Ramblings of a SQL Hillbilly

Or, the mad ravings of a data warehouse forklift operator

Summit 2013 Reflections

It’s now the Monday night after the PASS Summit and it’s time for this slacker to get back into the rhythm of blogging. I’m working on Big Big ThingsTM for the blog in the near future, but for now I’d like to do a multi-part series of reflections on my experiences at the Summit.

Anyone who has not been to the PASS Summit most likely thinks it’s just a big training event, a place where you can pay a lot of money to go learn about SQL Server. If you think that, you don’t know what you’re missing.

The most valuable part of the Summit, in my opinion, is the amazing amount of networking and community building you get to do. Folks on Twitter are fond of using the #sqlfamily hashtag to refer to their friends and colleagues in the SQL Server community. That sounds cute and trite, but the reality is that the PASS Summit is like the biggest and most intimate family reunion you’ve ever experienced. I’m kind of a weird guy – I dress funny, look awkward, and tend to talk too much. But I was not once made to feel like I didn’t belong last week. And the best part is, you don’t have to explain what it is you do to your grandmother again. We understand you. We know what struggles you deal with. We don’t care what you look like, where you’re from, or who you know. And for once in my life, I’m using We correctly.

The second most valuable part of the Summit is the SQL Server Clinic held by Microsoft. This is your opportunity to go ask questions of the people who support and maintain SQL Server, in person, for absolutely free. This is a pretty unique opportunity and something everyone should take advantage of (except me – I only have really strange and awkward questions.)

And finally, you have the opportunity to learn about the newest and most exciting changes coming down the pike in the SQL Server world. This year, Dr. Dewitt gave a fascinating keynote on the changes coming to Hekaton in SQL Server 2014. Hekaton is their name for their in-memory OLTP solution – it looks like it’s going to rock the OLTP performance world. I only wish we could take better advantage of it in the data warehousing world!

Oh, and there’s some training, but the cheapest way to get that is to spend about $250 and get the sessions on USB. But the real draw are the three things I mentioned above.