PASS Holds 2010 Summit with Record Registrations; Also Plans New Regional Event

The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) held the annual PASS Summit last week drawing 2,814 delegates and 993 pre/post-conference attendees for a total of 3,807 registrations. It is the largest turnout since the inception of the conference, and represents a 25% increase in attendance over 2009. The SQL Server community is growing "and we are very much a part of that community," Rick Heiges, vice president of marketing, PASS, told 5 Minute Briefing. 

The record conference attendance was not a surprise, he added.  "Last year, our numbers were down about 10% but that was actually fantastic because a lot of other shows were down as much as 50%. We knew that we had a strong base to build upon. We saw signs of the economy coming back so when we started to budget for this year we had a good feeling that we would be able to have record attendance because our community is just so passionate about being here and getting together each and every year."

For the first time in its history, Heiges said, PASS streamed the live daily keynotes featuring top Microsoft executives, Ted Kummert and Quentin Clark, and Technical Fellow David DeWitt, allowing SQL Server professionals in close to 50 countries to join onsite attendees to watch the center stage program in Seattle. PASS is also making replays available on demand. Full article on the DBTA website.

Last week, PASS also released the results of a new database security report, "Data in the Dark: Organizational Disconnect Hampers Information Security." The report, based on research conducted among 761 members of the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS), reveals that companies suffer from a false sense of security. The research was sponsored by Application Security, Inc., a provider of database security, risk and compliance solutions for the enterprise, and produced by Unisphere Research.

Approximately 75% of respondents to the survey, the majority of whom are database administrators, are responsible for protecting their organization's database. Yet, the report found that 40% of respondents were unaware of their organization's IT security spend, with 57% having no idea of the potential cost impact of a large-scale data breach. Nearly half of the study's respondents said that a database breach would have greater impact on organizational security than any other IT component. "Being able to provide this industry trend report on database security is a very valuable benefit to all our members," observed Heiges.

In addition, PASS announced that it is planning new regional events for the coming year. The inaugural "PASS SQLRally" will be held May 11-13 in Orlando. The two-day event with an optional additional day of preconference seminars, is intended to fill the gap between the PASS Summit and the free one-day events around the country called PASS SQLSaturday. PASS has heard from some of its membership that they want a little bit more than what is offered through SQLSaturday events, but they don't have enough funding to get to the PASS Summit, "so we are trying to bring the experience closer to them, in a regional way," explains Heiges.

With the PASS SQLRally, "one of the ideas is to take it regional, not only within the United States, but also to use it as a model to grow our global events strategy," said Rushabh Mehta, PASS president.  In addition to the Orlando event, it is hoped that another SQLRally event might take place next year in Europe or the Asia/Pacific region, he said. For details, go to

Overall, observed Mehta, the overwhelming response from attendees is that they are very excited about the Microsoft announcements made at PASS and the product roadmap that has been shared. "There is just a great buzz around the attendees about what is there and  what is coming, and also just excitement around the Summit. Everyone feels it has been a great experience for them and we have been hearing more and more from online folks that they wished that they really wished they were here this week."

To watch the PASS Summit 2010 events on demand, go to

Application Security, Inc., the sponsor of the PASS database security study, hosted a webinar yesterday during which Thom VanHorn, vice president, Global Marketing, Application Security, Inc., and Joe McKendrick, research analyst with Unisphere Research, presented a detailed overview of the findings and the far-reaching implications for enterprise organizations heading into 2011. For a replay, go here.