Author Archive

AWS re:Invent 2018: Build a Photo-Sharing App with AI-Powered Face and Object Detection – MOB306

November 29th, 2018 No comments

Dustin Noyes & Gabriel Hollombe from AWS


Another workshop, so my fingers have been getting a workout today, and no easy passive listening to speaker sessions for me!

This workshop was another one I didn’t have any previous knowledge of and seemed interesting to learn something new like my previous session: AWS re:Invent 2018: Get Started with Deep Learning and Computer Vision Using AWS DeepLens – AIM316

You can play along at home with good instructions

We had to build a data-driven web app using React that lets users upload to shared, secure photo galleries. <sidebar>I’m struggling enough with photo management at home as it is, multiple people, too many photos and complicated ways to sync between devices, back them up and make them available to view! </sidebar>

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AWS re:Invent 2018: Enterprise Governance: Build Your AWS Landing Zone – ENT351

November 28th, 2018 No comments

Lon Miller, Wallace Printz, Brandon Bouier, all from AWS


Back into the workshop mode, this time for what I think is an interesting one, not just from the tech perspective but broader IT and business use. AWS Landing Zone helps you more quickly set up a secure, multi-account AWS environment based on AWS best practices. AWS obviously has a large number of options, so setting up an account can take some time. AWS Landing Zones is deployed into an AWS Organisations account.

Why Multiple Accounts?

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AWS re:Invent 2018: Andy Jassy Keynote Thoughts

November 28th, 2018 No comments

20181128_153441774_iOSAs I’ve settled into Vegas time zone, this felt like an early wake up to make it in time to the Amazon CEO Andy Jassy keynote as there was going to be a queue. It would be far more sensible to stay in a hotel or other venue and watch remotely but feeling the reactions in the room for the announcements seems more interesting and the DJ is always cool!

I had no intention of live blogging the keynote, far too much information and others who are quicker typists!

There were SO many announcements he went through, some from the previous week or so and many new…at some stages I actually felt a little overwhelmed, not only from the number of announcements but more for the implications of what we’re seeing.

A quick way to see the list of announcements for the whole week is to look at The AWS What’s New 2018


Andy bragged about 53000+ people attending and gave an overview of the business, basically millions of customers and a ton of money coming in, 27 Billion in fact, 46% growth.

Andy then used the house band to play a set of 5 songs which formed a list of 5 sentiments: What builders want?

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AWS re:Invent 2018: The Day 2 Buzz

November 28th, 2018 No comments

8km run

Today started super early with the annual re:Invent Fun Run which this year had two options, 4km like last year and double for fun this year, 8km. Silly me, I opted for 8km. The run starts at The Mirage and heads down behind the casino’s along Frank Sinatra drive, 4km turn around at the Aria and 8km was past Mandalay Bay both ending back at the Mirage. There was a fun and lively warm up beforehand which was needed at 6am! I came 68 out of 664!

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It was great fun, even though I planned to push myself, a few late nights somewhat dampened the record time!

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AWS re:Invent 2018: The Quad at Aria – Builders Fair + other fun and games

November 28th, 2018 No comments

The Quad is a great part of re:Invent separate from the normal vendor showfloor. The Quad contains a builders fair, a big VMware community booth which I’ve blogged about separately: AWS re:Invent 2018: VMware at AWS re:Invent and plenty of other fun and games.

Builders Fair

I spent some time going through some of the booths to see what interesting things people are cooking up on the cloud. Interesting the vast majority where using mostly serverless services to lash together the various AWS services, no-one was talking about what they ran in EC2 instances.


Linking up a DeepLens Camera to a bicycle to watch traffic and also using other sensors to monitor performance

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IoT Coffee Dispenser

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AWS re:Invent 2018: VMware at AWS re:Invent

November 28th, 2018 No comments

VMware and AWS have both made a significant investment in VMware Cloud on AWS. One of the interesting facets of this relationship is how the VMware and AWS communities are starting to cross over more than when VMware thought of AWS as just “a book seller”!

