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PASS Summit 2011: It’s Not Over #sqlpass


October 13, 2011 by Mike Hillwig

Tomorrow is the last day of the PASS Summit, and it’s hard to believe that I’ve been running at this frenetic pace since Monday. I wanted to get some thoughts down before I went back to work and these thoughts got lost. This post isn’t going through my normal editing and waiting period process, so it may be a bit of a blather.

Being here is realizing a bit of a dream for me. I’ve been trying to get here for the past three years, and my former employer would never let me attend. Even when I agreed to pay for it out of pocket, they balked. Ultimately, it’s one of the reasons why they’re my former employer.

This is not a cheap event, and I have to say that it’s been worth every penny. Just by being here and listening to some of the experts, I’m already a better DBA for it. I’ve learned a ton, and a lot of it revolves around performance tuning. I like to think of myself as an operational DBA, dealing with security and the day-to-day getting of stuff done. Getting to listen to some of the speakers around this topic has really been remarkable.

Despite all of the great sessions, my top goal for attending the PASS Summit was networking, and that has been amazing. I’ve met some awesome people, but the highlight was last night when Paul Randal introduced himself to me. And he called me by name. It’sĀ analogousĀ to a teenager meeting his favorite sports icon. Paul is a cornerstone of this community, and the fact that he knew who I was was–well that was really flattering. And of course I got to meet his brilliant wife Kimberly. We had a great conversation about VLF management, which is something we’re struggling with in my current environment.

Speaking of cornerstones, I finally got to meet Kevin Kline from Quest Software. He’s been such a great resource for this community, and I’m glad to have finally met him.

Getting to meet Gail Shaw and listening to her speak about execution plans twice was another highlight. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I could blather on for days about the amazing people in this community that I’ve met this week.

And then there are the people I already know. Today, I went to Tom LaRock’s halfday session on performance tuning. Tom could have been presenting on tying your shoes, and I still would have gone. When he presents, he has such command of the room, and I envy his presentation skills. If I’m ever half that good, I’ll be thrilled. And then there is Buck Woody. We had a great conversation a few months ago about my career path, and we had a follow-up to that conversation today. The last two nights, I’ve gotten to hang out with Karen Lopez, and I can honestly say that she’s one of my favorite people on the planet. Denny Cherry was giving me some feedback on my ideas of writing my own log shipping process. And then there is Brent Ozar. He’s the guy that everyone asks advice from, and for very good reason.

Tomorrow is the last day of the summit, and there are still some amazing sessions to go. I think I shall be sad to be leaving Seattle. But next year, I will be back, hopefully as a presenter.