned in my Day 2 summation that the hot breakfast from the Marriott was a better choice.  Don’t get me wrong, the breakfast at the Summit in the dining hall was OK, with typical cereal, yougurt and continental items, but it just wasn’t as good as the hot fresh breakfast items at the hotel.  So to me, in the end, the 10 block walk is worth it if your hotel is providing a hot breakfast for free too…

Anyway, on to the Summit Day 2 Keynote.  Plus, it’s SQL Kilt Day, so Bill Graziano, PASS Executive VP, is in a kilt, like another 30 or so other attendees, to introduce Day 2 and Quentin Clark (Corporate Vice President, SQL Server Database Systems Group Microsoft Corp) as the keynote speaker.

Quentin provided a second keynote comprised of a sales pitch.  This time focused mostly on what he called the “Fantastic 12”, the top 12 important features in SQL Server 2012.  Quentin is an entertaining speaker and also brought out quite a few Microsoft technologists and experts to cover the “Fantastic 12” in the keynote:

#1 Required 9’s & Protection – SSIS is a server, AlwaysOn, and HA for StreamInsight
#2 Blazing Fast Performance improvements to the SQL Engine, SSIS, and SSAS (and the new ColumnStore index (really sweet for DWH))
#3 Rapid Data Exploration
#4 Managed, Self-Service BI – Power View, PowerPivot
#5 Credible Consistent Data – Data Quality Services; Master Data Services
#6 Organizational Compliance Auditing; User-defined server roles
#7 Peace of mind – Distributed Replay Utility; System Center Advisor / MPs; Premier Mission Critical support
#8 Scalable data warehousing – Optimized & pre-tuned appliances from multiple vendors
#9 Fast time to solution
#10 Extend Any Data, Anywhere – Drivers for PHP, Java, Hadoop; ODBC drivers for Linux & CDC for SSIS & Oracle
#11 Optimized productivity SQL Server Data Tools (“Juneau”) for both OLTP and BI; deployment + targeting “freedom”
#12 Scale on demand AlwaysOn; Elastic Scale & Federation

Again, lots of demos and a lot of time spent talking about the Parallel Data Warehouse turn-key data warehousing hardware platform.  At least it was a good amount of information shoved into the space.

To see the entire keynote for yourself, click this link.

The rest of the day was just like the first day, filled with sessions and Expert Pods and a quick stop into the SQL Server Clinic put on by Microsoft and staffed with escalation team and sqlCAT team members to answer tough questions you brought with you.  Unfortunately, I have tough questions about merge and transactional replication issues and there was no one in the clinic to answer them.  The recommended I post them to them to the MS forums or Connect.  I did get to take a bag full of SWAG for my SQL PASS Chapter though, so that was a #win.

Thursday evening was the night of the Microsoft sponsored Community Appreciation Party held across the street from the convention center at Gamewerks.  This event was awesome.  A huge sportsbar/arcade cover a massive amount of square footage.  There was free food and drinks again of course.  And then, to spur networking, there was a contest where you had to find 5 new people, get to know them a bit, and have them put their name and email addy on a card.  I met some neat people, played a bunch of games, and found out the next day that I’d won in that contest.  A new xBox360 Kinect!  #winning #sqlpass rocks!

Back to the hotel instead of where a lot of people go, SQL Karaoke, but it was a great night anyhow.  The walk back to the hotel was chilly, but I called my wife and we chatted the entire walk back.  #morewinning

Little work for the company to wind down and some shut eye to prepare for the final day….was almost sad it was this close to the end…..


SQL PASS Summit 2011 – A First Timers View – Day 2

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

This post is part 2 of at least a 4 post article on my First Timer view of the SQL PASS Summit as I experienced it personally.  If you missed the first post, click here.

Day 2

So day 2 began with a fairly early rise.  I was staying about 10 blocks from the Washington State Convention Center (again, at the Marriott Spring Hill Suites), so I would need to walk or catch the shuttle at the top of each hour.  I missed the 7AM shuttle by about 5 minutes trying to get ready, so I opted for a hot breakfast at the hotel (which we’ll find later was a good choice).  After a hot breakfast, I trekked it up to the convention center and checked Guidebook (a fantastic additional scheduling and conference organizational tool that PASS decided to use again this year I hear) for any changes to schedules or sessions I was interested in, and then headed into the main conference room for the first Keynote and opening of the 2011 SQL PASS Summit. 

So although there was a lot of Tweeting and blogging going on during the keynote by Ted Kummert (Senior Vice President, Business Platform Division Microsoft Corp), I’ll highlight some things I thought were important, but below are my takeaways:

       *  SQL Server “Denali” is now officially named SQL Sever 2012 and will be released to RTM the first half of 2012
       *  Microsoft has recognized Big Data, and its associated technologies, are very real things and are releasing a provider/connector for Hadoop
       *  SQL Server Deep Dives 2 is being premiered at the Summit and you can get it signed by many of the 54 co-authors here at the Summit

To see the entire keynote for yourself, click this link.

