120x240 sqlspring2009 Connections is 3 weeks away and counting!It's an exciting year for us for DevConnections! SQL Server 2008 has now been out for a few months and an SP is coming up soon. This is the sign that some customers wait for to migrate over to the new release feeling that an SP indicates a higher level of stability. But, this is also a time when some companies are shying away from upgrades because of the immediate and very quantifiable costs. And so Paul and I really struggled with what to focus on when we put together our Connections line-up.

What we decided to do is focus on your getting the most from the system that you have now – with best practices that apply to SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008. Personally, Paul and I are going to demo and focus on 2005/2008 but the concepts work on all 3 versions (and even most of the syntax as well – but, for index fragmentation analysis and maintenance the commands changed between 2000 and 2005/2008 so that's one minor difference). For the conference itself, we're focusing on upgrade, new features in 2008 and things to be aware of architecturally in all areas of Administration/Ops, Development and Business Intelligence. And, given that this isn't a "new product year" for SQL, other big conferences are likely to have fewer SQL sessions than usual (and most do…seriously).

So, with SQLConnections you get 46 *SQL* sessions and 3 full-day *SQL* workshops (and workshops on other technologies as well – all of which are spread over 2 pre-con days and 1 post-con day – with none of the SQL ones running concurrently so you could attend all 3). Top it all off with a more intimate event than many others means more interaction to get your tough questions answered! In fact, to help make sure we see as many people as possible, Paul and I usually schedule our sessions before and after lunch so that we can spend the entire lunch gap inside our session room answering even more questions! We even have a session called "Follow the Rabbit" where YOU drive the session with your questions. It's great fun and we've been doing this for the past few years with a lot of success!

If you want to see a bit of the personality and flair offered at Connections – check out MyConnections – it's our conference magazine (note: it's 9.80 MB to download but, it's 84 pages). It's something you get automatically after attending and it's filled with technical articles and all sorts of additional information that comes from Connections. And, here's a link to a fun and fast-paced video with highlights of the conference itself (nothing technical – just fun shots of the event). For example, did you know that EVERY year a Harley is given away at Connections? Here's the quick video: mms://bcast.sswug.org/sswugtv/DevConnectionsFall08.wmv.

Finally, did you know that EVERY attendee gets a FREE SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition license with one CAL. That can cover your attendance right there and get you started on development and learning with SQL Server 2008.

We really have a great time at Connections and we hope to see you there!! (And, Florida in March is a nice destination from the winter weather for many of us as well. :)

We hope to see you there!!
Kimberly and Paul