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Off to dataMinds Connect, A Peek into PASS Summit 2017, and Other Updates

By: on September 27, 2017 in PASS, PASS Summit, PASS Summit 2017, Pre-conferece, Preconference, Presenting, SQLHA, Teaching

Can you believe it’s nearly October? I blinked and realized I hadn’t written a blog post since June. Max and I have been super busy with customer work here at the cozy confines of SQLHA. Some of that you’ll see publicly – like the documentation I’ve been writing for Microsoft on the availability features for SQL Server 2017 on Linux. Fun fact: it was announced that it will be generally available (GA) next Monday, October 2! It’s been a fun few months and what I’m working on will be out soon.

I’m heading to Europe to speak at dataMinds Connect next week. I’m looking forward to it – I’ve heard great things about the conference and it’l be my first time in Belgium. I’ll be delivering both a full day precon and a brand new session “Top Troubleshooting Tips for Clustered Implementations of SQL Server“. It would have been nice to also go to SQL Saturday Copenhagen (lovely town – I’ve been there a few times for conferences), but too much going on here to extend the trip.

I’ve also got three other major speaking things coming up (one of which will get its own section below): PASS Summit, SQL Server Live! in Orlando in November, and  for the only time this year, the 4-day Mission Critical SQL Server class with labs. The class will be just outside of Philadelphia. There are still a few seats left. Use the code SEPBLOG for 25% off.

For SQL Server Live! I’ll be doing something new a full day of a bit of hybrid lab/instructional on November 12. It’s not a traditional precon, and it should be fun. If you plan on attending, use the code LSPK36 to get $500 off the standard price of $2,395 – you’ll only pay $1,895, or use one of the links I’ve provided. This link goes directly to the registration page.

If you’re in Minneapolis, go see Max at SQL Saturday next weekend, October 7, and definitely come up and say hi to both of us at PASS Summit since we’ll have a booth again with Denny Cherry and Associates.

RunAs Radio #51

I recorded a RunAs Radio session with my old friend Richard Campbell a few weeks ago. It had been way too long, and we had a blast catching up and talking about SQL Server, availability, and a bunch of stuff inbetween. It was just posted today – listen to it here.

PASS Summit and My Upcoming Precon

I want to talk for a moment about PASS as an organization as well as PASS Summit and my upcoming precon. I have only missed two or three Summits since its inception (Chicago, Orlando, and I think one of the Seattle ones early on). Sure, people can complain about the change of the meaning of the letters, etc., but under any guise, PASS – both Summit and the organization – has been a building block in my career. I could have never guessed that attending Summit in 2000 in San Francisco would be the start of a long journey for me from attendee to speaker to precon speaker to having a booth with SQLHA as a vendor.

Years ago the conference landscape 20 years ago was more stuff like Tech Ed than anything else. It’s funny to see now how many options we have now to speak and attend. Some of those events are downright fantastic. However, just because Summit is one of the biggest events in the Microsoft data platform world and one I still love going every year. Let me be clear: by no means do I think Summit is a perfect conference. I have my gripes, and always will, but for me, it is one of the “must do” data platform events even if I was not a speaker. Just the networking alone is fantastic. No, PASS is not paying me to say any of this, but it’s easy to get cynical about PASS as an organization and Summit as an event because it’s always just been there for most of us along with many other events including SQL Saturday. Many folks you know and love today in our small corner of the world got their “big breaks” at PASS Summit. Not all of them still attend Summit, which I understand, but reality is that Summit, and maybe PASS as an organization, worked for them at one point but they grew beyond it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Summit still does a lot right for many folks. I mean it when I say I’m honored to be picked to speak at Summit and any event like dataMinds Connect, SQL Bits, SQL Saturday … you get the picture; I never assume, nor do not take an opportunity for granted. I’m not a DYKWIA (Do You Know Who I Am?) type. I’ve said no, but it’s for reasons like I have scehedule conflicts, etc.

As for my journey as a speaker, PASS Summit was integral for me. I remember my first speaking slot all those years ago, and then finally getting a nod for a precon. Could I fill a whole day’s worth of content? Seems silly now to think I couldn’t, and for those who really know me at this point, you are probably laughing your tuchus off because at this point, I can talk with no slides, no demo, and not even a whiteboard for as long as I need to do it.If you saw my SQL Server on Linux talk at SQL Saturday Boston this year, you know what I mean.

Getting opportunities like a precon challenged me. It made me better. Sometimes I failed. Most times, I succeed. Last year was phenomenal – the most people I’ve had doing labs simultaneously to date. When I introduced a lab component a few years ago into some of my precons, I started way before I did it at a big conference like PASS Summit in smaller doses as a proof of concept. No one else had tried to attempt 100 people doing labs at the same time where there is often crap connectivity. Crazy talk! I had no idea if it would be great or terrible, but I knew I wanted to do more. PASS put their faith in me and I’ve been lucky to be given a chance to do labs ever since, this year included.

I’m putting the finishing touches on the lab for the Summit precon in the next few days . This year’s precon is “Advanced SQL Server Availability and Storage Solutions”. Designing lab content and the instructional design around labs is one of the hardest things I do, and it’s even harder finding that balance in a one day event like a precon where you have a lot to talk about and demo, too. In one of my multi-day classes, it’s much easier. I do enjoy the challenge, and I urge you to reserve your spot because the last few years have completely sold out (and we’re nearly there already). I do cap the number of students who can attend since there’s only one of me and I can only have so many proctors. I hope to see you there.

Other Updates

  • I hit a big milestone. In August, I celebrated 10 years of going independent. I remember when I did it I thought let me give this a go for a year and see how it goes. One became two and the rest is history. Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the years and done business with me. I look forward to many more years doing this.
  • I was re-awarded my dual Microsoft MVP. I can’t believe I’m coming up on nearly 10 years as a Microsoft MVP. Time flies!
  • I did three sessions at VMworld in Las Vegas. Hope to be back next year.

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