Now, if you’re still with me, the keynote was cool as a first timer because I’d never seen this much of a production put on for a technology conference.  4000 attendees, making this the biggest Summit yet, in attendance and chomping at the bit to get the latest information and ready to get onto a full day of sessions and networking.  The anxiety and excitement was almost palpable.  As the keynote closed, everyone was again welcomed to the Summit and we all headed our separate, but collective ways, to our intended sessions. 

If I hadn’t already mentioned it, there were 170 sessions over 3 days.  With only five 45 minute to 1 hr 15 minute sessions (and some even spanned two sessions because of their depth), you do the math.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day (or even a solid week for that matter) to see it all.  Guess that’s what the DVD’s are for.

So I attended sessions on Day 2.  All good.  Some great.  Lunch was a chapter luncheon, so I sat at a table specifically designated for the Wichita, Omaha, and Lincoln SQL Server User Groups.  Unbelievably I was the only one there from the Wichita area.  Got to meet some cool people though, and hope we’ll stay connected and share often.  Later in the day I got to spend some time in the Exhibition Hall looking at the different vendor’s offerings and signing up for all the giveaways to be done the next day.  It was fun.  There were also SQL Server Expert Pods located all over the 6th floor to cover a range of topics.  Always manned by MVPs or Microsoft Experts, these are great places to spend the session hours, especially if you have a question you need answered and you’re going to buy the DVDs anyway.

After the regular conference day is thru, there are plenty of after-hours events and parties to get invites to if you spent your time well with the vendor’s.  Make an effort to be sure you have options for the evenings, and don’t just head back to your hotel.  Again, I don’t drink, but hanging out with your SQL comrades is fun even when you’re sober.

Day 2 in the books.  Tired, but really having a good time.  Met some cool people.  Chatted with MVPs, experts, and SQL Server Community celebrities.  #SQLWinning

Check back tomorrow for Day 3 (2nd conference day) details.


SQL PASS Summit 2011 – A First Timers View

Monday, October 24th, 2011

So, as promised, I’m lightly documenting my experience as a first timer at the SQL PASS Summit. In the next few posts, I’ll be specifically covering the 2011 Summit, held in Seattle, WA. I’ll break it up by day, beginning with travel and what to expect.

Also, there are plenty of other articles out there from well experienced PASS Summit attendees, so I encourage you to read all you can prior to your first trip to what is truly the largest, best supported, and well carried out technical conference I’ve ever attended. Without further ado….

Day 1 of my First Timer experience of SQL PASS Summit 2011

Travel to the Summit
Day 1 was the Tuesday before the first day of the Summit. It began with a two-stop flight from Wichita to Seattle, with the stop in Denver. No hassles anywhere along the way there. It was when I arrived at SEATAC that things began to get interesting. I had read and heard that Seattle had a Light Rail Train system and that the cost was only a few dollars to get from the airport to just about anywhere between SEATAC and downtown Seattle, so I immediately set off to find the Light Rail. That was a bit of a trek, but nothing deadly ;). It was on the third level, accessed from a walkway connecting the airport parking garage to the Light Rail. There were plenty of signs along the way. Once you get to the Light Rail, there’s no one posted to talk to or ask questions, which you’re sure to have if this is your first time. You walk thru the gates and must purchase a ticket to ride the train based upon your destination. For the Summit, the very last stop (Westlake Center) was what I wanted, but the maps are difficult to read and figure out when there’s line of people behind you at the ticket kiosk, so I chose the University destination. I then went up the escalator to the train loading areas and luckily didn’t have to wait for a train since one was there already. (SEATAC is the southern most end of the Light Rail system, so any train is going where you want to go). I jumped on and took a seat. Then waited for 5 minutes and the train took off, north bound. I only wasted all this time to talk about the Light Rail train to highlight my mistake on the destination (which forced me to walk a lot more with bags in tow to get to my hotel (Marriott Spring Hill Suites) and to let you know that it took the train about 50 minutes to get from SEATAC to Westlake.

Summit Registration
Once I got to the hotel, I checked in, dropped off my bags, and headed over to the Washington State Convention Center, the site of the Summit in 2011. Registration was easy. It was on the 4th floor, up two sets of escalators in the main hall of the center. Lots of people were posted on the 4th and 6th floors (both PASS volunteers and convention center staff) to direct you to what you needed. I registered (4th floor thru the doors on the left to enter the Summit site) around 1:15PM Tuesday afternoon and there was zero wait. The registration volunteers were cheerful and very helpful, explaining what everything was for. Not sure if that would be the case if there were lines, but it was nice for me.

PASS Chapter Leader Mtg
I then grabbed lunch at the Subway out in the main hall on the 4th floor and read thru some of the program guide and mini-schedule. For those of us who are PASS Chapter Leaders, there was a pre-conference meeting that I attended Tuesday @ 2:30PM. I met a few other chapter leaders and we chatted for a while before the meeting. Finding people I already had something in common with right off the bat was nice.

