AWS re:Invent

AWS re:Invent 2016

I’ve been given the opportunity to join my coworkers and attend one of the biggest conferences in the world, AWS re:Invent. I’ve been working with AWS services for the past three years and I was excited to be a part of this event. I spent a lot of time looking through all of the information about the conference, maps, events, sessions, experiences from previous years, etc.. But nothing can prepare you for the sheer size of it. If you’ve been to Vegas you’ll know what I’m talking about.

What and where?

This year, re:Invent was held at the Venetian and the Mirage, which made attending some sessions really difficult because you had to run back and forth. I tried to plan my sessions ahead to make sure I got the most out of it. My schedule was similar each day. Get up in the morning and watch live stream of the keynote speech in my room to avoid the huge crowds. After that, I would go to the Venetian or the Mirage to attend sessions or workshops.

AWS re:Invent
AWS re:Invent session

After lunch, I would go roam the Expo hall. There were a lot of people, so companies had to be very innovative (pun intended) to get your attention. AWS’s booth naturally dominated the expo. They had set up a smart home example where you could see Alexa and smart home automation in action. For me, it was a great experience to talk to their experts just to explain how I’m using their platform and maybe get a few tips on how to improve my solutions. Once you had enough of walking, you could relax in the beer garden or the park.

Evenings are great for networking or entertainment, which often come together because there’s no reason not to have fun while you’re working. You’re in Vegas after all. Speaking about fun, re:Play is maybe the biggest party I’ve ever attended and it’s a great way to end a conference. There’s live music, classic arcade games, bubble football, and so on.

Here are some of my favorite announcements I’m looking forward to try out:

AWS Glue is Amazon’s idea for an ETL tool. It’s still unavailable but it will help us understand our data, transform it and move it reliably between our data stores. (https://aws.amazon.com/glue/).

Amazon Athena is an interactive query service that makes it easy to analyze data in Amazon S3 using SQL. It’s a great new service that doesn’t require you to load the data into RDS or Redshift to be able to analyze it. (https://aws.amazon.com/athena/)

AWS Batch enables developers, scientists, and engineers to easily and efficiently run hundreds of thousands of batch computing jobs on AWS. (https://aws.amazon.com/batch/)

Amazon Lex is a service for building conversational interfaces using voice and text. They basically gave us access to deep learning engine that powers Alexa. (https://aws.amazon.com/lex/)

AWS Snowmobile
AWS Snowmobile

These are just the tip of the iceberg, there were many other announcements (full list available here).

 

This entire experience helped me put things into perspective. When you see how many brilliant people there are and how innovative their solutions are, you really feel humbled and it motivates you to never stop improving and bettering yourself, just like AWS. And getting Echo Dot as a gift from Amazon isn’t bad either.

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