AWS Summit Stockholm 2019 – Are You Well Architected

Last week, on Wednesday May 22nd, the AWS global summits tour 2019 arrived in Stockholm. I had also booked time from my calendar to make a trip to Stockholm from Tuesday until Thursday – as I like to be effective and I’ll try to combine several engagements when I go visit a site in Sweden or elsewhere in the Nordics.

And it was indeed a three activity full days – I was back at home only late on Thursday night. This is a short recap of AWS Summit Stockholm and some related activities I attended during the visit.

Stockholm here I come

After short flight with old faithful – and ah so familiar – ATR turboprop and train trip with Arlanda Express, I arrived at Stockholm with my colleagues.

Fueling up before the evening

Are you well architected – Customer evening

Miss Clara Hotel Stockholm

The event was held at the roof terrace of Miss Clara Hotel and we had invited customers as well as AWS people and our own people handling client relationships.

Erik Torstensson from Cybercom AWS Business Group was acting as the master of ceremony and kicked off the evening with Tony Hendrell.

I was invited to the stage and give a brief introduction to AWS Well-Architected framework and what it means to be Well-Architected.

Then we proceeded with a customer case and success story of one of the cases, where we were doing Well-Architected review. Mehdi Rafinia from Samtrafiken joined the stage sharing their insights, how they felt that doing the Well-Architected review early on gave the edge they needed to start proceeding to the right direction right from the start. When we revisited them after few months time, it was apparent that they had avoided the biggest pitfalls because they had done the review very early on in the process.

This is also key for everyone to understand – Well-Architected is a journey and you should do verification of your direction already very early on. Not only when everything is implemented. So it’s not only validation afterwards, it’s also validation before.

After the official show, we had discussions with customers late until the evening, until it was time to call it a day. The next morning was to start 7:30 AM as we were going to the Summit site to set up our booth at the Expo floor.

Summit at Stockholmsmässan

Arriving at the scene

The team arrived at Stockholmsmässan right at the break of dawn. We had some setting up to do before the doors officially opened to the expo guests.

We had decided to focus on two main points this year on our story at the booth: firstly on the Well-Architected story and secondly on AWS DeepRacer.

AWS Communities in the Nordics – One of the strongest in the world

One reason for me to travel to the Summit was definitely to talk to other Community leaders in the Nordics – as you might now, I am one of the Community leads at AWS User Group Finland and helping out also in the Stockholm AWS Meetup organizing team.

The AWS meetups in the Nordics are one of the strongest geographies when it comes to the sheer number of communities, members and organized events. We have 17 active user groups as of now including over 8000 members. Finland being the biggest at the moment with around 1900 members and Stockholm following not far behind.

We also have succesfully built a AWS Nordic community around single communities. For example maintaining pan-nordic community Slack team and organizing the annual AWS Community Day Nordics. By the way, the next one is happening next spring in Stockholm.

Most of the key organizers from the biggest communities were on site and you could meet us at the Communities booth. Me and Marcia from Finland, Gunnar and Lezgin from Stockholm, Anders from Norwegian communities and Martin from Copenhagen.

AWS Community booth

Big thanks goes out to Adrian Hornsby from AWS evangelism team constantly doing a great job in enabling the Nordic communities and Nicolo Ricciardi from AWS in organizing the premises for communities at the AWS booth.

DeepRacer League

The other of the big themes our team had prepared for the Summit this time was attending at the DeepRacer league. DeepRacer was a 1/18th scale “toy” car which was announced at ReInvent 2019 in Las Vegas.

AWS DeepRacer announced at ReInvent 2019

It is programmed and steered by using a deep learning model. We were also able to acquire two of these cars to Cybercom, even if they were in incredibly short supply.

AWS DeepRacer is an autonomous 1/18th scale race car designed to test RL models by racing on a physical track.

We took this challenge seriously and preparations were made burning midnight oil on the previous weekend. The task to lead the challenge was assigned to Jouni Luoma from our Tampere office.

We had actually also ordered a full size race track mat to our premises in Tampere to train the model and practice for the race. This was probably the most imperative part in our success – as it so happens that Jouni won the Stockholm race with more than 0,5 second head to the second contender. The time was actually at the moment fastest run in the Summits in Europe – and only few faster times globally.

Our success and the cars at our booth gathered incredible amount of interest. And I guess in the end this has been the purpose of this car all the time. To create discussion about practical implementations of deep learning AI and bringing it closer to developers for everyday use.

I also promised to have a short story prepare about our DeepRacer success story to the next AWS meetup in Stockholm on June 13th. So if you are interested in that, sign up for the meetup.

AWS meetup

On Thursday night, me and some of my colleagues decided that even if it had already been a long day, that we will join AWS meetup at AWS offices in Stockholm. The meetup was sponsored by Opsio and in addition for some pizza and drinks, there were also very interesting topics on the roster, as the AWS summit had brought the AWS evangelism team to town.

We heard good stories from Gabe Hollombe and Matt Fitzgerald from AWS as well as Gunnar Grosch from the sponsor Opsio. I found Matt’s talk particularly interesting as he was using AWS graph data base Neptune to gather data from AWS Config and visualize that with a open source tool called Cytoscape. That was one cool demo I really did not anticipate seeing, when he was starting the demo!

I also found my sticker on the AWS office stickerboard!

Find therolle on the board

Office hours

During Thursday I had still reserved some time to meet some AWS product teams at their Office hours. Really good concept and productive to meet them, while they are in town for the summit. So back to Stockholmsmässan on Thursday morning as well, where the meetings took place in the adjoining conference hotel.

Also on Thursday morning I was discussing the next steps and the plan for the upcoming 2020 AWS Community Day Nordics with the core team of the Stockholm event. Great to see that they have taken up the challenge and I am waiting for the next one to be even bigger and better in regards of visitors and content that we can provide to visitors. Stay tuned for news on that!

The rest of the day I met with peers at Cybercom Stockholm office after which it was time to hitch a ride in Arlanda Express back to the Airport and finally to home.

See you next time!