Don't worry if you missed out on the last round of SQL Server conferences held in fall 1999. The SQL Server 2000 release is just around the corner, and you have several great shows to choose from during the next few months.

Here are some shows to consider, mentioned in the order they appear on the calendar. You might want to consider SQL2TheMax ,February 17 through 18 in San Francisco. This is a new conference from the folks who run the popular VBITS shows and it’s billed as the "Get Advanced Fast" Conference for People Building Solutions with SQL Server. You'll find 38 sessions on a wide range of topics, including optimization, e-commerce, OLAP, data warehousing, data mining, design and architecture, advanced data access, security, architecture and hardware for 24 x 7 reliability, data conversion, and stored procedures and T-SQL.

Microsoft is getting into the SQL Server conference game this spring by holding the Windows DNA 2000 Readiness Conference featuring SQL Server 2000 February 29 through March 3 in Denver. (I swear that's really the name of this conference. I'm starting to wonder whether someone at Microsoft gets paid by the word for naming products and conferences!) At this conference, you'll get an in-depth look at SQL Server 2000. The SQL Server development team will present 51 technical sessions. Microsoft developers will present 34 additional sessions that cover the rest of the Windows DNA 2000 platform, including Application Center 2000, BizTalk Server 2000, Commerce Server 2000, COM+, Host Integration Server 2000, Visual Studio, and Windows 2000 (Win2K). Plan to bring a spare brain because yours will be 110 percent full by the time you leave.

If you’re ready for more adventure, consider attending one of the international versions of the Windows DNA 2000 Readiness Conference in Amsterdam (April), Tokyo (April), Sydney (May), or Sao Paulo (May). Microsoft claims that you need an invitation to attend these events, but you can find a note about how to ask for an invitation at http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/events/sqlserver2000/.

Next is the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) international conference March 12 through 15 in London. PASS 2000 Europe offers content in four tracks: data warehousing in a SQL Server environment, managing your e-business with SQL Server, SQL Server application development, and managing the SQL Server infrastructure. Bill Baker, Microsoft's head of data warehouse products, will deliver the keynote address, and SQL Server Magazine’s very own Michael Otey will host the closing panel discussion.

And last, SQL Connections 2000, set for May 14 through 15 in New Orleans, will feature more than 40 sessions on SQL Server topics such as security, Data Transformation Services (DTS), data warehousing, advanced querying, stored procedures, English Query, OLAP Services, ADO, optimization, data recovery, and other cool topics. SQL Connections will feature a keynote address by Microsoft SQL Server Product Manager Barry Goffe.