It’s that time of year again, when people from all over the globe converge on Seattle for the 5 day PASS Summit 2014. I’ve been fortunate in that I was able to attend two past Summits, in Seattle 2011 and last year in Charlotte. Both were amazing experiences. I got to meet some of the same SQL experts whose blogs and tweets I read on a regular basis. I made new friends and met new DBAs from all over, learning from each and getting a new view on how others perform the same tasks I do. I had a chance to reconnect with friends I don’t get a chance to see very often. Every night there were dinners and other fun events, a great way to unwind after the sessions.
But don’t think the Summit is just a week long party, there’s some serious learning opportunities too. The first two days are filled with pre-cons, not part of the regular Summit sessions but optional half day or all day deep dives into various topics. I haven’t been to one yet but I plan to at my next Summit. Then there are the keynotes; 90 minute talks to start the day. Here you get a chance to learn Microsoft’s plans for the future of SQL and data. Finally there are the sessions themselves. Each day from Wednesday through Friday there are tons of talks, aligned by a common theme such as development or administration, and there’s usually 5 daily sessions in each track you can mix and match from, according on what your interests are.
Unfortunately I’m not able to go to Seattle this year. I used to mope around during Summit week, cursing my bad luck and vowing to make it next year. But over the last few years my attitude has changed. I’ll still always vow to make the next Summit. Now, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I make my own SQL Summit. I use this time to concentrate on learning more about SQL. I concentrate on areas where my knowledge is lax (hello, extended events, I’m coming at you this week!). There’s a ton of free resources out there to use. In this post I’m going to share some of the ones I’ve found.
There’s quite a few just for the Summit:
- PASStv will be showing content from the Summit, including the keynote sessions. They’ll also show some live sessions and interviews through out the conference. Last year they repeated the content in the evening and you can also find it on YouTube and I’m guessing they’ll do the same this time. As of November 1st I don’t see a schedule yet, but watch the site for links. From the Summit home page go to Sessions >> MoreLearning and watch the PASStv link.
- If you can’t watch the keynotes you can read about them later. A number of attendees live blog during the sessions. Brent Ozar (Blog | Twitter) will be one.I don’t know who else but I’m sure a quick web search will turn them up.
- You can also follow live via twitter. Watch the #summit14 and #sqlpass hashtags, and there’s probably others as well.
- There’s more links on the main PASS page. Go to Learning Center >> Session Recordings. Here you can see sessions from past Summits. There’s complete lists from 2012 back, also Best Of from last year. Go to Events >> 24 Hours of Pass to watch recordings of past events, some of which is the same sessions you’d see at the Summit. Go to Events >> PASS SQLRally for even more sessions.
- Check out the list of SQL Saturday events. While there’s none scheduled until November 22nd, browse the list for one near you in the future. The same speakers that present at the Summit also attend these events and often show the same content that they did at the Summit.
- Finally, you can purchase a USB device that contains all of this year’s sessions. PASS will make it available to non-attendees after the Summit. I’ve bought these for the two Summits I attended and I plan to go through and watch them again this week.
If you want just SQL training there’s plenty of that available as well:
- Microsoft Virtual Academy is a great resource for training of Microsoft products. It’s a mix of live and recorded events and it’s not just about SQL. You can learn Azure, .NET, Office 365, and much, much more.
- SQL Skills is a training and consulting company headed up by Kimberly Tripp and Paul Randal. A few years back they produced and released 40 hours worth of videos for the now retired SQL Master certification. While some of the content is dated it’s still worth watching. You can find the content here.
- And while you’re still on the SQL Skills sight, be sure to sign up for the SQLSkills Insider Newsletter. You’ll get an email with Paul discussing something SQL related. There will also be links to short videos that come from the training sessions SQL Skills does for Pluralsight.
- Speaking of Pluralsight, it’s worth checking out. This is the only pay sight on my list, but I’m lucky enough to have an annual subscription. But you can sign up for a free 10 day trial to view the content, see if it fits your needs. If you like it, you can sign up on a month by month basis.
- Pragmatic Works has a series of free webcasts every Tuesday and Thursday. You can sign up to watch the webcasts live (they last about 60 minutes) or you can choose to watch past events. There’s a large list of sessions to choose from.
There’s more I could add but I think you get the picture. Simple web searches will turn up many more. Feel free to add yours in the comments, or contact me and I’ll add them.
And if you are lucky enough to go to Summit 2014, enjoy!