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The annual AWS re:Invent conference is nearing upon us, kicking off December 2nd in Las Vegas. We are pumped up to participate once again and to hear about all of the AWS-related product updates and customer news, not to mention more than a few parties and chances to network with fellow conference-goers. After years of sponsoring and attending the conference, here are some helpful ‘how to re:Invent’ tips we’ve compiled and a few topics we expect to hear about this year, to help you prepare for and maximize your re:Invent experience

Service release announcements

Last year at re:Invent, AWS announced Control Tower (preview). It was then released into GA on June 24, 2019. Since then, we have been keeping a close eye on its adoption as well as a potential roadmap for enhancements. The largest and most obvious of enhancements that we are hoping to see released this year at re:Invent is the ability to integrate existing accounts or organizations into Control Tower – even more specifically, the ability to pull your AWS Landing Zone into Control Tower. This will be a game changer for those who have already heavily adopted AWS and a true must for the overall success of the product.

Just like Control Tower, Security Hub (preview) also was announced last year at re:Invent and then subsequently released into GA on June 24, 2019. Security Hub is a fantastic tool that integrates with multiple AWS services such as Amazon GuardDuty, Amazon Inspector, and Amazon Macie, as well as AWS Partner solutions to monitor compliance. However, it is limited to (at time of writing this article) compliance checks based only on Center for Internet Security (CIS) AWS Foundations Benchmark. The release of integration with Cloud Custodian earlier this year did open up the potential for tons of custom-written compliance checks, but we would like to see more compliance checks released that are out-of-the-box to remove reliance on custom coding and 3rd party tooling. Based on our experience, we believe that PCI may be the next compliance check released for Security Hub.

Let’s talk about the parties

2nd Watch will be hosting its annual AWS re:Invent After Party at the Omnia Nightclub located in Caesars Palace, and it’s sure to be an epic time! There will be great food, drinks, an awesome DJ, and of course the 2nd Watch crew. This party sells out every year! Check out the details on our website.

AWS will be hosting its annual re:Play Party on December 5th and will likely lead to a few active snooze buttons the following morning. Between Broomball, Dodgeball, music, food, drinks and plenty of other entertainment it will definitely measure up to its predecessors. As Chris Traeger (Parks and Recreation) would say, “It is, literally, the best party, ever. “

You can see the full list of activities and events at https://reinvent.awsevents.com/play/.

2nd Watch Tips n’ Tricks

Over the last 7 years we have watched the AWS re:Invent conference grow from about 8,000 to 50,000+ attendees. As we have attended every year, we have picked up an abundance of tips and tricks along the way to help us survive the madness. We are excited to share some of those with you to help you get the most out of your re:Invent adventure.

  • App for the win – Download and use the AWS Events app. This will help you manage your time as well as navigate around and between the venues.
  • Hurry up and wait Lines, lines, and even more lines. Have you ever been to Disneyland during spring break? We say this every year and will say it again. Book your spots early. Relying on walk-up attendance for sessions, bootcamps, etc. will likely net you a very frustrating week. Although we have been fortunate enough to hit some gems via the walk-up, it is typically rarer than finding a leprechaun in the middle of the winter with its pot of gold.
  • Embrace your extravert Consider signing up for the Hackathons, Security JAMs, Labs, Workshops, and Chalk Talks instead of just Breakout Sessions. These are often interactive and a great way to learn with your peers.
  • Watch for repeats AWS is known for adding repeat Breakout Sessions for those that are extremely popular. Keep your eye on the AWS Events app for updates throughout the week.
  • Get ahead of the pack After Andrew Jassy’s Keynote there will likely be sessions released to cover new services that were announced. Get ahead of the pack by attending these. Take note that this year Jassy’s keynote will be on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.
  • Try not to boil the ocean – You will not be able to attend every session that you are interested in. Pick one learning track and try to get the most out of it. Attempting to pack in several tracks will only have you running around frantically all week.
  • No fomo Most of the sessions are recorded and posted online after re:Invent is over. Fear not if you miss a session that you had your eyes on. You can always view it later while eating your lunch or while attending another meeting about ‘why meetings are important.’
  • Get engaged – Don’t be afraid to engage with presenters after the sessions. They are typically there to provide information and love answering questions. Some presenters will also offer up their contact information so you can follow up again at a later time. Don’t be shy, snag some contact cards for topics relevant to your interests.

We are sure that, after December 6th, there will be an overwhelming number of new services to sift through. Once the re:Invent 2019 hangover subsides, 2nd Watch will be at the ready to help you consume and adopt the BEST solutions for your cloud journey. Swing by our booth, #2013, for some swag and a chat. This year we are giving away DJI Robomaster S1 robots (the coolest way to learn programming), and we are excited to see you!

We also invite you to join us at one of our Breakout sessions, Simple Path to AWS Managed Services (AMS) or CCPA – State Privacy Laws Effect on Cloud Development. You can find details and add these sessions to your agenda at https://offers.2ndwatch.com/aws-reinvent-2019.

Finally, don’t forget to schedule a meeting with one of our AWS Cloud Solution Experts while you’re at re:Invent. We would love to hear all about your cloud journey! We hope you are as excited as we are this year and we look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.

-Dustin Snyder, Cloud Practice Manager

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