Another day full of meetings!  If you think that being a part of the volunteer team with PASS means attending all the sessions you want, then you're way off base.  I only got to attend the opening sessions for all of day 1 and 2 of the general event.  I'll get to attend sessions again some day!

The first important bit of business is Microsoft's announcement of the new FrontRunner program for SQL Server ISV's.  The FrontRunner program sets aside $5000 in marketing funds to the first 2000 ISV's that sign up to support Microsoft SQL Server 2005 in their application by March 31, 2006.  Look for all of the details at the Front Runner Web site at www.sqlserverfrontrunner.com.

The keynote for the second day's general session was delivered by David Campbell.  David is the general manager for the SQL Server engine.  (For those of you who've been with SQL Server for a long time, David is also the main implementer for SQL Server's row-level locking that appeared in between SQL Server 7.0 and 2000.)

David's keynote focused ease of upgrade from version 2000 to 2005.  He and his team brought up a number of guys from the audience with a large SQL Server 2000 database.  As he spoke about the new version, the audience participants ran their databases through the Upgrade Advisor.  All of them were able to upgrade without an issue.

Now here's the cool part - David told a story that went something like this.  Microsoft sent several senior technologiests out to the field to convince key customers to upgrade from SQL Server 6.5 to 7.0.  The lead on this effort was Mark Sousa and one of the engineers they sent told the customer an anecdote about why they should upgrade.  The engineer told the customer "Have you ever watched a nature program about penguins.  Well, it turns out that when the pengiuns first return to the sea after breeding, they all congregate at the sea's edge waiting to see who goes into the water first.  No one wants to be the first one in because their could be a sea lion waiting there to eat them.  However, the crowd of pengiuns gets bigger and bigger until someone either gets pushed in or some brave soul jumps in.  The first one in either gets the most fish or gets eaten.  You should be the first one in so that you can get the most fish."  David then concluded with a laugh "We don't let that engineer out into the field as much as we used to."  LOL!

The amazing part about this story to me is that I was that customer!!!  I don't think that David knew this, but it still makes a great story.  Mark Sousa, Geotz Graf, and Cesar LG were the three engineers who came out to Deloitte & Touche to convince me and co-DBA Dwayne Seiber that we needed to upgrade asap.  We had a great time with the Microsoft team and took them out for some real Southern cooking.  (Yes, there was plenty of gravy involved.)  Dwayne and I just kind'a looked at each other with raised eyebrows when Goetz told his story.  We knew we were planning to upgrade anyway, but his story left us more concerned that we'd be eaten!  (Incidentally, Goetz said "orcas" not "sea lions".)

What a laugh!

Best regards,

-Kev