Every year there are any number of conferences held at which you can get SQL Server information, but I'd argue the best one to attend if the PASS Summit, put on by the Professional Association for SQL Server and it's the only conference focusing exclusively on SQL Server.
If you are looking for reasons to go, we've got a few listed below.
10. Find Your Lifeboat Companions
Everyone has a unique environment, but many of us face the same issues and problems. At the PASS Summit you'll get the opportunity to talk to other attendees and speakerst that might be in the same boat as you and faced a similar solution. Every speaker is available after their session and most will give you their email for follow ups if needed.
9. See the Fish Fly!
The world famous Pike Place Fish Market where the fish get thrown around is mere blocks from the Washington State Convention Center. Take an hour and tour this interesting attraction and shop for those back home that couldn't make it.
8. Real World Solutions
While Microsoft sends a number of employers to speak, there are quite a few presenters that are just like you: professionals that use SQL Server every day to solve all kinds of business problems. They might inspire you, get you to think of your own solution, or give you one they've implemented that you can take back to work.
7. Developers, developers, developers
No, not the kind that frustrate you every day, but the guys and gals that actually write the SQL Server code. This year the 2008 Summit is being held in Seattle, which means that lots of Microsoft developers, literally hundreds, will come over from Redmond and they'll talk to you about how things work and perhaps solve a problem of two.
6. Third Party Solutions
I work for Red Gate Software, and they'll be there, but this is one place that you'll see lots of vendors showing off their products specifically for SQL Server. No wading through Exchange or Windows utilities to see what might save you some time building SQL Server solutions. Get hands on demonstrations of just how these products work.
There are quite a few managers that think conferences are extra vacation and you'll come and sit by the pool (in Florida), gamble (Las Vegas), or stroll through the rain (Seattle). While that's certainly possible, who cares. Tell your boss that you deserve the chance to recharge and this is a way for you to get excited about the technology again without a specific deadline or project to deal with. You'll recharge and be ready to get back to work when you return.
4. The Support Guys
Each year Microsoft sends the PSS (Product Support Services), now called CSS (Customer Support Services) I think, to PASS to run a variety of hands-on labs that show you how to troubleshoot issues and solve common problems. However these very intelligent men and women will also answer questions you have, so be sure to stop by and ask.
3. Create an Editorial
Where does Steve Jones get all those ideas for editorials?
They come from you! From emails, from talking to you at events like this, where we have interesting conversations. Stop Steve and chat for a minute and you might be featured in the next editorial!
2. Support the Industry
As DBAs we have PASS as our voice in the community to promote our profession. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer and get involved with other DBAs in advancing our cause. Various Special Interest Groups (SIGs) meet about all kinds of issues: starting/running a user group, women in Technology and more.
There's no side trip to an Indian casino, but if you use the "SSC6" registration code when you sign up, you'll get $100 off the current registration price and you'll get an invite to the Tuesday night SQLServerCentral.com party.
We've put on this opening night event for the last 5 years and it's been a big hit each year. We've hired a casino company to cater the event the last few years and everyone gets a chance to come in, play some games, and have a good time with other SQL Server professionals.
So Register today! and be sure to use the "SSC6"registration codes. Until August 31, 2008 the conference is only $1595 (regular price $2195) and you save an additional $100 off that price with our "SSC6" code.
Looking forward to seeing you there!!!
PASS has changed their process this year and there are any number of speakers, volunteers, etc. that used to come to the party and can't use our code this year. I'm trying to figure out a way to let other people into the party. Since we give out the prizes and gifts (shirt/book), we need to cover those costs.
If you want to attend the party, but can't use the SSC discount code, please Paypal $30 for each person along with their name and the comment: SQLServerCentral.com Party to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll confirm a ticket for you - Steve Jones