The Power of Community

VMware has always had an extremely vibrant community. Some of it was timing, having a technology that became ubiquitous at the beginning of the rise of social media was a great combination. People across the globe and across IT disciplines could now communicate, share, geek out and become friends.

AWS in a sense has not had this same kind of close community. There are many reasons, one being the AWS cloud was something new so it didn’t bring together older disciplines. Another is AWS is made up of a number of different communities which aren’t partitioned into the older network, compute and storage groupings but rather into higher order services like Machine Learning, Serverless and Big Data. AWSs breadth of offerings is so much broader than VMware that it is a more spread out collection of different communities rather than a single large one.

I’ve been happy to be part of come of the burgeoning VMware community at VMS events, we had a vExpert breakfast this morning.


VMware {code} booth

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AWS re:Invent 2018: Workshop – Alexa, Ask Jarvis to Create a Serverless App for Me – SRV315

November 27th, 2018 No comments

Aleksandar Simovic – a software engineer from ScienceExchange
Slobodan Stojanovic – CTO of Cloud Horizon

This workshop piqued my interest as a little peak into the future of creating serverless applications. Today, we can already use existing CloudFormation templates or the Serverless Application Repository (SAM) to spin up a serverless application quickly without having to write any new code although those templates definitely have a lots of text config in them. Surely we can do more though and why not bring some other AWS toys into the mix and create some Alexa magic to help Iron Man with a Jarvis type skill!

In the hands-on workshop, we were to use the SAM along with Amazon Alexa, Lex and SageMaker to create “Jarvis”. I’ve never worked with Lex and Sagemaker before so a good learning opportunity.

You can attempt to play along yourself (although read on first):

Aleksandar went through an intro to Alexa saying we currently use Alexa to get information but the dream is to get Alexa to build something and this workshop would be using a virtual assistant.

There were 5 steps: (apologies for poor quality pictures)

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AWS re:Invent 2018: Get Started with Deep Learning and Computer Vision Using AWS DeepLens – AIM316

November 27th, 2018 No comments

Kashif Imran and Jyothi Nookula from AWS

I wanted to attend a workshop on something I don’t normally deal with. This workshop was all about deep learning so we’re into the work of AI! The idea was to learn how to build and deploy computer vision models using the AWS DeepLens deep learning-enabled video camera. This was then extended to build a machine learning application and a model from scratch using Amazon SageMaker. I would land up with and end-to-end AI application. I felt getting into AI using computer vision as an example is a good way to “see” what is possible with AI.

You can follow along at home but would need a DeepLens camera (we did receive a discount code, I may have had an urge to get one!)

This was a well setup workshop with lots of space. I was in the walk-up line as the registration was full but after missing so many sessions last year due to a suboptimal AWS Human Queuing Service, its great this year people are able to see more. Each seat had a workstation setup with a DeepLens camera.

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There were multiple parts to the workshop:

  1. Introduction to Deep Learning and DeepLens.
  2. Create and deploy object detection project to DeepLens.
  3. Train an object detection model using Amazon SageMaker.
  4. Extend DeepLens object detection project to identify people who are not wearing safety hats at construction site.
  5. Analyse results using IoT and CloudWatch.

Machine Learning overview

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AWS re:Invent 2018: The Day 1 Buzz

November 27th, 2018 No comments


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
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AWS re:Invent 2018: Monday Night Live with Peter DeSantis

November 27th, 2018 No comments

Peter 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. Peter did his first Night Live last year (it was a Tuesday) which he took over from previous super techie guru, James Hamilton.

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Peter gets to peel back some of the curtain of what AWS is working on for its global platform. As a recap, last year it was a good explanation of the Nitro system which has allowed the new bare-metal instances, which also allows VMware Cloud on AWS and Peter went through some of the networking and load-balancing. Guard Duty was also announced. There was a good warm up band.


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