First a disclaimer: I’ve had this article in the works for a long time. So if you are seeing this only right now, it’s because I’ve backdated the article to last December 🙂
AWS ReInvent is AWS yearly main event held in Las Vegas at Venetian hotel and other venues throughout the city (as it has grown so large).
I had the good fortune to pack my bags and join the event for third consecutive time this year. And it was bigger than it has ever been.
Travel, travel, travel
Traveling to Vegas is always a project of it’s own as it takes time. Even if everyone knows Vegas by name, it’s not like it is a major airline hub in the US, especially for foreign flights. So the travel time to get there from Finland is borderline one full 24 hour day. This is one reason why I always tend to arrive one day earlier. The second reason probably being, that I am not getting younger… and getting the internal clock adjusted is not as trivial what it used to be. Well, I guess they call it seniority in some circles.
We spent the extra day by showing the town around for the first timers and some essential shopping.
As it was not meant to be just fun and games, our team started from the first night to check out all the keynotes and activities. Midnight special session kicked off the night before official start of the conference.
The expo hall was also bigger than ever with literally dozens and dozens of exhibitors. I did not spend too much time this year on the expo floor, but here’s a shot to give you some perspective.
AWS Partner Ambassador Summit
All of the AWS Partner Ambassadors globally were invited to join a summit of our own on the Partner Summit day. This proved to be actually one of the most interesting parts of my trip. This was because we were briefed on all of the upcoming product launches of the week!
This came with strict information embargo stamp and statement that if anything leaks, don’t expect an invite next year. So after this I was sitting on a pile of information and not being able to discuss the details with anyone before it came public knowledge. But I guess it at least made us feel special 🙂 Also all photography was strictly banned, so all I got was this one picture of a rollup. But I still consider it a fair trade for all of the insider information I was privy to.
We were also discussing with fellow ambassadors from different parts of the world, that what is to be expected from the program in coming times, as it had been running in beta all through 2018. And I was the only participant from the whole of Nordics and Baltics.
I’m not citing all of the product launches here, but you can find the full roster on AWS site here.
Well-Architected and DeepRacer
Well-Architected had been around for some time already, but few things emerged in that context during this ReInvent. AWS launched Well-Architected Partner Program, which naturally resonated with our team very well. We made plans on the spot to get ourselves certified to that partnership program.
One other thing launched was DeepRacer: small deep learning race car. And I heard lot of people saying, what is this. But it actually makes sense – bringing technology to easily consumable package and letting developers tinker with it.
One of my colleagues actually managed to grab one, as they were giving out limited quantities for developers to take and ship home. Let’s see what interesting things we can build on that later.
Also this DeepRacer league was announced, where you are competing against other developers with deep learning models programmed to the car. And the first final was happening right before Werner’s keynote. Interesting indeed!
One of the definite highlights of this trips was the possibility as an AWS APN Ambassador to join the recording of AWS podcast on site and to meet no else than Jeff Barr. If you know who he is, you know, why this is a big thing in AWS context.
As a result of getting to meet Jeff, it came to be that I got my own sticker as well. But that is a story for another day.
Some extra curricular activites
Naturally it wouldn’t be a trip to Vegas, if you didn’t find something fun to do while there. Here are some shots of the RePlay final party (starring Skrillex), going to see Cirque du Soleil show, visiting the National Atomic Testing Museum and going to see Fleetwood Mac concert.
And on that bombshell (this time almost literally) it was time to head home.