Primed and ready for AWS re:Invent 2016

AWS re:Invent 2016 is set to be a great week of technical sessions, workshops, and more. If you are going to Las Vegas, your excitement should be near a fever pitch. If you are not attending don’t worry! The Cloud Academy team will be here on the ground to keep you informed across the sessions and content. Here is my AWS re:Invent 2016 plan for the week to get us started.

Andrew’s re:Invent 2016 plan

I’m calling Monday “security day”.  It starts at 7 a.m. with the AWS Certified Security Specialty (beta) exam. My team at Cloud Academy is working hard on creating learning paths for the newly released AWS security, networking, and big data specialist certification exams, so I am looking forward to being the first of our team to face the new certification content.

After three hours of exam fun, I’ll be ready to learn something new. First up, I am attending Pawan Agnihotri’s Fraud Detection with Amazon Machine Learning on AWS (FIN301). Pawan and team will be taking us through a reference solution used to detect and address credit card fraud in real time using Apache Apex and Amazon Machine Learning capabilities.

Next up, I’m attending Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity for Systemically Important Financial Institutions (FIN302). As well as covering useful best practices, this session includes a step-by-step outline of how the team built a disaster recovery solution employed by a major exchange, which is great real-world insight for AWS architects.

Then it is off to Use AWS to Secure Your DevOps Pipeline Like a Bank (FIN303). I am not sure anyone should be using a DevOps pipeline like I use my bank, but all debt jokes aside, this session looks really promising. I am interested in learning about any process that can help with inspecting CloudFormation to ensure that the infrastructure is always compliant. These sessions talk about security in the real world, which is  really helpful for cloud practitioners.

On Monday evening I’ll be catching up with the ANZ AWS team and AWS re:Invent 2016 attendees, which will be good fun and full of updates. Assuming things don’t get too out of hand on Monday night, I’ve programmed Tuesday as “Solutions Day”.

“Solutions Day” kicks off with the Partner Summit Keynote, which is to be delivered by my ex-boss Terry Wise and AWS CEO Andy Jassy. The fact that Andy is presenting with Terry is, in my view, an indication of how important the partner community is to AWS. I think it is important that we ALL keep in mind the types of solutions that AWS would like their ecosystem partners to build and deliver. That strategy also helps us keep in sync with the skills AWS partners want from their future employees (you!).
Following the Partner Summit Keynote, I’ll be off to Mark Stratham’s AWS Professional Services Effective Architecting Workshop (ARC320). The AWS “Pro Serv” team is simply awesome at what they do and I like to attend their workshops to ensure that our Cloud Academy courses continue to reflect AWS design philosophies and best practices.

I plan to drop in at the AWS professional certification lounge at some point during the day to catch up with colleagues and gauge emotions around the beta exams.

Then it is on to The Building Blocks of AWS IoT ChalkTalk (GPSCT303). I hope that attending this session will help spark scenario ideas for an AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud “IOT shoot out” course that we’ve been kicking around at Cloud Academy.

The “shoot out” idea (so far) is to stand up an IOT service (e.g. a vending machine maintenance app) on each of the three major IOT platforms (AWS, Azure, Google) and see the features/ benefits/ bottlenecks of each platform. We want to provide an interesting way to help students recognize and explain the various design differences, benefits, and exceptions of the available platforms. And, it would be a fun way to broaden your knowledge and experience with IOT solutions. I’m sure we’ll be inspired at the “building blocks” session so we can help you learn more about IOT!

Following ChalkTalk, I have a 2.5 hour hands-on workshop, Using the Database Migration Service (DMS) for Database Consolidation, Data Distribution and Replication Workshop (DAT321). I have just built a course on AWS DMS and am keen to get across more advanced use cases so we can help you make the most of this excellent migration service in our next series of lectures and labs. Tuesday evening is a special live event with James Hamilton, which is bound to be good.

Wednesday is what I’m calling “back to basics” day. It starts out with Andy Jassy’s keynote,  which will no doubt include huge announcements and eye watering new services. After Andy’s keynote, I am attending Disrupting Big Data with Cost­ effective Compute (CMP302). Hearing about cost efficiency and picking up the latest cost saving strategies should settle me down a bit before attending Mark Mansour’s DevOps on AWS: Advanced Continuous Delivery Techniques (DEV403) session. This session should be a good, practical deep dive. How AWS drives DevOps is a major focus for us at CloudAcademy and I’m hoping Mark will take us further into the DevOps “dark side”.

Next, it is off to Rob Alexander’s From One to Many: Evolving VPC Design (ARC401) to remind and re-sharpen our VPC skills and strategies. I just can’t get enough of best practices around core AWS services and love teaching them. “Solutions Day” closes with the APAC pub crawl with my old APAC lead Shane Owenby. Shane was the first AWS employee in Asia Pacific for Amazon Web Services in 2009, a great guy and incredible team builder. I expect no mercy on the pub crawl!

Thursday is my full noise “Serverless day”. It will start with Werner’s keynote, which I expect will shatter traditional business models even further, as well as the re:Invent the notion of computing.  Following Werner’s session, I am attending AWS GM Tim Wagner’s view on The State of Serverless Computing (SRV311).

These two sessions are bound to unleash a flurry of excitement. I am building a Serverless Learning Path with Serverless guru Alex Casalboni, and the AWS SAM sessions are of high interest to us both.
Next up is a Serverless and Container frenzy with Develop, Build, Deploy, and Manage Containerized Services and Applications on the AWS Cloud (DEV403)  followed by Application Lifecycle Management in a Serverless World (SRV304), Running Microservices on Amazon ECS, and BA Lambda Start (SRV305). Reserving seats in these sessions was by no means an easy task! I hope that by attending I’ll be able to keep you up to date with the latest and greatest in the Serverless paradigm. I’m very interested in managing serverless architectures at scale, and of course who wouldn’t want a list of AWS Lambda cheat codes that can help unleash the full power of AWS Lambda for your production workload (content quietly outlined as possible in the BA Lambda session)!

Despite Friday being the morning after the re:Invent 2016 PLAY party, which typically goes late and loud into the night, I’ve chalked Friday down as my “Mobility Day”.
The day starts with Add User Sign­In, User Management, and Security to your Mobile and Web Applications with Amazon Cognito (MLB310). Amazon Cognito is a great service, and we want to have the best and most relevant SSO and Cognito content in our new security learning path. Once the authentication session had been “negotiated”, I plan to pass myself temporary to Andrew Chud’s Building and Delivering Mobile Apps for the Enterprise Using AWS Mobile Hub Deep Dive (MLB403).

What a mix! There will of course be new sessions added following the announcements, so I will aim to be at those to keep you up to date on the latest. I’ll be looking forward to bringing you highlights and summaries for sessions of note next week during the event.
Let’s meet at re:Invent 2016.


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