Earlier this week I wrote an article about what I was looking forward to at the AWS Summit in San Francisco. Now that the conference is behind me I wanted to provide some feedback on the event and break down each of my expectations and how Amazon scored in my eyes.
General Impressions – (My Grade: A) Wow! Ton of people, there was a great mix of customers and vendors. There were far more customers than vendors and the emphasis was really about how to operate and maximize the AWS products. I learned a lot about the AWS ecosystem and architecture. I did a live blog of the Opening Keynote as well the sessions I attended (except one). Here is a list of those blogs:
- AWS Summit Keynote Live Blog
- Introducing AWS OpsWorks
- AWS Cloud DR & Backup
- RightScale Hybrid IT Design
Andy Jassey’s Keynote – (My Grade: B) See my live blog link above for the full stream impressions as they happened. AWS has improved their message since the AWS: ReInvent conference last November. Two big take aways I got from the keynote: AWS wants to be the Walmart of public cloud (the low price leader) and they have embraced the fact that Enterprise will continue to operate some critical workloads “on-premise”. Andy was fast and furious with the stats to impress the audience (almost too fast, it was hard to keep up at times) but it really is amazing to see how far they have come and the amount of momentum they have generated in the market and how fast they are introducing new features. It is very obvious that the dirty words “public cloud” have been banned from all keynotes and sessions, they will only refer to everything as “legacy on-premise resources”. Hey, when you’re a hammer, everything is a nail…
Technical Boot Camp – (My Grade: A+) I attended the technical getting started boot camp and it was easily the highlight of the entire event for me. The boot camp was an all day session and was a great overview of the major services (EC2, S3, ELB, etc.) and everything was presented in a very straightforward and concise fashion. The labs were the best labs of any technical training I’ve ever attended (and that is A LOT of training over the years) and served to really drive home the lectures. The time was spent about 50/50 lab to lecture. Great stuff, I recommend it to anyone.
Tools and Ecosystem Partners – (My Grade: A) The solutions floor was very active, a ton of booths and sponsors and everyone was pretty excited about the products and combination of partners and AWS solutions.
No Mention of NetFlix – (My Grade: A) AWS actually restrained themselves and only brought them up once in reference to them as a destination and model for the Enterprise cloud journey instead of the usual you need to be like them or you suck message. AWS is learning…
Operations Architecture and Best Practices – (My Grade: A) The afternoon sessions were exactly what I was looking for. I attended a Hydbrid Cloud session sponsored by RightScale. It was probably the most interesting session of the day for me. In addition I attended two DevOps sessions and a Cloud Backup and DR session. Everyone did a really good job of walking the fine line between technical content but keeping the sessions open to newcomers.
And now the not so good…
Hands on Labs – (My Grade: F) There were two hands on labs that I wanted to do but I never had a chance. AWS clearly underestimated the demand for the labs because by 10:30 there was a line down the hall (see pic) and the wait was expected to be 1-2 hours just for a lab seat. They did offer wristbands and times for later in the day but due to the tight schedule of the Summit I really would have only had time mid-morning during the long lunch break or in the evening when the show floor was open but they closed them at the end of the day when the sessions were over.
Minor glitches aside it was a great event, I learned a ton, talked to some great customers, and I look forward to the next one!