What a difference a year makes. That was the thought running through my mind as I marveled at the strength of Dell’s presence last month at PASS Summit, the industry’s premier Microsoft SQL Server user conference. From start to finish, anyone attending the show, myself included, was left with an undeniable impression: Dell is here in full force.

This represents a big change from the 2012 PASS Summit.  At that time, the various components of Dell’s SQL Server solution had just been joined, and their messages had not yet been pulled together in a way that truly conveyed the significant power of our combined set of capabilities. This, then, was our challenge. We needed to clearly articulate the vast potential of Dell’s end-to-end SQL Server management capabilities.

With that in mind, when I met with my team to begin outlining our 2013 priorities, we all agreed that PASS Summit 2013 would be a critical event, one at which we needed to showcase the power of Dell’s newly combined set of capabilities and extoll our leadership within the broader Microsoft SQL Server market. In other words, we wanted to use the event to put people on notice. We resolved that whether you were a customer, reporter, analyst, or competitor, we were not going to let you leave Pass Summit 2013 without knowing that Dell has a powerful suite of end-to-end SQL Server management capabilities, anchored by a robust portfolio of market-leading software solutions. We did that and then some.

Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear: Dell is not new to the SQL Server market in any way. Just the opposite, in fact. We’ve long been one of the largest resellers of Microsoft SQL Server licenses worldwide. We provide the hardware platforms on which SQL Server runs, the services needed to customize your implementation, and with Dell’s acquisition of Quest last year, the software needed to manage, monitor and make the most of your investments. 

So PASS Summit has always been an important event for Dell but one that we approached from different directions. This time around we brought all of our SQL Server components together in one unified solution spanning hardware, software and services—making Dell a stronger force with a louder voice in this vital industry segment.

The statement Dell made at the PASS Summit did not fall on deaf ears. Headlined by our software capabilities, Dell’s booth was by far and away the most active of any vendor booth on the floor, and the exhibit hall was at various points submerged in a sea of blue, with attendees displaying their Dell Software t-shirts throughout the week.

The buzz was palpable. For just a small taste, have a look at some of the photos, videos and social chatter we captured on Storify

Of course, being a market leader requires more than just a strong trade show presence. It requires a commitment to delivering the tools and technologies SQL Server users need to get their jobs done. We’ve kept up our end of the bargain on that front as well, announcing a series of critical software product releases at the event, including version 10 of Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise, Dell Software’s flagship SQL Server monitoring solution.

I’m also of the opinion that being a market leader means connecting with and being a resource for the broader user community. That’s why we also used PASS Summit to unveil two new free community resources. They include Spotlight on SQL Server Freemium, which provides free access to some of the most powerful features of the enterprise monitoring solution, as well as Spotlight System Healthcheck, a free system health check and benchmarking technology, both of which our available at SpotlightEssentials.com, itself a tremendous resource for SQL Server community.

PASS Summit may now be behind us, but make no mistake: Dell will continue to lead the way in solutions for SQL Server. Now, and well into the future.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Did you attend PASS Summit? If so, drop me a line at Matt_Wolken@Dell.com or on Twitter at @matthewwolken to share your impressions.