I just returned to New England after 4 days in Charlotte at Pass Summit 2013.
I analogize the conference to going out to eat every hour, some presentations I truly enjoyed; Others did not suit my pallet. Overall, I would rate the event as a total success.
Here are some presentations I viewed in chronological order that were definite highlights during my trip.
Thomas LaRock / Tim Chapman - Query Performance Tuning: A 12 step method.
Paul Randal - Waits, Latches, and Spinlocks: Internals and Analysis
Glenn Barry - Storage Subsystem Basics for the DBA.
Brent Ozar - Why is SQL Server Slow right now?
I do have a few grips about the event. Most can not be helped by the event organizers.
First, the conference hotel rate was all sold out at the beginning of September. I was able to get a 4 star hotel in South Park but did not realize that a 5-8 mile drive was going to cost me $60 a day in taxi cabs. If this event is ever in Charlotte again, try to get a hotel next to the light rail. It is only 2 bucks each way. The taxi to/from the hotel to the rail costed me an additional $20 per day. This added 1.5 hours to my total day.
Second, the convention center is a-lot smaller and laid out differently than Seattle. It is very interesting that the light rail goes through the convention center. However, it results in smaller conference rooms. Many well liked speakers such as Paul Randal and Bradley Ball had concert rock star lines.
Here are some of the things that I truly enjoyed about the trip.
First, all the local people that I did meet in Charlotte were very polite.
Second, the food was out of this world. I did not meet a dish that I did not like.
Last but not least, I really could not comment on a city without talking about local hang outs. I liked the VBGB beer garden for it selection of beer and beach volley ball. It is located on the outskirts of the city. If you want to enjoy food and drink in the city, check out the Carolina Ale house.
In summary, if you can get the chance to go to the Summit 2014 Conference in November 2014 at Seattle, please do. You will not be disappointed in the professional networking and technical presentations. Also, I can not wait to visit the Tap House!