Welcome back friends! AWS re:Invent turns 10 this year and once again 2nd Watch is here to help you navigate it like a pro. As we all know now, AWS re:Invent 2021 is back in person in Las Vegas. One addition this year, Amazon Web Services is also offering a virtual event option… well, kind of…. As it currently stands, only the keynotes and leadership sessions will be live streamed for the virtual attendees. Breakout sessions will only be live for in person attendees, but will be available on-demand after the event.

What to Expect at AWS re:Invent 2021

For the rest of this blog I will try to focus on my thoughts and limit my regurgitation of all the information that you can get from the AWS re:Invent website, such as the AWS Code of Conduct, but I think it’s worth noting what I think are some key highlights that you should know. Oh, and one more thing. I have added a small easter egg to this year’s blog. If you can find a Stan Lee reference, shoot me an email: dustin@2ndwatch.com and call it out. One winner will be picked at random and sent a $25 Amazon gift card. Now let’s get to it.

Some important things to note this year

Now that AWS re:Invent is (mostly) back in person, AWS is implementing proper health measures to prevent the spread of COVID. Make sure to review the health guidelines published by AWS. (https://reinvent.awsevents.com/health-measures/). Here is the summary for those that don’t enjoy more eye exercise than necessary. Refer to aforementioned link for more details and FAQ’s if you do.

  • All badge holders attending in person must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (2 weeks after final shot) which means you must provide a record of vaccination in order to receive your badge. AWS makes it clear that there are no ifs, ands or buts on this. No vax proof, no badge. ‘Nuff said!
  • Masks will be required for everyone at the event. Real ones. Unfortunately face lingerie and train robber disguises will not count.

Keynotes at Glance

This year’s keynotes give you the best of both worlds with both a live option for in person attendees and on-demand viewing option for virtual attendees. The 2021 keynotes include:

  • Adam Selipsky, AWS CEO
  • Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President, Utility Computing and Apps
  • Wener Vogels, CTO, Amazon.com
  • Swami Sivasubramanian, Vice President, Amazon Machine Learning
  • Global Partner Summit presented by Doug Yeum, Head of AWS Partner Organization, Sandy Carter, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector Partners and Programs, and Stephan Orban, General Manager of AWS Marketplace and Control Services

2nd Watch Tips n’ Tricks

Over the last 9 years we have watched the AWS re:Invent conference morph into a goliath of an event. Through our tenure there we have picked up an abundance of tips n’ tricks to help us navigate the waters. Some of these you may have seen from my previous blogs, but they still hold strong value, so I have decided to include them. I have also added a couple new gems to the list.

  • App for the win – I cannot stress this one enough. Download and use the AWS Events app. This will help you manage your time as well as navigate around and between the venues.
  • Embrace your extravert Consider signing up for the Builder Sessions, 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 in repeat Breakout sessions for ones that are extremely popular. Keep your eye on the AWS Events app for updates throughout the week.
  • Get ahead of the pack After Adam Selipsky’s Keynote there will likely be sessions released to cover off on new services that are announced. Get ahead of the pack by attending these.
  • No fomo Most of the Breakout 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, on a break or doing your business.
  • 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 that you can follow up again at a later time. Don’t be shy and snag some contact cards for topics relevant to your interests.
  • Bring the XL suitcase – Now that we are back in person, get ready to fill that swag bag! You will need room to bring all that stuff home so have extra room in your suitcase when you arrive.
  • Don’t just swag and run – Look, we all love stuffing the XL suitcase with swag, but don’t forget to engage your peers at the booths while hunting the hottest swag give-a-ways. Remember that part of the re:Invent experience is to make connections and meet people in your industry. Enjoy it. Even if it makes you a little uncomfortable.
  • Pro tip! Another option if you missed out on a reserving a session you wanted is to try and schedule something else that is near it at the same time. This will allow you to do a drive by on the session you really wanted and see if there is an open spot. Worst case, head to your back up session that you were able to schedule.

Our re:Invent Predictions

Now that we have you well prepared for the conference, here are a couple of our predictions for what we will see this year. We are not always right on these, but it’s always fun to guess.

  • RDS savings plans will become a reality.
  • Specialty instance types targeted at specific workloads (similar to the new VT1 instance they just announced focused on video).
  • Security hub add-ons for more diverse compliance scanning.
    • Expanded playbooks for compliance remediation.
    • More compliance frameworks to choose from.
  • Potential enhancements to Control Tower.
  • Virtual only attendees will not get the opportunity for the coveted re:Invent hoodie this year.

In Closing…

We are sure that after December 3rd there will be an overwhelming number of new services to sift through but once the re:Invent 2021 hangover subsides, 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 #702 for some swag and a chat. We are giving away Gretsch Guitars we are super excited to see you!

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, Director of Cloud Infrastructure & Architecture

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