Unconcerned with their vendors corporate problems like delayed launches, lawsuits and security holes, the two major user groups for Microsoft Corp. SQL Server products are busy planning for 2002 and beyond.
Issues like education, usability suggestions and community technical support for SQL Server--the enterprise database from Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft--are hot topics for the independent Professional Association for SQL Server, which is holding its annual conference in Denver starting Jan. 28.
"The most significant thing for PASS is ... were going to be formally launching a lot of special-interest groups," said volunteer board member Trey Johnson, a professional data warehouse architect.
The groups, active later this year, will serve the needs of PASS 15,000 members for database administration, data warehousing/business intelligence and application development. The database administration SIG will likely have subgroups for data replication, security and clustering, he said. Third-party product SIGs may also be considered, he said.
The conference, originally scheduled for mid-September but delayed because of the terrorist attacks, will also be the initiation for new PASS President Guy Brown, recently elected to a two-year term.
It also will feature a keynote address by Gord Mangione, vice president of SQL Server at Microsoft. Mangione will likely discuss the upcoming bundling of SQL Server with Visual Studio.Net--which will be launched Feb. 13--and the next-generation Yukon database, scheduled for a mid-2003 launch. Microsoft will also release the second beta version of Java Database Connectivity Driver, Microsoft officials said.
CEO Steve Ballmer was scheduled to speak in September but wont make it to Denver.
Throughout the year, PASS also will continue its online monthly chats at Microsofts TechNet site, begin its own Web casts to paying members, and contemplate the formation of smaller but more frequent regional conferences, Johnson said. For its part, Microsoft should consider building more functionality into the data transformation services of SQL Servers data warehousing products and making the OLAP analysis features easier to manage, he said.
"Things have been very good," said veteran PASS member Steve Simon, senior technical officer at State Street Corp., in Westwood, Mass. "Theres a lot of us here at the bank that go to the PASS Web site and take advantage of whats there."
Like many organizations, State Street uses resources besides PASS, like SQL-specific magazines, and runs other databases in-house. But as the company gets more SQL Server intensive, groups like PASS will be valuable, he said.
Meanwhile, the SQL Server Worldwide Users Group is in a murkier situation. The groups Web site has been a blank white page for the past few weeks, and group leader Stephen Wynkoop was unavailable for interviews.