April 6th starts a week of plenty of great SQL Server content.  Much of which is being handed over to all that attend for free in the form of SQL Saturdays.  If you are near the Chicago, IL, Madison, WI areas, make sure you take advantage of the following events.  If you can, take advantage of all of them!

SQL Saturday in Madison – This is our second SQL Saturday in Madison.  Last year was a screaming success (I say that because Jes is on the organizing team ;-)  This year will be as good if not better than last year.  The location is the same, speakers and schedule looking awesome and the Wisconsin SQL Community just has a great time networking and learning together.  I have the honor of presenting with the famous Jes Borland too!!!  I may have to get her signature while we’re up there.  I may also get it for saying that.

PASS Business Analytics Conference – The window sticker, “Immerse yourself in the world of data-driven insights with over 60 sessions by top Microsoft and industry experts – including award-winning economist and Freakonomics co-author Dr. Steven D. Levitt. Gain real-world insights, prescriptive guidance, best practices, and strategic vision to expand your ability to predict business performance.”  The non-window sticker:  this conference is looking better and better each time I look over the sessions.  This is coming from a not-so-BI-driven-SQL-Guy.  If a conference geared towards the BI space of SQL Server can intrigue a diehard internals SQL MVP, you shouldn’t be missing this one.  If you are cringing at the cost, make the case to have your company send you.  The ROI and value is there.

The week comes to an end on a high note with SQL Saturday in Chicago.  This SQL Saturday was one of the first I helped organizer and one of my favorite.  The team, the location, sponsors and schedule are always amazing.  The best part, like any SQL Saturday, it’s free and still Summit level content.  I’ll be helping DeVry again by teaching students in their IT programs but also ending the day with a session on upgrading to SQL Server 2012 with limited downtime.  This session was given recently for the Chicago SQL Server User Group and a great session.  Not so much for my side as a speaker, for the discussions and interaction it sparks with everyone wondering just how easy it should be to upgrade to SQL Server 2012.  I’ll have demos on upgrading from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012 already setup with Availability Groups and a quick application review of utilizing connection strings to show mirroring at work for upgrade usage.

If you want to stretch the week out even longer, Fargo is holding its first SQL Saturday on April 27th!  This event was the brain child of good friend Jason Strate.  I was lucky enough to have helped as an organizer and can with complete confidence say, this SQL Saturday is going to be a huge success and one that will become an annual event for another great region.

As you can see, there is a lot in the North-Central to Midwest PASS regions this coming week.  Plenty of reasons to learn some new things about SQL Server and network with people that have that passion about this product line just like you do.

I hope to see everyone at one of these events.  They all should be a great success.