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Takeaways from AWS re:Invent 2019 

What I Learned at AWS re:Invent 2019

We asked our instructors in attendance at this AWS event, to share their biggest take-aways.

Pete Durst, Master Instructor, ExitCertified

Wow! This is my third time to AWS re:Invent and every time, it gets better, bigger, and more powerful for me.  I am always amazed at how much talent and expertise is at these shows and how well orchestrated it is, from both AWS and their attendee’s perspective.  Awe inspiring.

So, from an attendee’s perspective, here’s a snapshot of what I did. I arrived on the Sunday and stayed for the entire week.  I was able to attend a number of conference sessions, informal get togethers and also help our exhibit team engage with customers at the ExitCertified booth.  This kept me busy throughout the week and on a good note, I was super tired when the week ended.

As an instructor, attending the technical conference sessions was my main priority.  I love the interaction of speaking with those that work the magic “behind the scenes” and gain understanding of what is really going on with any given service in AWS.  I love to know the details and to be able to use that information to help me better understand any new service as well as related services.    This year I focused on attending 400 level sessions around container services (Kubernetes, EKS, ECS, Fargate, etc).  I truly believe that these sessions have helped to solidify my knowledge on many container services, which are a hot topic in several classes I teach. 

The social get togethers were also very beneficial to me.  I was able to meet peers from many companies /organizations and see what others are doing in relation to this field.  Being able to catch up with old friends and connect with new ones, is priceless - simply for the exchange of ideas and “how did you do this” moments.

A substantial part of my free time during the week was spent at our booth in the Vendor Expo. I was able to help by fielding the “technical” questions around AWS features and solutions, job roles and recommended certifications. My knowledge of the cloud space in general and the AWS curriculum helped to better inform many of the folks who stopped by.  I met countless IT professionals who were AWS savvy, and represented a great diversity of industries.  I was able to learn something from everyone and was pleasantly surprised by former students of mine, who stopped by to say hello.  Exchanging information with attendees about what they are working on, new things they want to see in training and questions about changes to the existing training, made the experience invaluable.  I was also able to venture around the Expo and see the other vendors.  This was time well spent as I was able to go and chat with other businesses about the work they do with AWS and understand how they do it.  It will be a tremendous advantage for me in the classroom, to know about 3rd party services that may help students with the unique issues they face.

By the end of the week, it was somewhat sad to say our farewells for another year.  I was able to see all of what I wanted, and I gained a great deal of information during the week.   I am still amazed at how much effort is put into this conference by AWS and their partners.  If I were to summarize this week, one word - WOW!!!

 Mike Stapleton, AWS Instructor, ExitCertified

This year was my first year and hopefully not my last year at AWS re:Invent. I have always been impressed by the technical skill and vision of AWS but managing something like re:Invent with what seems to be about 60,000 participants is really impressive. Talk about organizational skill.

The ability to talk face to face with the pre-eminent experts in almost any technical subject was invaluable. Sure, you can read the docs, read the blogs, do the tutorials, watch the videos, but they are orders of magnitude less efficient than the low latency, synchronous, face to face communications I had at re:Invent. I was able to drill down to the details I needed that were otherwise hard to come by. There is no substitute for being there.

My big take away from the event, is a feeling of where we are headed. Cloud is good, but a Cloud is somewhere. We do not deploy things to the Cloud, mostly we deploy things to a Region, which is somewhere on the planet.

With Lambda@Edge, IoT GreenGrass, and now Outposts, Local Zones and Wavelength; we are seeing the trend to decentralize the Cloud. AWS Sky? SkyNet is already taken… I long for the day that I do not have to think about Regions and Zones, yet still provide a low latency highly available service everywhere. And the cool thing is - it seems that we are on our way there. Go AWS Go!

"If you are thinking that data governance will be an issue, please, let me dream." 

Sean Mohseni, Instructor, ExitCertified

This was my first time attending AWS Re:Invent in Las Vegas, although I have attended several IBM conferences (Think/Interconnect/Impact/WebSphere) over the years, here in Vegas.

The first major difference that I witnessed was the number of attendees and the scale. While I was used to attending conferences with anywhere between 20,000 to 30,000 people, here we had something over 60,000 people. Scheduling, Operations and Management – I don’t know how they do it!

Since I began my AWS Instructor journey this year, attending 3 to 4 sessions daily, made a meaningful impact on my knowledge around topics like: Data Transfer Strategies to the cloud, Networking, Storage, Landing Zone, Control Tower & Fargate. I believe there is no equivalent to meeting the AWS experts and getting the first-hand information from the actual product owners.

On a different note, I attended our ExitCertified booth for a few hours each day and I was able to make several effective connections with new students and those evaluating the benefits of private group training for AWS. . While at the expo, I went to many exhibitor booths and had very constructive conversations on different third-party technologies in support of AWS cloud. This gave me some insight on alternatives that we can introduce to our clients, who come to training with many practical questions concerning their IT environments. Finally, having a chance to meet and interact with our fabulous team members, from other locations, and sharing information, was a great privilege that is best achieved in events such as AWS re:Invent.

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