First Timer Orientation
After the chapter leader meeting, it was already time for the first timers meeting. This was something new this year. Thomas Larock ( Twitter: @SQLRockStar) and other PASS leaders and volunteers coordinated a Big Brother/Sisters solution to the issues of attendees not returning to the Summit because they felt they arrived alone, ate alone, spent the evenings alone, and left without making any real contacts. I don’t know, honestly, if the Big Brother/Sister program worked well due to the fact that is very difficult to stay in contact with any of the people in your group after you initially meet. Our group never got back together. And with all the different sessions, experience levels, and goals for the summit, I can understand how that could be difficult. It would have been nice to have some more group lunches or breakfast or something. In the end I did meet one person that I really felt we hit if off well together and did manage to hang out with a few times during the summit. So that was a win.

Speed Networking
After the first timers met their group and Big Brother/Sister, we all went into a huge room where all 800 first timers sat in on a 45 minute Speed Networking session by Don Gabor. We learned the importance of introducing and selling ourselves within a couple minute’s time during this session, which was like a massive 800 person speed dating party. Every 3 or 4 minutes you moved down to the chair and met someone new. Interesting for sure.

First Timers Red Carpet Welcome
At the end of the Speed Networking session the two large displays showed the insides of the even larger conf room next door (the main conf room) where the current PASS President (Rushabh Mehta) was on stage and welcoming everyone to the 2011 PASS Summit. At the end of that welcome, he introduced the first timers and a huge black curtain between the two rooms fell and all 800 first timers entered Welcome Reception thru lots of fog, lights, and a red carpet. Pretty sweet way to start the Summit. We were all rock stars!

Welcome Reception
Alright, so on to the lowdown on the Welcome Reception. It was around 4000 people in a huge ballroom. Dimly lit, free food and drinks, and lots of movement and noise. Some of that is where I have some complaints. There weren’t any signs or indications of where things were. As a first timer, I had no idea what was going on and decided that if I didn’t just grab some food, I wasn’t going to get any (turned out that wasn’t the case). With 4000 people and cuisine specific buffet tables in different areas of the room, getting around was tough and you didn’t know what was available unless you got around the whole room. I was also disappointed in the fact that although drinks were free, there was nothing non-alcoholic aside from water.

During the reception party, a group of SQL Server community “celebrities” were brought on stage along with 4 attendees and 4 teams played Quiz Bowl, a team based version of Jeopardy, with answers consisting of funny combinations of SQL Server technology and pop culture. Entertaining, and those attendees walked away with prizes.

First Afterhours Event
As the Welcome Reception was drawing to a close, many people began heading out to various after hours events and this is where the PASS Summit to me is vastly different from other technology conferences. As a first timer I wasn’t sure what to expect, but had heard that getting yourself invited to afterhours stuff was critical in experiencing the Summit the right way because you get to hang out with other SQL Server professionals in a mostly social way. Sure there was still a lot of shop talk, but it was usually surrounded by a party. This night, as a chapter leader, I attended an invitation only event sponsored by PASS for volunteers and speakers at the Garage, around 10 blocks from the convention center. I caught a cab with group of people, so it was only a couple bucks each. Most were already blitzed and I don’t drink, but I can have a good time w/o, so it was all good. At this party it was a little more difficult finding people to talk to here, but I think it was because most of them weren’t first timers. They were reconnecting, which is understandable. I did meet some people and have some cool conversations just by sitting down and introducing myself. I shared a cab with some other leaders back to my hotel around midnight and then did some work and hit the sack. The next day (Wednesday) was the first conference day and started at 8AM, so I needed some sleep.

At the end of the 1st day, I’d already met a handful of people I really liked and would chat with during the rest of the Summit off and on. And that’s honestly what the Summit all about. Realizing you’re all there with the same passion for SQL Server and overcoming fear and putting yourself out there. You’ll be accepted here….

As the PASS mantra goes, Connect/Share/Learn.

Well, that’s it for today. Tomorrow, Day 2.


2011 SQL PASS Summit coming…preparing for the 3-day long blog…ASUS Transformer Tablet purchase

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Well, the 2011 SQL PASS Summit in Seattle, WA, is fast approaching….2 weeks until the biggest SQL Server based technology community convergence begins and being an official first-timer, I’m not totally sure what to expect, but I’m planning to share every day what it’s like on this blog.

To start things off right, I found a killer deal with the help of the community on a new Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet with a FREE (yeah, I said FREE) keyboard dock….that’s a $149 value…from With this puppy in hand (or on the table in front of me to be more precise), I should have no problem typing everything up and still staying super mobile. Pretty excited to get my hands on this tablet. Almost as excited as I am to finally get the opportunity to attend the PASS Summit.

In the interest of sharing, if you’re looking (and while the deal is still good), here’s the link to the deal:

And if you go thru FatWallet and have an account with them, you can even get 3% cash back!

Anyway, I’m sure the next couple weeks will fly by, but keep an eye on this blog if you’re interested. If not, well, I’m sure you’ll find something better to do with your time.



Do you Tweet?

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

I finally broke down and decided to open a Twitter account and hope to use it professionally to share SQL Server knowledge. I don’t have enough interesting to follow yet, but I’m hopeful I can find a way to begin leveraging both the blog and the Twitter account to become more involved in the SQL Server community.  If you do begin to find my musings and tips helpful, follow me on Twitter here.