The thermometer is close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit here today in “lovely” Loveland Colorado.  It seems strange to be sitting here planning (or avoiding) the many details necessary to launch the October issue of the magazine. Since it really is July, I think I’d rather talk about one of the interesting highlights of July for me, which was attending the 2007 Microsoft World-Wide Partner’s conference in Denver last week.

I have to say this conference was a departure from the conferences I’ve attended in the last couple of years as Technical Editor for the magazine. The conferences I regularly attend (SQL Connections, PASS, PDC, TechEd) focus on technical training and products geared to our reader community. I use these conferences to network with readers, authors, and vendors who support the needs of our readership. The Microsoft World-Wide Partner’s conference was a completely new experience for me and for our editors who attended it for the first time.  Over 10,000 Microsoft vendor partners, industry experts, speakers, exhibitors, Microsoft executives, and others attend the conference from over 120 different countries. The third-party software and hardware built by these partners is key to the continued deployment of SQL Server and its related products in the marketplace.

This conference really highlights the importance of the vendor partners in the overall success of Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft is building on-line BI portals for tracking sales and marketing information, building standardized templates to help vendors with integration and deployment of the their technology on the Microsoft platforms, and a host of other support systems. Attending this conference brought me back to how important third-party vendors are to the SQL community and our product coverage is all part of serving our community.