AWS re:Invent Tips & Tricks Pt. 2

Here we are again, it’s time to start preparing for AWS re:Invent and trying to fake like we aren’t excited about going to Las Vegas, telling the significant other “it’s just work, if I could I wouldn’t go!”

And that is not a completely inaccurate sentiment, but in reality, heading to re:Invent the week after Thanksgiving is also an incredibly exciting time (and one that gets me really jacked up just thinking about it). I remember my first re:Invent 4 years ago. I really had no idea what to expect. There were a lot of emotions and thoughts running through my head that first week, but more than anything, it was the overwhelming feeling that you were part of something special and there was an intoxicating buzz, not from the gambling and typical vegas shenanigans, but one of a completely different variety, that of DISRUPTION. Never before had I been in one place with 15,000 of my closest friends all planning on conquering the world and using AWS to totally disrupt the way business works. It was incredible and I remember walking away on a business high that carried us through planning, budgeting and building the strategy for our go to market for Relus Cloud for years to come.

As I look back over the past four years of attending re:Invents, a few things jump out to me for what you should be thinking about. Here is a quick overview to get your head right.


What’s the old saying, “if you are the smartest person in the room, get out”, or something like that?  Go ahead and prepare yourself, you will not be the smartest person in any room at re:Invent. If you are, congrats and send your resume here. If not, prepare yourself and go with an open mind. Your mission should be to approach re:Invent as though you are trying to find the next big trend that could totally change your industry. And then figure out how to boil that down to some digestible tidbits that could help your business grow and transform in 2018. There will be an unbelievable amount of information available for you to consume. Don’t expect that you are going to learn everything. Instead, keep your eyes and ears open and try to talk to the person standing next to you. Ask them why they use AWS. How they use AWS. What works? What doesn’t work? What would you do differently after knowing what you now know? Do your best to stimulate conversation and keep an open mind. Don’t be a know-it-all!

What’s Everyone Talking About

AWS has made a habit of conditioning all of us fan boys to expect big announcements for new products and services. Everyone will be talking about those new announcements and will be thinking about how they can implement them and what it means for their business. But the reality is that most of the new services and products will be MVP’s and there will still be a lot of work to be done on them before they are ready for your production environment. My advice is to enjoy this part of it and sit back and watch the “Partner Bingo” process unfold…in other words, which new service did AWS just announce and what partner does that disrupt?

What Everyone is Actually Doing

The reality is that we are still at day 1. Sure, there are some organizations that have gone “all in” on AWS. However, most organizations are at different parts of their journey to adopting AWS, some still being at just the beginning and some being very mature. And that is what is so unique about AWS re:Invent. There are talk tracks and segments designed for just about every stage of a public cloud adoption process. Some folks are still learning what it means to have an application mapping of their environment that isn’t 10 years old. Some folks are still figuring out how to plan and budget for operating expenses vs the traditional CapEx approach. Some folks are much further along and are trying to figure out the best way get applications to market faster and are highly interested in DevOps strategies, or as we like to call them, Culture & Mindset Changes. And then you have the folks that are really far along and are using serverless, microservices, containers and other sophisticated AWS services that totally change the game.

What will the Trends be?

The three that stick out to me are AI/ML, Containers and VMware Cloud on AWS.

AI/ML: AI/ML AI/ML AI/ML AI/ML AI/ML….In case you are living under a rock with the Geico cavemen, AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and ML stands for Machine Learning. More specifically, there will be some really cool new use cases and discussions around how some big companies are leveraging Alexa, AI/ML and other AWS services to do some really cool, really futuristic stuff that will blow our minds. Get ready because the future is at our doorsteps and it involves AI/ML through AWS.

Containers:  There has been a lot of buzz from Microsoft and Google on recent container services announcements. My guess is that AWS is going to make some big splash announcements around their container offerings.

VMware Cloud on AWS: Yes, everyone was shocked when Andy Jassy and Pat Gelsinger were on stage back in September announcing the availability for VMware Cloud on AWS as officially GA. There is still a lot to be determined when it comes to the long term ramifications of this relationship. My guess is that there will be some big enterprises that are announcing their intent to go all in and there will be some high level strategic relationships announced. There are a lot of questions for customers and partners alike for what happens with this relationship and what it will do to AWS adoption at the enterprise level.

Remember, there is going to be a lot of information coming at you from a lot of different angles. Do your best to stay hydrated and stay awake as there will be conversations that could legitimately change the course of how your business transacts in the future. Keep an open mind and be curious. Ask questions and probe and challenge. You’ll be glad you did and if you need a partner to guide the way, hit us up at Relus Cloud!

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