AWS kicked off its 2016 re:Invent conference in Las Vegas yesterday. Attendees took part in AWS and Partner-led technical sessions, bootcamps and a GameDay, and had the opportunity to interact with a wide range of Consulting and Technology Partners in the Partner & Solutions Expo.

The conference began with The Global Partner keynote, including an overview and some imonials from a wide range of partners and highlighting how AWS has evolved its business and the business of its customers. Terry Wise, Vice President of Global Alliances, Ecosystem and Channels at AWS, was joined by a number of guests throughout the keynote, including James Hamilton, Vice President and Distinguished Engineer of AWS, Adam Japhet, Head of Technology Services Architecture & Design, as well as many others. A wide gamut of topics were covered from a few technology partners, but the overall AWS sentiment was, “Our customers are doing cool things” and “Partners are doing very innovating things on behalf of their customers.”

Yesterday’s evening activities included an event in which James Hamilton, Vice President and Distinguished Engineer at AWS, gave us a peek into what makes up AWS infrastructure. It was a very enlightening view into the world of highly-scalable, highly-resilient distributed systems and the concerns you have to think about when building the world’s best platform as a service.

Announcements came in droves from the Partner Keynote.

  • AWS Service Delivery Program, which is designed to help you showcase your firm’s proven expertise and customer success in different AWS services (and in which 2nd Watch achieved Partner status for Amazon Aurora, Redshift, CloudFront and DMS).
  • AWS Public Sector Program, which recognizes APN Partners with solutions and experience delivering government, education, and nonprofit customer missions globally.
  • AWS IoT Competency recognizes industry-leading AWS Consulting and Technology Partners that provide proven technology and/or implementation capabilities for a variety of use cases including (though not limited to) intelligent factories, smart cities, energy, automotive, transportation, and healthcare.
  • AWS Financial Services Competency, which helps customers identify and connect with industry-leading Consulting and Technology APN Partners with solutions for banking and payments, capital markets, and insurance (and which 2nd Watch has also earned).
  • AWS Partner Solutions Finder (PSF), a new web-based tool meant to help customers easily filter, find, and connect with APN Partners to meet specific business needs.
  • VMware Cloud on AWS Partner Program that will be launched in 2017. The program will provide support for APN Partners that help customers deploy and operate VMware workloads on AWS.

You can find more information about all of these services on the AWS APN blog.

2nd Watch presented breakout session “Lift and Evolve: Saving Money in the Cloud is Easy, Making Money Takes Help” The expert lineup included:

  • Chris Resch, EVP, Cloud Solutions
  • Christopher Nolan, Director of Product
  • Ryan Kennedy, Principal Automation Architect

In this session we looked at the cloud migration process trusted by hundreds of clients, as well as how to cope with the process and people components that are so important to enable agility, while focusing heavily on the technology. The technology showcased enables management of hundreds of AWS Accounts, hundreds of workloads, thousands of instances, and hundreds of business partners around the globe. The configuration management system has Puppet at the core and relies on over a dozen core and emerging AWS products across accounts, availability zones and regions. This complex and globally-available system ensures workloads in AWS meet corporate policies but also allows for rapid scale of both consumer and enterprise workloads.

Attendees were able to select from a plethora of breakout sessions. I want to highlight a couple of the sessions of the day that I thought were truly spectacular:

The first, hosted by Sony, dealt with breaking the bandwidth barrier in highly-available, low latency applications. They went into detail about the price we pay for network and computational overhead when store state. Dustin Pham and Alexander Filipchik made a good explanation of soft state and their innovative use of sticky sessions on ELBs for use with building indexes in Lucene.

The second was hosted by Riot games. Sean Maloney of Riot gave an excellent overview of their journey to deploying containerized infrastructure using Terraform. Riot really wanted to give total ownership of the application to their developers and was uncompromising in making that happen in a logical, safe and well-architected manner that abides by some of their key tenets.

The turnout at this year’s conference has been absolutely amazing. At last count there were about 33,000 people in attendance, making this the biggest re:Invent yet. It also looks to be the most exciting, and things are just getting started. Check back tomorrow morning for Wednesday’s conference recap.

-Lars Cromley, Sr Product Manager