This is my fourth PASS Summit but my first time attending it outside of Seattle. I like Seattle but I have to admit it was nice to visit some place new and the fact that it was warmer was definitely a plus. Also since Charlotte is the hometown of SQL Sentry they gave us a treat with maps, evening shuttles and sponsorship for various events.
This year I decided to attend more sessions because I wanted information about particular topics and I also wanted to see certain people present in-person. There is always a wide selection of interesting topics and knowledgeable and outstanding speakers at the Summit so choosing sessions is always a task. I believe that a main benefit of attending the event is networking and visiting vendors. I attended some of the evening events such as the welcome reception and exhibitor reception and met many attendees and vendors. The Community Appreciation Party which takes place on the Thursday night is also a great place to meet old friends and make new ones. This year the party took place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame which had many historical cars as well as activities such as High Octane Theatre, the Simulated Track and the Pit Challenge.
|NASCAR Hall of Fame|
The venue, Charlotte Convention & Trade Center, was a suitable size for the event even though some might say the rooms were small for some sessions. The Summit had a large number of attendees that will continue to increase and because of the quality of speakers and sessions it seems inevitable that all sessions will have to be held in large rooms. I was shocked at my first planned session when I entered the room and saw people sitting on the floor and I was blown away the next day when I saw a queue to enter a session. My own planned session at that same time was also full. Just to be clear I’m not complaining but highlighting how much the Summit has grown.
|Leaving PASS Summit 2013|
I must admit that this year time management was a task especially since I wasn't familiar with the venue but I still learned and networked which are my main goals at this event. I had a great time seeing my old friends and making some new ones. In the last four years, I have never regretted taking the time or spending the money to attend the PASS Summit. If you work mainly with SQL Server and have never been to PASS Summit then I recommend attending Summit 2014 in Seattle, especially with the upcoming release of SQL Server 2014!