Talk about synchronicity - the old and the new have come together with a great big bonus for SQL Server professionals who are seeking training on SQL Server 2008. Microsoft Learning is teaming up with the SQL Server team to give away free copies of SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition to people who attend instructor-led classroom training at a Microsoft Certified Partner for Learning Solutions (CPLS). Here's the deal:
1) Attend one of these classes at a participating CPLS between December 10, 2008 (when the courses start to become available) and June 30, 2009:
- 2778 - Writing Queries Using Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 Transact-SQL
- 6158 - Updating Your SQL 2005 Skills to SQL Server 2008
- 6231 - Maintaining a Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 Database
- 6232 - Implementing a Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 Database
- 6234 - Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 Analysis Services
- 6235 - Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 Integration Services
- 6236 - Implementing and Maintaining Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 Reporting Services
- 6317 - Upgrading Your SQL Server 2000 Skills to SQL Server 2008
2) Get SQL Server 2008:
- SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition – Full software
- 1 Client Access License (CAL)
- 32 bit, 64 bit and IA64 versions included
- Software will be English only at this point
Pretty simple, right? There are a few minor gotchas, but please don't let these stand in your way:
- Each CPLS will decide whether or not they participate in this promotion campaign, so talk to your local CPLS and make sure they know about it and that they are participating.
- This offer is only good while supplies last. Plan your training early!
And that's that. Call your local CPLS today and ask about SQL Server 2008 training. Tell them Matthew sent you. 
 This is the "new" part - I joined Microsoft Learning as a Senior Program Manager earlier this month, although I cannot take any credit for this cool promotion.
 This is the "old" part - I've loved SQL Server since forever.
 And no, I don't get any kickbacks. How unfair is that? ;-)