As a SQL Server professional, I consider it an absolute must to attend the SQL PASS Summit each year. Last year was my first year attending the SQL PASS Summit 2011, and I must say, it changed my life. The community around SQL Server is quite possibly the greatest draw to the product, and seeing the community come together for a wonderful week was one of the greatest professional experiences I have ever had. After just sitting through the first precon last year, I knew that no matter what was going on in my world, I would be attending the Summit every year from that point forward.

I consider it the premier event for SQL Server education and training. I am still reviewing material that I sat through from last year’s event (recorded on the fantastic conference DVD set that you can purchase . Plus, you have a lot of fun putting faces to online personas and Twitter handles. You already know the people from online interaction  but meeting them in person really solidifies the professional relationships that can last a lifetime. Check out the after-hours events if you want to meet new people!

This year is my second year attending, and I cannot wait for it to start!

I know everything that I just said sounds somewhat sappy and cliche, but I don’t think you know how much I really enjoy the SQL Server community. You all are some of the best people that I have ever met, and the thoughts of hanging out and talking geeky with you all makes me constantly smile. Other technologies that I deal with on a regular basis have no concept of a supportive community, and the user base is nowhere near as enthusiastic as this crowd.

In addition to everything sponsored by PASS that’s going on this week, my former employer is holding a free four-hour training boot camp session on Virtualizing your Business Critical SQL Servers on the Tuesday before the Summit begins. I am lucky enough to be presenting most of the content. I can’t mention names, but we have some tremendous (and famous) attendees already registered. If you are in town on Tuesday, and do not have any plans, head on over to our boot camp and get some free knowledge!

If you are a first timer, please make plans to attend the First Timer events. They are great, and I guarantee they will help you know what to do, where to go, and who to talk to if you have questions. The professional networking from these events is stellar as well! The session of events is located here as well.

I am also planning to spend a few hours in the Community Zone chatting with fellow attendees. I can’t wait!

So… after all of this, you’re going to attend, right? I’ll see you there! I’m counting down the days…