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Why are you going to the PASS Summit? #sqlpass #SQL

So we’re about 5 months out from the PASS Summit in Seattle and now that all the community, spotlight and pre-post conference sessions are announced (Congrats to everyone who made the cut!!!) I’m starting to look at how I want to approach the summit and my personal agenda.

If I were to rank my expertise when it comes to the 3 streams it would look like this:

1) Database Administration

2) Database Development

3) Business Intelligence

There are some amazing speakers on all 3 streams but I’m having a hard time deciding what mix of sessions I want to go to.  I’d obviously get the most “new material” from the BI streams, then db development, and finally db administration… but because I’m primarily focussed on the db administration side I tend to lean more heavily towards that stream and those sessions.  Then you throw in some Professional Development sessions and it gets that much more confusing LOL.

So the question for all the seasoned PASS Summit attendees out there…

How do YOU decide what sessions to go to:

  • Do you like to go for as many of the sessions in your “expertise” stream to solidify your understanding on a particular subject? 
  • Do you like to go out of your comfort zone and hit as many sessions that discuss items that you wouldn’t consider yourself to be well versed in?
  • Do you have a “can’t miss” list of speakers and regardless of the topic you don’t miss their sessions?

Obviously everyone has their own agenda and what they’re looking to get out of the Summit this year… I’m just looking for some ideas as to how others break up their week and what they think is the most important things to get out of the Summit.

Happy Monday everyone



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  1. William says:

    I tend to go to the sessions in my expertise but I always make a point to going to a couple/few that will offer me an insight into something “new” that I don’t know about.

  2. I posted my follow up on my blog because… well because I thought your post merited that kind of thoughtful response.

  3. Chris Wood says:

    This will be my 5th PASS Summit also having been to two SQL Connections conferences.

    As an independent I have firstly to look at the overall cost and where in the cycle of an SQL version are we. Even with the best speakers on the subject hearing about SQLXXXX for the nth time doesn’t really interest me.

    I cannot afford any of the pre and post cons so I try and get there the day before the full conference because you had better be ready for a 7 am start most days.

    Once I register I pick up the agenda and try and figure out the sessions I want to go to in the DBA track. Sometimes the schedule changes at the last minute and that’s why I don’t preplan anymore. Most times I have more than 1 session marked for each timeslot (shows the quality of the sessions). I now have to weigh the speaker against the subject to make my number 1 choice and my number 2 and maybe number 3. Also remember the best sessions will fill up quickly and in some of those cases PASS my add a repeat later in the conference.

    I mentioned where in the SQLXXXX version cycle the product was at so at the last two years I went to a lot of SQL2008 sessions to be prepared for using it. I also look for the hot button issues and Jimmy May’s disk alignment was one of those last year as has been Linchi Shea’s ones on SAN performance.

    I usually find 3 days of fully loaded sessions leaves me with way too much I want to do when I get back to work and way too much to remember. I will certainly spend time with the CSS group this year as Microsoft are being represented by much broader groups than just speakers nowadays.

    I cannot speak for other than just being a DBA but I get so much more out of the PASS Summit than I can learn by taking courses. It doesn’t take long at the Summit to realise who the experts actually are so if they say something then you take notice. With so many opinions freely expressed on the Internet it can be difficult to know who and what to believe.

    So with this year being in Seattle again (much more top notch Microsoft people there) and maybe the dollar getting back close to par it will be time again to attend PASS. It’s also a year to take my wife so I can have some downtime before and after the conference.



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