I went to my first Professional Association for SQL Server Summit in 2007. I’d gone to a few local SQL gatherings, talked to other area DBAs, and worked on some pretty cool projects. I really liked what I was doing, and I thought I was doing a decent job. I knew I wasn’t a rocket scientist, but I kept the trains running on time.
At the PASS Summit, though, it was as if a giant light bulb clicked on above my head.
I learned that the stuff you really need to know isn’t in Books Online.
You wanna learn the stuff that makes your server fly, the stuff that saves your rear when the database is suspect, the stuff that makes you look like a genius amongst your peers, the stuff that makes the developers’ eyes get big, the stuff that makes you wave your hands in the air and shout “I’M KING OF THE WORLD, FOR TINYINT VALUES OF WORLD!”
Everybody knows the stuff in Books Online – that stuff ain’t enough. You wanna learn the secret tips, the undocumented goodies, the up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A cheat codes. They say there’s no /faster switch for SQL Server, and they’re wrong. The SQL Server world is chock full of sorta-kinda-barely-official things that don’t get enough press, yet make a very real performance difference. The classic example from last year was Jimmy May’s session on partition alignment.
PASS is running a contest to find the best thing you’ve learned at PASS, so in the blogosphere you should be seeing a few folks chime in with their experiences.