I have blogged before about my appreciation for the SQL community mainly within the PASS organization as that is what I was most familiar with. I have been active with SQL Saturday, PASS Summit, and my local PASS Chapter for the past two years and have benefited greatly by the generosity of the SQL Community. What I had not come to appreciate and realize was the vast amount of support of the community by vendors and software companies. Sure they sponsor meetings and events but I really just chalked that up to advertising expense and the companies trying to get their name out there. That might actually be true for a few companies but oh my I was way off base for several of them. One of them I would like to dedicate this blog post for and that would be “Pragmatic Works” http://www.pragmaticworks.com My first experience with Pragmatic Works was when a coworker recommended DTSxchange several years ago when we attempted our first SQL 2000 to SQL 2005 upgrade and wanted to migrate to SSIS. Later I would come across Pragmatic Works again at PASS related events such as SQL Saturday and the PASS Summit. Employees of Pragmatic Works always seem to be so happy with their company and full of energy for everything SQL Server. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Jeremy Sirois of Pragmatic Works while I was in Tampa FL speaking at my first SQL Saturday. Soon after that I found myself working on a pretty large project to migrate a SQL 2000 consolidation server to SQL 2005. I was having some difficulty so I downloaded DTSxchange to see how it would handle the conversion. Since I had to enter my contact information in order to download the product it wasn’t long at all before I received an offer from Pragmatic Works for a demo of the product or assistance if I needed it. It was at that moment that my relationship with Pragmatic Works began. In discussions with Jeremy about how Pragmatic Works could save my team time and money on upcoming projects he learned that I was the local Chapter leader and offered to sponsor one of our meetings. Of course I jumped on that. As a chapter leader that is one of the more difficult task besides getting speakers lined up and trying to grow the group. Not only did Pragmatic Works pick up the tab for drinks and food, Mike Davis did an awesome hour long demonstration of SSIS and they gave away a free virtual training class to one of our members. In learning about the virtual training I had to take a look at it for myself. I ended up enrolling in a session being taught by Shawn Harrison. I must say that this class would a huge asset to anyone trying to learn about SSIS. The class and labs do an incredible job of teaching the basics as well as the more complicated tasks.
While attending the SQL Saturday 70 in Columbia SC I had the opportunity to hang out with a couple of other Pragmatic Works staff/consultants. Jorge Segarra and Brian K McDonald for example where also speakers at SQL Saturday 70 and during conversations I learned that it is strongly recommended that if you work for Pragmatic Works that you also blog. Anyone who has ever had to research something related to SQL Server knows how valuable those blogs are. How great is it that a company actually encourages its employee’s to give back by blogging?
Another great tidbit about Pragmatic Works is that they have and endless supply of free webinars each month. Ok, Tuesday and Thursday at 11AM EST each week covering everything from SSIS, SSAS, SSRS, Sharepoint, etc. Did I mention they are FREE? All you have to do is join their mailing list to be notified about the events. Many of them are also recorded for playback at a later date.
Since I previously mentioned their support of my user group I guess it would be good to mention an email I received from Brian Knight last week about another way they are giving back to the community. Brian created “Friends of the User Group” program. With this program active members of PASS User Groups get 33% off any 4 day class or Pragmatic Works product. All you have to do is give them a call and let them know you are part of the user group.