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AWS re:Invent 2018: The Day 1 Buzz

November 27th, 2018


Scale the crowds

AWS Re:Invent started full-on today, There are a rumoured 45,000 people at the conference, the event is spread across 6 hotels in Las Vegas and if you know the size of the hotels in Vegas, you can imaging how enormous this actually is. Last year was of course super busy and there were logistics problems getting people around the venues and more annoyingly I missed a number of sessions despite being there in time due to poor session booking management. Conference organisers have rejigged things this year, bringing similar sessions closer together to avoid having to move as much, better and more direct transport, many repeat sessions and sessions beamed to other venues into overfill rooms . Hopefully this all helps with the more people here, time to get stuck in!


One of the best ways I find to spend time at re:Invent is to do workshops. These are longer form sessions which are more hands-on. Other sessions can be viewed online but workshops by their nature are intense “get stuff up and running” sessions while having Amazon experts in the room to help you along.

Serverless (Headless) Retail Technologies at Scale – RET302

Mike Mackay, Toby Knight, Bastien Leblanc, Imran Dawood, Mike Morain, Andrew Kane, Samuel Waymouth, Lee Packham, all from Amazon and Charles Wilkinson Architecture Head from River Island

My first workshop for the week was hands-on and all about using serverless to handle a retail promotion, so catering for seasonal scale. Lots of interesting things but two things were of primary interest. Using Lambda without having to change your existing code. This workshop used Java which can be re-used in Lambda without changing your existing code with the  AWS Serverless Java Container, how powerful is that!

The other interesting part was to use Split Origin CloudFront to direct traffic for a URI, in the workshop a single product to go through an entirely different path so as not to break your existing website when you have a sale.

I blogged about separately: AWS re:Invent 2018: Serverless Retail Technologies at Scale Workshop  – RET302


Pretty good, only had a quick one as I had made pretty poor life choices for breakfast and due to the large American food, I wasn’t that hungry!


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Supercharge VMware Cloud on AWS Environments with Native AWS Services- CMP360

20181126_215302898_iOSAndy Reedy and Aarthi Raju from AWS

Next up was a session bridging the two worlds I’ve worked in, VMware and AWS. VMware Cloud on AWS is VMware running vSphere natively on AWS as a fully managed service from VMware. What has always interested me about this solution is not just treating it as a colo within AWS but also taking advantage of AWS services from within your vSphere environment running in AWS or even on-prem.

I wrote what I learned: AWS re:Invent 2018: Supercharge VMware Cloud on AWS Environments with Native AWS Services – CMP360

Closing Loops and Opening Minds: How to Take Control of Systems, Big and Small – ARC337

Colm MacCarthaigh – Sr Principal Engineer, EC2 Networking, AWS

This session was a rare opportunity to hear from AWS itself how it runs its cloud. It was all about the AWS control plane and how it is the key to the success of the system. Colm delved into some of the designs and shared operational issues learned at the coal face of some of the most reliable systems at AWS and also took us down the rabbit hole of academic control theory.

I blogged about separately: AWS re:Invent 2018: Closing Loops and Opening Minds: How to Take Control of Systems, Big and Small – ARC337

Monday Night Live with Peter DeSantis

20181127_030237944_iOSPeter is AWSs Global Infrastructure VP which he’s been now doing for a little over 2 years although he’s a company man of 20 years. As an infrastructure person myself, I can appreciate the scale of Peter’s job!

Peter gets to peel back some of the curtain of what AWS is working on for its global platform.

It was an interesting talk and always useful to see the hard work AWS is doing hardware and service wise, although I’m pretty sure everything talked about today is stuff AWS has been working on for a while, the real new cutting edge developmental things are still very much secret stuff.

I blogged about it separately: AWS re:Invent 2018: Monday Night Live with Peter DeSantis

That’s Day 1 finished, FitBit says 25,498 steps today!

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