July is definitely a painful time to be in Tucson. It’s hotter than all get out and monsoon season has usually started, so for awhile we have heat AND humidty. Oh joy. Fortunately we have some SQL
At least this calendar has green on it...
Server based events coming up to take our mind off of the disagreeable weather.
Tim’s heading up the new incarnation of the PASS Performance VC. On July 6, Jason Strate (Twitter/Blog) is going to be presenting a webcast for them entitled: ‘Performance Impacts Related to Different Function Types’. It should be a great session.
On July 17, Phoenix is having it’s first SQLSaturday. That in and of itself is pretty exciting, but Tim and I are going to be presenting two sessions there. This is our first time presenting, so it’ll be a great learning opportunity for us and a potential opportunity for up and coming hecklers. If you’re somewhere around Phoenix, you should take advantage of the opportunity. If you’re not around Phoenix, but want to see what it would feel like to step into an oven, come on out. (see note below)
Then on July 21st, Quest is holding another Virtual Training Event on Performance Monitor and Wait Events. Brent Ozar (Twitter/Blog), Kevin Kline (Twitter/Blog), Buck Woody (Twitter/Blog) and Ari Weil (Twitter) will be presenting. It should make for an interesting and potentially hilarious training event. Aside from it being a great training event, it’s relevant here because they’ll be presenting live from beautiful Tucson. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet them for dinner and take them to another top-notch Old Pueblo eatery.
One final note – the final session lineup for the PASS Summit 2010 will be finalized in July. This is due to a huge amount of great work by the volunteers from the Program Committee. If it’s June and you’re reading this, send some good thoughts their way – they’re busy.
Update: The SQLSaturday in Phoenix has been postponed until Jan/Feb 2011. Hopefully many more people will want to come to Phoenix when it’s not 110 degrees out.
Not-for-profit organizations can be awesome and extremely tough at the same time. About 15 years ago, I joined a not-for-profit community service organzation. Much like PASS, there were local groups, regions and an international level. On all three levels, this organization was definitely able to make a difference. I was fortunate to serve at both the club and regional levels and take part in an international event in Japan. It was definitely a life-changing experience.
One of the problems that I noticed while I was serving on the regional board was that the more that we were able to accomplish, the more that was expected of us. That was great and it was exciting to see the possibilites, but the problem that we faced is that our resources hadn’t changed. Because of our tax status, we had to be very careful about how we used the funds raised during our fund raisers and the vast majority of that went to other non-profit organizations that we supported. In order to give the regions and clubs more funding, we had a couple of options: raise dues, raise conference attendance costs or have more fundraisers during our conferences. Raising dues and raising conference attendance had the possible side outcome of fewer members or fewer people attending conferences. Additional fundraisers at the conferences took time away from what we were meeting about. So we made the decision to make better use of what we had and revisit those ideas in the future.
I see a similar issue with PASS. We’re incredibly fortunate to have an organization that provides as many resources as PASS does and with a free membership. While there is a great staff at PASS, much of what gets done here is because of a community of dedicated volunteers. I’ve been fortunate enough this year to be a part of the program committee and that has allowed me the opportunity to understand more of what goes on at PASS.
There have been many discussions about what PASS does well and less well along with what they should be doing. The latest discussions have been about the PASS Summit survey results. There have been a number of blog posts about it - Brent Ozar (Blog/Twitter), Tom LaRock (Blog/Twitter), Steve Jones (Blog/Twitter) and Andy Warren(Blog/Twitter), to name a few. I’m not picking on these particular bloggers or even this particular discussion topic. They all make valid points.
The questions that I found myself asking (and answering) are: Is this survey the best possible survey? Probably not. Did it provide PASS with valuable information? Yes. Are there people in the community that might be more skilled in writing/interpreting survey results? Possibly. Is paying for a company to write and interpret surveys for PASS the best use for our funds? I don’t know.
If I were to look at the wish list for PASS, I’m sure that it would be huge. Especially when it comes to items that require funding. If there are additional things that are needed that will require additonal funding, that money needs to come from somewhere. Do we increase the registration cost at the PASS Summit? Do we institute dues? Both of those choices have a direct affect on PASS membership and the members that are able to take part in the PASS Summit. Short of that, we have to look at either companies or individuals that are willing to donate their time and resources. Anyone that has volunteered for not-for-profit organizations know that getting companies and/or people to donate isn’t always the easiest thing.
I believe that members should continue to provide (constructive) criticism of PASS when it’s needed. I don’t believe that there should be a step up or shut up attitude. But if you can’t volunteer, then understand that PASS can’t continue to grow without also growing its resources. If you have ideas, provide them. If you have time, volunteer. If you find that leprechaun at the end of the rainbow, take him out, steal the pot of gold and donate some of it to PASS.
I think most of us will agree that PASS is a pretty amazing organization. It’s up to us to make it even better.
The Professional Association for SQL Server is restarting a Virtual Chapter focusing on SQL Server performance. The goal of the PASS Virtual Chapters is to provide free and timely training focused on a particular SQL Server area or set of functionality (in this case SQL Server performance). I have been honored to have been chosen to lead this particular Virtual Chapter, but, as you can imagine, this can’t happen without volunteers from the community. We are looking for individuals to serve on the Performance Virtual Chapter steering committee that are:
- Passionate about SQL Server (and who isn’t right?
- Interested in helping and serving the SQL Server community
- Either have a blog or a Twitter presence
- Willing to put in a couple of hours of work a week on such things as arranging speakers, putting together presentations, etc. Generally, working to help get good education out to our SQL Server community on performance related topics.
If this sounds like you and you are interested in serving on the Performance Virtual Chapter steering committee, we want you! Please contact Tim Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.