The PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) European 2006 event is being held this year in beautiful Barcelona.  I've been to a lot of cities in Europe, but Barcelona is certainly one of my favorites.  The weather is great, the people are friendly, prices are affordable (even to an American battered by the dollar/euro conversion rate), and there's lots of great art, history, and architecture to enjoy.  And then, of course, there's the conference! 

Wednesday was a pre-conference event presented by Microsoft PSS, the premier support group that works with SQL Server, including Ken Henderson, Bob Ward, and Bart Duncan.  These hardworking guys presented deep technical information on how PSS (that's Product Support Services, btw) debugs and troubleshoots SQL Server for their customers.  There was a very full crowd and I can tell you, after reviewing the evaluations, that the session received glowing reviews. 

BTW, the PSS team presents this topic with ever evolving content at the North American Summit as well.  So if this sounds like something that would benefit your skill set, then be sure to sign up for this years upcoming PASS Summit in November of 2006.

On Thursday, we kicked off the conference with a very informative keynote from Microsoft Enterprise Technology Strategist Kevin Ashby.  Kevin discussed a number of very interesting issues regarding not only SQL Server, but the wider database market.  Perhaps the most interesting point for me was that Microsoft is developing SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) modules for MS-Access and IBM's DB2 database.

If you've ever worked with Access much, you'll know that it's omnipresent and overflowingly common throughout large enterprises.  And it can be a real thorn in the side of us hardworking enterprise DBAs, especially when the Access database grows too big for its britches.  (That's a Southern saying, so let me know if it doesn't make sense to you.)

PASS was also proud to announce that we've added a number of new chapters to the SQL Server community, both in the USA and internationally. Six new US chapters blossomed this year, with additional chapters in Australia, Costa Rica, Iceland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Panama, Philippines, Romania, and Singapore.  A big thanks goes out to all of the local chapter leaders for you courage and dedication to the community in launching these chapters! 

Finally, I just want to reiterate the call for volunteers that PASS opens at each event.  This association is predicated on the hard work and selflessness of its volunteers.  If you have an interest and would like to help at the local, national, or international level, don't hesitate!  Drop me an email at kevin_kline@sqlpass.org right away!

Cheers!

-Kevin