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Start planning now for AWS re:Invent 2017

AWS re:Invent 2017 is going to be bigger than ever with over 1000 sessions and another record breaking number of attendees

Registration is open, sign up ASAP. It’ll sell out soon!

The first AWS re:Invent conference kicked off on 27 November 2012. With 100 breakouts sessions, we spent three days learning from the speakers and from each other.

It was one of those conferences where people would see you coding in the hallway, stop, ask what you were up to, and then pitch in. The atmosphere was electric.

Six years later, we’re getting ready to do it all again — this time at truly global scale.

10x the sessions

AWS re:Invent 2017 is going to be bigger than ever with 10x the sessions — over 1000 now! In 2017, you can expect another record breaking number of attendees. The event has exploded out of the Ventian/Palazzo and now officially happens at 5 Las Vegas properties — well, really 4 properties with the Encore being used for meetings only.

AWS re:Invent 2017 Campus

The scale of the event is going to present some logistical challenges. I’m confident that AWS will be able to sort them out but at the moment — in the early stages of registration — there is some confusion.

The agenda lays out what is going on at each part of the campus. You should read that in depth but the overview is simple.

The expo, workshops, and Andy Jassy’s keynote are at the Venetian/Palazzo. Bootcamps & Certifications at the Mirage. The MGM Grand hosts Werner Vogel’s keynote, the Global Partner Summit, and some workshops.

Breakout sessions are spread out between The Venetian/Palzzo, MGM Grand, and the Aria based on the track. This 2017 tracks include Architecture, Analytics, Compute, Databases, DevOps, Enterprise, Networking, Storage, Marketplace, Artificial Intelligence, Alexa, Serverless, Containers, Analytic Solutions, Security, Content Delivery, Business Apps, Mobile, and Windows.

Where to stay

The biggest question facing everyone right now is where to stay?

With the conference spread out pretty evenly over the four main properties. If you’ve been to Las Vegas before, you know that while Google Maps may say that it’s only 2.8 Km between the MGM Grand and The Palazzo. That distance is going to take you almost 40 minutes to walk or 10m in a cab — if you can get one.

This is where I rely on my past experiences at AWS re:Invent and say — with confidence — that AWS will address this problem. They haven’t announced the exact solution (probably dedicated shuttles) but they’ve got a stellar record of running events around the world with minimal issues.

If you see yourself sticking to sessions that are primarily in one track, try to stay at the hotel hosting that track. If not, aim for The Venetian/Palazzo. The expo hall is there and it’s close to the LINQ Lot where the hackathons, game days, security jam, and re:Play Party will be hosted. As an added bonus, it’s across the street from the Mirage which means it’s close enough for those 7am certification exams!

Realistically, just get a room in one of the event hotels or next door to one of the 4 major hotels. AWS re:Invent always sells out quickly and rooms get harder and harder to come by.

Expanded schedule of bootcamps

There’s always a host of amazing bootcamps at AWS re:Invent and this year is no exception. What is new this year is an expanded schedule of bootcamps. The camps run right through until Thursday afternoon now.

As usual, there are 1/2 day and full day camps. On offer are the typical camps that help with certification readiness — a great idea if you’re aiming to write an exam during the week. There are also walk throughs of popular AWS tools like the Well Architected Framework.

But there are some new, unique camps as well. Be sure to check out;

  • Building Serverless Compliance as Code
  • Hi Alexa, Where is the Closest Bathroom?
  • Building a Smart Assistant with AWS AI Services
  • Text Mining and Sentiment Analysis

There are a lot of interesting options to help level up your AWS learning. If you’re interested, make sure you book your spot ASAP. Bootcamps usually fill up quickly — have you spotted the urgency theme yet?

Scheduling your sessions

Last year — with some hiccups — the conference introduced a registration system for sessions. Overall it worked well but the one glaring issue was that it didn’t take into account location.

If a session ended at 11am, you could book a spot in another session starting at 11am — even if that 2nd session was a 15m walk away in another building. This had two main impacts;

  1. You could create a schedule and expect to see a number of great sessions that you realistically where never going to make (and didn’t figure that out until day one)
  2. You took up spots in sessions that you didn’t get to see all of (leaving early to make the next one) or didn’t use

AWS addressed the unused spots by allowing walk-ups but that meant standing in line for the possibility of getting to see a talk. For popular talks, a lot of people missed out.

The good news here is that a couple weeks after AWS re:Invent the talks are posted to AWS YouTube channel.

The bad news is that it was hard to optimize your schedule during the week. All indications are that the registration system will be in place again this year — but we’re still waiting for confirmation of that. Hopefully they made a few adjustments to account for venue and travel time.

I’m also hoping (yes, hoping) that they address the walk-up issue. I‘m not sure what the solution would be but there has to be someway of getting the word out to attendees that there’s space in these sessions for walk-ups. Given their record for learning and improved, I’m not worried but it is something to keep an eye on.

What’s Next?

AWS re:Invent 2017 is still months away (27-Nov — 01-Dec, 2017) but there are a few things you should be doing to prepare now;

  • register ASAP
  • book a hotel as part of registration
  • sign up for a bootcamp/hackathon*/gameday/jam session (can do after registration but I recommend ASAP)
  • layout your study guide for any certification attempts during the show

There’s a lot more to talk about during the build up to the show. Did I miss anything here? Let me know as a response down below.

> Jerry Gamblin pointed on Twitter out that the hackathon registration isn’t live yet. More details on those “later this summer”. Gameday’s are in a similar boat with registration opening “July”. Jam sessions are also “later this summer”.

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