AWS re:Invent 2017
It’s coming….only a month or so away. Per the title, you know I’m talking about AWS re:Invent conference in November. This will be my 4th re:Invent (this year makes the 6th year for re:Invent) and can’t wait. Although I’m always excited to attend this conference, I’m more excited this year than year’s past, especially due to my still fairly recent position change to Sr. Solutions Architect on the Cloud Services Team here at AHEAD.
I actually started working with AWS back in 2011. I lived through the semi-familiar story of the developers taking a credit card and spinning up infrastructure to bypass my team. However, as that environment grew to a few applications, my team was quickly held responsible for the applications running on AWS and ensuring uptime for them. However, nobody on my team had AWS experience and at first, honestly, nobody wanted to spend the time learning. The developers, not being infrastructure folks, designed it for a single purpose and not future workloads, a common mistake when deploying workloads in AWS. Therefore, the subnets were too small, there was no connectivity to the on-premises data centers, and no extension of our Active Directory domain. We were also running on EC2 Classic as well as this was before VPC was announced and made available to use. However, I ultimately led an effort to revamp the entire deployment to make it Enterprise ready.
AWS announces its first conference…..re:Invent 2012.
I was fortunate enough to attend the conference in its inaugural year, 2012. With around 3000 attendees, it was very, very developer focused. In fact, if you watch the keynote on YouTube, Andy Jassy actually calls it “their first developer conference”. To be honest, I was still a hardcore Infrastructure guy and had very little interest, or capability to comprehend, most of the sessions that year. I spent most of my time networking, enjoying my second trip to Las Vegas, and learning everything that was available on the infrastructure side from vendors and other attendees. As always, the re:Play party was awesome, full of retro arcade games and multiple DJs.
My second year, 2013, was much better for an infrastructure guy as AWS added an infrastructure track, although sessions were still fairly limited. The conference definitely grew from the previous year but wasn’t anywhere close to what we’ll see this year. Although I’m not a big session guy at conferences, that’s where I spent as much time as possible to learn new concepts and ideas to implement at work. Keep in mind that the services available back then weren’t as mature as they are today, nor was the community around AWS in general. The re:Play party for 2013 is still one of my favorites, with DeadMau5 taking stage and being the highlight of the night.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend re:Invent in 2014 and 2015 as I worked for an employer who was, at the time, completely opposed to running workloads in the cloud. I went to VMworld both years instead.
Last year, my third year in attendance, I went as an AHEADian and it was incredible. It was more VMworld-like in that there were now lots of different session tracks, lots of parties, 35,000 attedees, and lots of other things to do. As a Platinum sponsor, I spent a lot of time at AHEAD’s booth talking to attendees about Amazon Workspaces, our incredible Cloud and Automation practice, and how we use ServiceNow to integrate with AWS services. I elected to take my AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional exam at re:Invent 2016 as well. The re:Invent party was another DJ (blame Werner) but was still awesome – Martin Garrix. The party was in two huge tents erected behind The Linq and had tons of games, food, drinks, and lights/lasers 🙂
So what are my plans for this year?
As many folks know, my focus has turned to AWS and helping customers with cloud strategy, roadmap, designs, and a bit implementation. I plan to spend considerably more time focusing on 400-level sessions that will expand my knowledge of existing services (like how to use them in more efficient and strategic ways) and learn how newer services come into play for enterprise customers. I also plan to put some time into the Hands-On labs, focusing on services that I don’t have a lot of experience with thus far. I also want to spend considerable time focusing on 3rd-party partners/products that we’ve seen gaining traction in the market. Last but not least, I might attempt the AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty exam, as I’m hoping to sit the AWS Certified Advanced Networking exam at the beginning of the month.
If you’re going to AWS re:Invent this year, make sure to reach out and let me know.
Hope to see you there!