We're now in the final four weeks before the 2006 PASS Community Summit and things couldn't be busier.  Everyone on the staff and many, many volunteers are in high gear was we work to tie up all of the loose ends before the Summit kicks off in mid-November.

One thing that has caused me some surprise is our registration.  Registration was incredibly strong when we first opened up the registration desk.  However, things have flattened out a bit in the last couple weeks.  So if you're considering attending, but didn't want to contend with the crowds, don't worry.  The crowd situation is still at very manageable levels and there's plenty of room (and plenty of great learning opportunities) for everyone.

Time is running out to register at the current discounted rate.  The discount ends on Wednesday, November 1st.  Check out all the details (but hurry!) at http://www.sqlpass.org.

And now for those who don't know about it, PASS also sponsors a couple days of pre-conference seminars.  These seminars are all-day events that are highly focused and very detailed.  (Note that you do have to register separately for the pre-conference seminars from the regular Summit.)  You'll level-up your SQL Server skills in just a single day by attendee these seminars. 

And in case you're curious, I have NO IDEA why I cannot get this font into Arial 10-point.  It just won't go!  :^\

Details on the pre-conference seminars are below.  Enjoy!

-Kev



Pre-Conference Seminars <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Monday, November 13, 2006 - 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

M1: Advanced SQLCLR for DBA and Developers
Presented by Niels Berglund, Developmentor

The ability for SQL Server to host the CLR has given developers a new weapon in their arsenal. However many DBAs see this weapon as self-destructive and they are afraid that running CLR code inside SQL Server will cause more problems than it solves. In this Pre-Conference seminar we will spend a day looking at more advanced SQLCLR topics. After a short overview of how to write code for the SQLCLR we will see how the hosting has been implemented and what Microsoft has done to ensure that SQLCLR is as safe and reliable as possible. We will then go on and look at how to debug code running in SQL Server - both T-SQL and CLR. We will also cover when to use SQLCLR and when to use T-SQL and some "gotc's" when trying to do data access using SQLCLR. The session will finish with looking at how SQLCLR can be combined with SQL Service Broker to enable external applications to know what happens inside SQL Server.


M2: Practical Performance Monitoring For SQL 2005
Presented by Andrew Kelly, Solid Quality Learning

SQL Server 2005 comes with a whole host of new features that allow us to easily capture diagnostic and performance metrics. So much in fact that it can be confusing to determine which metrics you should be looking at and why. Once you collect the data it can be overwhelming to decipher it all. Come see what counters and statistics every good DBA should be aware of and how to efficiently process the data gathered from them. We will cover each of the areas of the database and hardware that give us the biggest bang for the buck in terms of monitoring. See how to narrow down where your performance issues really are with minimal effort. Stop chasing your tail and start making an impact in the overall performance of your SQL Server.


M3: PSS Boot Camp for SQL Server 2005 – Part 1: SQL Server Performance
Presented by Microsoft PSS Team

The SQL PSS Boot Camp is back again and completely focused on SQL Server 2005! The Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) team invites you to learn internals and troubleshooting techniques for common issues facing SQL Server Database Administrators and IT Professionals. The most experienced engineers from PSS will present internals and demonstrate advanced troubleshooting techniques based on real problem scenarios.

Part 1: SQL Server Performance

  • Taming SQL Server Performance - Keith Elmore

  • Query Performance Troubleshooting - Bart Duncan

  • Troubleshooting Replication Performance - Dan Shaver


M4: Microsoft Business Intelligence: Tools and Applications – Building on the BI Platform
Presented by Stacia Misner, Solid Quality Learning and Francois Ajenstat, Microsoft

Microsoft has delivered great BI functionality for many years in its industry leading BI platform, SQL Server. Microsoft has been expanding its BI investments in recent years in the analytic client and application space through product investment and acquisition. Come to this Pre-Conference seminar to learn about Microsoft’s end-user tools and application offering and how you can benefit from these investments.  We’ll cover Business Scorecard Manager 2005, ProClarity and the upcoming BI investments in the 2007 Office system (primarily Excel 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007). Additionally, we will share plans around the next generation performance management application, Office PerformancePoint Server. This Pre-Conference seminar will be packed with information that will show you how you can start leveraging your investments in SQL Server 2005 in a new, value added way.

 

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

T1: <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Enterprise ETL with Integration Services
Presented by Erik Veerman, Solid Quality Learning

SQL Server 2005 Integration Services (SSIS) will help you sleep better at night. True. When designing or supporting any ETL system, the demands of complexity, completeness and volume often extend the hours of any day… and night. The good news is that with the ease of use, features and scalability of Microsoft’s new ETL tool, SSIS, you are able to handle more with less overhead.

This one-day seminar is your short-cut to getting there faster. You will learn the best practices of applying SSIS enterprise functionality to data warehouse ETL systems. The seminar will target how to design SSIS solutions from source systems extractions to data integration to processing Analysis Services (SSAS) cubes to auditing, lineage and execution. Building on a prerequisite of SSIS and ETL basics, the content will rapidly move to applying efficient SSIS ETL processing techniques for your dimensions, fact tables and beyond. Don’t miss out!


T2: Query Plans: Interpretation and Tuning in SQL Server 2005
Presented by Kalen Delaney, Solid Quality Learning

Being able to determine how SQL Server is processing your critical queries is the most crucial step in determining what queries are tunable and how you might begin your tuning efforts. SQL Server 2005’s graphical query plan output is similar to SQL Server 2000’s, but there are some crucial differences. We’ll cover the basics of reading various kinds of query plans, both text based and graphical. We will look at the XML showplan feature available through the SQL Server Management Studio and through the SQL Server Profiler and discuss the various uses for plans in XML format.

Next we will look at the metadata available that SQL Server keeps regarding the performance and operation of your queries. We use Dynamic Management Objects to determine which queries are being run frequently and which use the most resources.

We’ll then discuss ways of tuning your poorly behaving queries. We will pay special attention to the new SQL Server 2005 optimizer hints and look at the use of Plan Guides.


T3: PSS Boot Camp for SQL Server 2005 – Part 2: Database Storage Engine
Presented by Microsoft PSS Team

The SQL PSS Boot Camp is back again and completely focused on SQL Server 2005! The Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) team invites you to learn internals and troubleshooting techniques for common issues facing SQL Server Database Administrators and IT Professionals. The most experienced engineers from PSS will present internals and demonstrate advanced troubleshooting techniques based on real problem scenarios.

Part 2: Database Storage Engine

  • BACKUP/RESTORE Internals - Bob Ward

  • SQL Server Engine Advanced I/O - Suresh Kandoth

  • Database Mirroring - Mike Zawadzki


T4: SQL Server Security – Technology, Guidance, and Best Practices
Presented by the SQL Security Team

SQL Server 2005 introduced a host of new security features and capabilities, but understanding what they are and how they can help can be confusing.  In addition, existing security mechanisms have been strengthened and extended, introducing new possibilities and considerations on how to best secure your installations.  In the current climate of ever increasing compliance and regulation as well as the monetization of hacking where the bad guys are after high value data, it is more important than ever that your database installations be made safe against malicious access. 

This session will give you the inside story on how the security features work, and how and where you should use them.  Program managers, engineers, and leads from the security team will:

  • Drill down into the features and technologies, such as encryption, authorization, authentication and audit

  • Cover best practices such as surface area reduction and lockdown, as well as separation of duties