PASS HQ originally posted a blog entitled “The Decision: PASS Summit 2013” making it sound like a decision had been made per the title, but in reality they are still seeking community input into the final decision and have now updated their blog entry to: http://www.sqlpass.org/Community/PASSBlog/entryid/273/The-Debate-PASS-Summit-2013.aspx. So here comes my two cents into the debate!
I’m lucky. I live in Houston, thus I can fly to most any other major city in the continental U.S. in under 5 hours flight time, non-stop, and relatively inexpensively. So, travel to PASS, regardless of where it is held, is really a non-issue for me. I know from talking to many international colleagues that it is also immaterial to most of them – travel to the United States is travel to the United States regardless of the city location. However, I acknowledge that many of my US colleagues live far from major airports and thus have to take multiple connections to get the Seattle. But, where do you move it to that this isn’t an issue for someone?
Did I mention I live in Houston? Well, every May, since 1969, we are the home to one of the largest conferences in the world – OTC (Offshore Technology Conference). So here comes my analogy… Houston is seen as the home of offshore drilling due to the number of companies in the industry headquartered here; Seattle (okay, Redmond) is the home of Microsoft. There is offshore drilling occurring around the world (North Sea, Brazil, Beaufort Sea, etc.) not just the Gulf of Mexico and plenty of the companies involved are based around the world. There is usage of Microsoft SQL Server around the world! OTC is sponsoring some “off-shoot” conferences this year including OTC Brasil to be held in Rio de Janiero in October. PASS is sponsoring an “off-shoot” conference this year – SQLRally is being held in Orlando in May. I haven’t heard anything about a PASS Europe event in 2011, but those have been held in the past.
So for me, I personally like having the PASS Summit in Microsoft’s backyard; some years I’ve spent more time talking to the development team members present in the “Ask the Experts” area than in actual conference sessions. I know there is concern about the level of support from Microsoft for these types of extras (including CSS and SQLCAT) if the conference is held away from the Redmond area. Sure, Microsoft will always have speakers and their presence in the vendor area, but how many of the lower level developers that actually write the code will get to hear the input from the community first-hand? As far as I know this is the big con for moving away from Seattle and the big pro for keeping it in Seattle.
However, having just completed a SQLSaturday event in Houston, I know that site location is ultimately determined by availability and price!
So while my preference is to keep PASS Summit in Seattle and move SQLRally around, the bottom line for me is that the PASS main event can be held anywhere and I will come!