PASS 2006: The Pre-Conference Seminars

One of my roles on the PASS Board of Directors is to develop the program for our annual Summit.  Our next PASS Summit is in Seattle November 14th - 17th, 2006.  The general sessions are broken into tracks for database administration, business intelligence, application development and professional development.  These sessions run Wednesday through Friday.  We run eight concurrent sessions on those days for a total of ninety-six educational sessions.

PASS also offers eight Pre-Conference sessions that take place on Monday and Tuesday with four occurring on each day.  You can follow that link to read a detailed abstract on each session.  I'm going to summarize the sessions and why we picked them.

Pre-conference sessions are full day sessions that focus on a single topic and are offered at an additional cost.  Conference attendees can sign up for a pre-conference session for $395 while the cost for non-attendees is slightly higher.  We have Pre-Conference sessions that focus on database administration, business intelligence and application development.  We should have something interesting for everyone.  Four of the sessions are presented by speakers from the SQL Server community and four are presented by Microsoft.  The community speakers are Kalen Delaney, Andrew Kelly, Niels Berglund and Erik Veerman.

Andrew is going to present on Practical Performance Monitoring For SQL 2005 on Monday.  Andrew is a SQL Server MVP and a regular speaker on SQL Server administration.  Andrew's sessions at PASS have always been well attended and highly rated.  At the time of our conference in November SQL Server 2005 will have been out for a year.  We expect most companies will either be using or evaluating SQL Server 2005 so a performance monitoring topic should be of interest.  Andrew is going to show how you can monitor performance of the various components of SQL Server 2005.

On Tuesday Kalen Delaney is presenting Query Plans: Interpretation and Tuning in SQL Server 2005.  This session will be a good complement to Andrew's session on monitoring performance.  Kalen is also a SQL Server MVP and one of the best known SQL Server speakers.  Her sessions are always among the most popular and highly rated at our conference.  If you write or tune queries on SQL Server and care about performance this is a "must attend" session.  Kalen has forgotten more about SQL Server query tuning than most of us will ever know.  Her sessions are always informative and packed full of practical knowledge.

If you're interested monitoring and tuning SQL Server 2005 Andrew and Kalen will provide two great days of technical content.  If your focus is on business intelligence we also have two full days of content for you.  Microsoft's Francois Ajenstat is presenting Microsoft Business Intelligence: Tools and Applications – Building on the BI Platform on Monday and Erik Veerman is presenting Enterprise ETL with Integration Services on Tuesday.  Francois will be presenting with Stacia Misner.  Their presentation will focus on using tools such as Business Scorecard Manager 2005, ProClarity and Office 2007 to build a complete Business Intelligence Platform.

Erik's presentation will focus on using SQL Server Integration Services to populate a data warehouse.  Erik is a consult, author and instructor and brings a tremendous depth of knowledge to the session.  Those focused on business intelligence will find these sessions packed full of useful information.

Niels is presenting on Advanced SQLCLR for DBA and Developers on Monday.  Like many of our presenters Niels is a consultant, instructor and author.  As the title indicates this session should benefit application developers and DBA's that are supporting applications using the CLR in SQL Server 2005.  The session will focus on advanced topics such as reliability and debugging.  If you're architecting a new application for SQL Server 2005 this session is well worth your time.

SQL Server 2005 introduced major changes in the security model for the product.  There are new components to be secured and new ways to secure exiting components.  If you will be supporting production SQL Servers you should attend SQL Server Security – Technology, Guidance, and Best Practices on Tuesday.  This session will be presented by program mangers, engineers and development leads from the security team.  It will cover the security features in detail as well as best practices for configuring security on SQL Server 2005.  This will be a great session on security presented by those who know it best.

Our last two sessions are presented by PSS.  PSS is the group that provides product support for SQL Server.  PSS really adds a different dimension from both the community presenters and the Microsoft presenters.  They tend to see the really difficult support issues that arise when supporting production SQL Servers.  Their sessions are always very informative and very technical.  They are presenting their PSS Bootcamp for SQL Server 2005 over two days.  Each day is an independent session so you can attend either or both sessions.  Each PSS session is a group of inter-related presentations by different engineers within the support team.  These are Microsoft's most senior support engineers and bring tremendous experience diagnosing problems with SQL Server.

On Monday they will be covering SQL Server Performance.  These sessions will cover the tools and techniques that Microsoft's product support group uses to diagnose SQL Server performance problems.  On Tuesday they will present on the Database Storage Engine.  This session will cover topics such as backup and restore internals, Advanced I/O and database mirroring.  Presenters for these two days include Bob Ward, Keith Elmore and Bart Duncan.

We have eight great sessions to choose from.  You can get two full days of in-depth training on key SQL Server topics from some of the smartest people in the industry.  We think the our pre-conference sessions are a great value and we hope you will too.  I encourage you to sign up today at the PASS web site.  And if you've already registered it's easy to add pre-conference sessions to your registration.

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