Sydney AWS Summit 2019 - My Experience


The past week I attended AWS Summit Sydney for three days. It's such an action packed show. Full of brilliant speakers and tons of interesting workshops. I feel so hard to decide on my agenda. In the end, based on the technologies I am interested in and the relevance to my job these are sessions I went for.

AWS Innovation Day
Keynote - I was late for it. But still It was good to hear the story of Qantas and learn about how they improve performance and efficiency with AWS. I do have doubts of their ambitious goal about flying customers directly from Australia to US and Europa without a stop. Not sure if I want to stuck in a plane for 20 hours... Maybe it's time for a new Concord!  

After Keynote, I went around the "Cloud Zone" to talk to different vendors. Among all the vendors, the one left the best impression with me is CloudHealth from VMware. The ability to provide deep analysis of the current spending and indicate detailed remediation plans are lacking from some of the competitors solutions. 

With so many IT pros came to the summit, it's no surprise I ran into quite a few familiar faces that afternoon. The day end on a high note with a nice dinner with an ex-colleague who has recently joined AWS. 

Summit Day 1
The highlight of the morning Keynote is able to see SEEK's logo high up on the screen while Paul Bassat was talking about the future of Australia business especially in technology sector. 

I then went to the "Fast-Track Your Application Modernisation Journey with Containers" workshop. The workshop focuses on containerization with ECS Fargate service. It's a 3 hour long "follow the lab notes" type of session. The user case in the example is very well written and very practical in my opinion. If you are interested in Fargate, the lab notes can be found at http://bit.ly/ecs19syd. Just be aware, it does occur charges as the lab will require creation of some ECS clusters and related VPC components. But the cost should be something negligible if you do a proper cleanup straight after the lab. Ah, another thing, it was suggest to create the lab in us-west-2 region.

After the lab I went to a short session talk about how Qantas use AWS System Manager to scale its cloud operations. The session does provide some insight to how we can take advantage of SSM for some SOE related automation tasks, like JIT user access provision; updating AMI images. At the meantime I found the session is way too short (30 mins) and lack of technical details is rather disappointing. 

I was late for the "Building Serverless Application That Align with 12Factor Methods" workshop. While I didn't manage to grab a sit in position, I got the link for all the lab notes, which allows me to do the workshop anyway. You can find the downloadable ZIP file from http://bit.ly/12FactorWorkshop

Summit Day 2
The most interesting bit of that day's keynote is the drone they placed on the stage. I bet everyone in the audience thought they will fly it. In the end they just played a video how it can rescue people from ocean by dropping a self-inflatable baton, which is quite impressive anyway.

Learnt from previous day's mistake, I invested all the rest of my time into workshops that day. The "Security Best Practice Workshop" is a bit basic, as most labs in it are just use clickOps to deploy CloudFormation templates. However, the instructors in the workshop are very helpful, and I was able to learn quite a lot about Security Hub, which is a new security view in a glance service from AWS. The lab notes for this workshop is under AWS Well-Architect GitHub repo.

I squeezed another workshop session into my schedule before depart for the airport. It's definitely an interesting one: Creating Voice Experiences with Alexa Skills. It's a very good session with comprehensive guidance provided by the instructor. Though I wasn't able to complete the workshop due to time. I will definitely do some more experiments with the development tool kit in my own time. 

Overall it's a really busy but worth while event. It's great to see Australia has such a huge and skillful AWS community. 


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