The annual AWS re:Invent conference is just around the corner kicking off on November 26th in Las Vegas. Rest assured, there will be lots of AWS-related products, partners, and customer news, not to mention more than a few parties and chances to network with fellow conference-goers. Here are some helpful tips and a few topics we expect to hear about this year.

1. Enterprise Security – Always a hot topic.

As Enterprise cloud adoption continues to grow at an increasing pace, so does the need for strong governance and security offerings. This year we have seen many new releases and enhancements from AWS to beef up its security offerings. Amazon Guard Duty was released at re:Invent 2017, so we may see some new capabilities announced such as improved integration with other new or existing AWS services.

GRC is not just for your old data center anymore. Governance, Risk and Compliance is vital for long-term success of your adoption of the cloud. With the initial release of AWS Compliance Center for Financial Services in early September, we anticipate some updates there as well.

The dynamic nature of the cloud continues to create specific challenges for security. Better security and visibility for ephemeral resources, such as containers, and especially for AWS Lambda, are a particular challenge. We would be extremely surprised if we didn’t see some more announcements in this area.

2. Will CEO Andy Jassy finally bring me the Transit VPC Service I’ve been dreaming of?

For many years we have had the architectural challenge of transitive routing in AWS, and for many years I have sat in attendance at the re:Invent keynote in awe over Andy Jassy and Werner Vogels, hanging on their every last word as they masterfully fire out new product releases like it was some sort of magic show, many of us hoping they would one day announce that they are going to solve this transitive routing challenge with a cloud native AWS service. But alas, each year it has been like opening all your Christmas gifts only to find the one thing you really, really hoped for was nowhere to be found. Will this finally be the year? Will Santa Jassy bring us the easy button for transitive routing? With the recent releases and lots of extensive activity around Transit VPC via CFT in combination with Lambda, tags and Cisco CSR’s, it feels like we’re almost there. Surely they will not let another year pass. My bet is this is the year we see it come to fruition. I will get my most sought-after gift this year. I will get my Atari 2600, my Optimus Prime, my AT-AT Walker. You bet I will! Well, at least I hope.

3. General Releases – ‘nuff said!

Amazon Data Lifecycle Manager was released in July of this year and is a simple way to schedule and manage EBS volume backups without relying on a third-party tool. We expect to see expansion into more regions and are hopeful for more granular snapshot timing options. Currently it only allows scheduled backups to run every 12 or 24 hours.

As has become the norm, we anticipate new instance types and/or families to be announced. Last year we saw M5 and H1 instance types as well as Bare Metal instances (preview) introduced. Per an article by Jeff Barr earlier this year, Bare Metal Instances with 6 TB, 9 TB, 12 TB, and more memory are in the works, all designed specifically for SAP HANA and other in-memory workloads. We wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort focus around this.

4. Parties, let’s get this place rockin’!

2nd Watch will be teaming up with Palo Alto Networks this year to host its annual party at the Omnia Nightclub located in Caesars Palace.  There will be great food, an open bar, an awesome DJ, and of course friends from years past. Every year this is a sold out party, so if you’re not yet on the guest list, request your invitation at We’d love to connect with you, and it’s a party you will not want to miss.

In keeping with a long-running tradition, AWS’ re:Play Party will be off the chain and likely cause some rough flights home the next day. Last year, DJ Snake spun the night away while attendees bounced on mega castles, played games and took advantage of the open bar. Amazon Web Services always pulls out all the stops, and we expect this year they will continue to raise the bar.

2nd Watch Tips & Tricks

Last, we want to offer up some information we think will be beneficial to maximize your time at re:Invent. Here are a few tips & tricks we have learned over the past 6 years (Wow! Has it been that long already?)

  • Avoid walkup breakout sessions, unless there is a very short, or no, line. Many people have waited up to 2 hours for a walkup breakout session only to be turned away at the door due to a full house. Have no fear, friends! All of the breakout sessions are recorded and will be posted online, so if you can’t make one live, use your lunch break to play catch up once you get home.
  • Consider signing up for the Hackathons, Security JAMs, Labs, Workshops, and Chalk Talks instead of breakout sessions. These are usually a really good investment of your re:Invent time where you get to interact and learn a lot. These are often not recorded and shared online, so taking advantage of these in person is a great opportunity not available after re:Invent is over.
  • Avoid relying on the shuttle service if you have limited time between events in different hotels. Instead, consider using the Monorail system. This now seems to be the fastest and most consistent way to get around. Plan ahead, though, so you know where the entrances are, as you may not have time to do that while you are racing from event to event.

In Closing

We are sure that there will be many new acronyms to learn after this year and lots of new services to sift through. One thing we do know for certain is that once the re:Invent dust has settled,  2nd Watch will be at the ready and by your side to help you consume and adopt the BEST solutions for your cloud journey. Swing by our booth, #2440, for some swag and a chat. This year we are giving away Amazon DeepLens cameras, and we are super excited to see you!

We also invite you to join us at our breakout session, ‘Proven Methodologies for Accelerating Your Cloud Journey.’ Here you will learn how to accelerate your journey to the cloud while implementing a cloud-first strategy without sacrificing the controls and standards required in a large, publicly-traded enterprise.

  • Benefit from insights developed from working with some of the most recognized brands in the world.
  • Discover how these household names leverage automation, CI / CD, and a modular approach to workload design to ensure consistent application of their security and governance requirements.
  • Learn which approaches to use when transforming workloads to cloud native technologies, including serverless and containers.

With this approach, business users can finally receive properly governed resources without delaying or disrupting their need for agility, flexibility and cloud scale.

Finally, don’t forget to schedule a meeting with one of our AWS Professional Certified Architects, DevOps or Engineers while you’re at re:Invent. We would love to hear all about your cloud journey needs! That is all for now, we hope you are as excited as we are this year and can’t wait to see you in Las Vegas.

– Dustin Snyder, Cloud Practice Manager