I spoke with Bill Graziano and Wayne Snyder of the PASS organization about the upcoming PASS Summit 2009 in Seattle, November 2-9. There will be over 160 technical SQL Server sessions. The conference has experienced explosive growth. According to Bill, just the DBA track alone is now bigger than the whole conference three years ago. There will be two tracks for Business Intelligence: one for the back end and one for front-end information delivery. One of the mostpopular sessions at a recent PASS Summit was “BI for the Relational Guy.” This year there will be lots of sessions for folks new to BI. There will also be tracks for SQL Server developers. Bill says that SQL devs constitute about one-third of PASS Summit attendees.

Wayne’s very heartened by the sign-ups for the conference. He says that attendance should come close to last year’s record showing. It underscores the importance companies place on giving their SQL experts a chance to enhance their skills.

As a warm-up for PASS Summit and as a conference in its own right, PASS recently put on virtual conference “24 Hours of PASS.” It was put on by chapter leaders from all over the world. “It really leveraged the global nature of our organization. We had over 17,000 registrations and over 3500 attendees from more than 60 countries,” Wayne noted.

Innovations this year include a switch From Wednesday through Friday to Tuesday through Thursday. This year there will be 13 pre- and post-conference in-depth sessions on Monday and Friday given by Microsoft and the community.

Since the conference has grown, they’ve added a networking session on Monday after the pre-conference and before the welcoming party. “The summit is a great place to build a social network,” Bill added. Also there’s a very popular Women in Technology lunch. It’s been one of the top-ten rated events at past PASS Summits.

This Seattle-based conference always has a very strong Microsoft presence. Inside the Microsoft technical learning center there will be an “Ask the Experts” lounge again. Between 200 to 300 Microsoft engineers, plus MVPs, and session speakers will answer your SQL questions. “Folks can just go up to a Microsoft developer and ask ‘why does this work this way?’ Their answer is, ‘Well when I wrote that code. . .’”Bill noted happily. Wayne emphasized that In Microsoft Product Pavilion Microsoft will give away free copies of SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition. The Microsoft CSS First Aid Station now will include CSS and the highly technical SQLCAT team. There will be a partner village where the smaller ISVs can show off the software they’ve written for SQL Server.

Ted Kummert, Tom Casey, and David DeWitt return to keynote this year. Bob Muglia will also keynote. For more on the PASS keynotes check out my blog and podcast with Tom Casey.

To follow PASS on Twitter search on #SQLPASS.

Visit the PASS Summit web page for more information.

At the summit they will announce dates for the PASS European event in the coming year.