Well, it’s that time of year again. Where I live, the leaves are changing color, temperature is diving, and turkeys are starting to fear for their lives. These signs all point to AWS re:Invent being right around the corner. This year, AWS re:Invent will kick off its 9th annual conference on November 30th, 2020 with a couple major caveats. It will be 3 weeks long, 100% virtual, and free to all. This year will be a marathon, not a sprint, so make sure to pace yourself. As always, 2nd Watch is here to help prepare you with what we think you can expect this year, so let’s get to it!

At the time I am writing this article things are a bit unclear on how everything will work at re:Invent this year. We can definitely count on live keynotes from the likes of Andy Jassy, Peter DeSantis, Werner Vogels and more. For the hundreds of sessions, it’s unclear if the sessions will be broadcasted live at a scheduled time and then rebroadcasted or if everything will be on-demand. We do know sponsor-provided sessions will be pre-recorded and available on-demand on the sponsor pages. I am sure this will be flushed out once the session catalog is released in mid-November. Regardless, all sessions are recorded and then posted later on various platforms such as the AWS YouTube channel. Per the AWS re:Invent 2020 FAQ’s, “You can continue logging in to the re:Invent platform and viewing sessions until the end of January 2021. After January, you will be able to view the sessions on the AWS YouTube channel.”

AWS expects somewhere in the range of a mind boggling 250,000+ people to register this year, so we can all hold our expectations for getting that famous re:Invent hoodie. The event will be content-focused, so each sponsor will get their own sponsor page, which is the equivalent of a sponsor booth. Sponsor pages are sure to have downloadable content, on-demand videos and other goodies available to attendees, but again, how you’re going to fill up your swag bag is yet to be seen. Let’s move on to our advice and predictions, and then we will take the good with the bad to wrap it up.

Our Advice

  • Be humble– Hold off on boasting to your colleagues this year that you are part of the elite that get sent to re:Invent. News flash: they are going this year too. Along with 250,000+ other people.
  • Pace yourself – 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.
  • No FOMO Fear not, all the sessions are recorded and posted online for you to view on-demand, at your convenience.
  • Stay connected – Take advantage of any virtual interactive sessions that you can to meet new people and make new connections in the industry.
  • Get hands on– Take advantage of the Jams and Gamedays to work with others and get hands on experience with AWS services.

Our Predictions

Let’s take a quick look at some of the predictions our experts at 2nd Watch have for service release announcements this year at re:Invent.

  • AWS Glue will have some serious improvements around the graphical user interface.
    • Better datatype detection and automatic handling of datatype conflicts.
    • Glue job startup will also speed up significantly.
  • Amazon SageMaker algorithms will become easier to use – data integration will be smoother and less error-prone.
    • AWS will release managed implementations of text generation algorithms like GPT-2.
  • Some kind of automatic visualization or analysis feature for Amazon Redshift will be released, so you don’t have to build analyses from scratch every time.
  • Expanded/enhanced GPU instance type offerings will be made available.
  • Lambda integration with AWS Outposts will be made available.
  • Serverless aurora goes fully on-demand with pay-per-request and also, potentially, global deployment.

Make sure to check back here on the 2nd Watch blog or the 2nd Watch Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages for weekly re:Invent recaps, We’ll also be live-tweeting AWS announcements during the keynotes, so keep your eye on our Twitter feed for all the highlights!

Finally, we thought it would be fun to highlight some of the good that comes with the changes this year.

Take the Good with the Bad

The Good

  • No crowded hallways
  • No lines
  • No rush commutes from hotel to hotel
  •  No limits on sessions
  • No need to wear a mask
  • Potential for some fun, virtual after-hours events
  • No hangovers (maybe)
The Not-So-Good

  • No in-person events or after-parties
  • Yet to be determined swag giveaways
  • No feeling special because you registered for a session before your friends or colleagues
  • No going out for amazing food and drink every night
  • No legendary 2nd Watch party


In Closing

Nothing is as we are used to this year, and re:Invent falls right in line with that sentiment. We are eager with anticipation of a great event, nevertheless, and hope you are too. Since we won’t get to see you in-person at our booth this year, please visit our pre-re:Invent site at offers.2ndwatch.com/aws-reinvent-2020 now to pre-schedule a meeting with us and find out about all the fun giveaways and contests we have this year. Don’t miss out on your free 2nd Watch re:Invent sweatpants, a chance to win a Sony PlayStation 5, a great virtual session on taking your data lake from storage to strategic, and a lot more! Then, make sure to visit our re:Invent sponsor page 11/30-12/18 on the re:Invent portal.

We would love to meet you and discuss all the possibilities for your cloud journey. Have a fantastic re:Invent 2020 and stay safe!

-Dustin Snyder, Director of Cloud Infrastructure & Architecture


Here is a short list of links you may find useful: