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AWS re:Invent 2021

AWS re:Invent is always THE event in cloud. As 2021 draws to a close, what path will AWS set the cloud on. What new services, features, and tools will builders get to create with?

That’s a key question and not one easily answered. This page will be the home base for all my activities and content related to AWS re:Invent 2021. The conference runs 29-Nov—03-Dec, 2021 in Las Vegas and (a little bit) online.

The show itself always has a ton of new content but AWS does a great job of releasing new features, functionality, and content leading up to the show as well.

Check back often for updates!

Contents

The Ultimate Guide

Every year I write a guide to help people get the most out of AWS re:Invent. This year is no exception. A big thanks to A Cloud Guru for hosting the guide again this year.

You can find it here, “The Ultimate Guide to AWS re:Invent 2021

If you’re interested in a bit of history, here are my previous guides:

Hero Guide

I’ve written an official session guide for the last few AWS re:Invents (and re:Inforce!) that helps builders focus on sessions around security. This year is no different.

You can read the guide here on my site or download the official PDF.

What I’m Up To

Sadly, I won’t be attending in person this year. This will be the first re:Invent that I’m missing 😔.

Thankfully, I’ll be attending remotely and that will actually allow me to deliver more content throughout the week. It’s a lot easier to write/share/record/test when you are running from session to session.

As usually, I’ll be tracking all of the announcements that AWS makes leading up to, during, and shortly after the show. You can view those announcements and my take on the bigger ones.

I’ll be doing a webinar with a few of the other AWS Heroes ahead of re:Invent as well. That webinar is hosted by A Cloud Guru 👇.

Attending Remotely

Now that we have more information (finally) on what is available remotely, I’ve created a post dedicated to remote attendance. That’ll make it easier to focus on what’s accessible from afar.

Streaming Calendar

Here’s a time zone adjustable, subscribe-able calendar for the sessions that are live streaming. Remember to make sure that it’s displaying the week of November 28th to December 4th.

If you want to subscribe to the calendar, just click on the RSS subscription icon ))) in the top right.

…and again, remember timing may change for these broadcasts. Double check the official site if you absolutely must see something live.

AWS Whitepapers

AWS has published a lot of whitepapers. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked, mainly because I honestly think that people don’t know they exist.

This week, I set out to do a Twitter thread per day that was a mini-review of a specific AWS whitepaper. Here are the papers I reviewed;

Amazon Builder’s Library

The Amazon Builder’s Library was launched in December of 2019 at AWS re:Invent.

The library aims to host deeper dives into specific technology challenges. Where the whitepapers provide a high level overview of a space, papers in the library try to provide a comprehensive description of a problem space.

I again took to Twitter (where I’m @marknca) to provide some mini-reviews:

AWS Labs Code Repos

AWS Labs has a large number (over 600!) code repositories up on GitHub under /awslabs. Not all of them are still active, as they’ve been replaced by in-service functionality or entirely new services.

But there are still gems out there. Here are some of my favourites:

AWS Well-Architected Framework

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is a fantastic guide to help you build a practice on key principles to build better in the cloud. The framework is built on five pillars;

Day One

Wow. AWS re:Invent 2021 came out of the gates swinging. We had some great announcements and started to see the first sessions in person…and sort of streaming.

Despite the glitches, I still had a lot of fun diving into some great new announcements. I’m continuing to track those in this post, “The Top AWS re:Invent Announcements”.

One of those announcements was the newly revamped Amazon Inspector. I tweeted about that one quite a bit, you can read that thread if you’re interested.

Near the end of the day, I jumped on a Twitter Space with fellow AWS Hero, Andrew Brown. Andrew is hosting a series of these Spaces and I strongly recommend that you check them out if you can.

After that, I jumped right into a great conversation with another AWS Hero, Mike Chambers. Mike streamed out chat to his YouTube channel. We covered a few of the day one announcement and what we were hoping to see from the rest of the show.

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Day Two

Day Two brought Adam Selipsky’s first keynote as AWS CEO. He did a really great job. I’m still processing my overall impression and takeaways but you can read through my initial reactions as I live tweeted the whole thing.

There wasn’t a ton of live streaming content today but some of the sessions did start to be published on demand. That’s a nice change as we had been expected to wait up to 72 hours to see that content.

That lack of live streaming content afforded me a chance I don’t often get. I managed to set aside some time to take a first look at an AWS service.

I was really excited to take a first look at the revamped Amazon Inspector and created a video of that walk through along with some additional thoughts.

I’m still trying to get enough time to build a custom lens for the AWS Well-Architected Tool and to dive into the new Amazon SageMaker Canvas…not to mention the serverless versions of MSK and Redshift!

Day Three

Day three started with the machine learning keynote by Swami Sivasubramanian. I really enjoyed this keynote which contained a ton of new features & services.

Corey Quinn continued his, “Opinions my own” series. This time chatting with Bill Vass. Bill is AWS’ VP of Technology and Engineering. He’s got a fascinating perspective on how AWS works and what it’s delivering for customers.

In the evening we got the always fascinating talk from Peter DeSantis. Peter is AWS’ SVP of Utility Computing and his talk always pulls back the curtain a bit on AWS. This year was no exception.

He walked us through how AWS is focusing on custom silicon in order to power specific and general workloads more efficiently.

Day Four

Thursday kicked off with a keynote from Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon. This talk traditionally focuses on developers.

Last year, the focus was on resiliency and how we need to build everything with that in mind. This year? Efficiency.

Werner tied that directly to sustainability and recalled his “21st Century Architecture” principles from re:Invent 2012. He also introduces six key API design principles that will help everyone build more reliably & sustainably;

  1. APIs are forever
  2. Never break backward compatibility
  3. Work backwards from customer use cases
  4. Create APIs with explicitly and well-documented failure modes
  5. Create APIs that are self-describing and have a clear, specific purpose
  6. Avoid leaking implementation details at all costs

👆 Principles to build by!

Later in the day, Stephen Schmidt delivered the leadership session on security.

This is always a great talk as it looks ahead, reinforces (ha! pun intended) key security tenets, and reviews the most impactful security announcements of the past year.

Day Five

I finally had a chance to take a breather…not much of one but a little bit. More and more of the on demand content is getting published.

That means I finally get to take in some sessions. As I do, I’ll probably push out twitter threads for the more interesting ones and then publish them here.

I also hosted my first Twitter Space. A lot of builders turned out and we shared some of our favourite announcements and happenings from the show.

For my actual day job—yes, I have one 🤣—I published, “What AWS re:Invent 2021 Means For The Future of Cloud Computing” over on the Lacework blog.