This past December, I and six other EC team members used our annual training budgets to attend Amazon Web Services’ (AWS’s) annual re:invent conference in Las Vegas. We participated in small workshops, informational sessions, and hackathons alongside a staggering 60,000 attendees who descended upon the city to learn more about the services AWS offers.
Conference activities ranged from an enormous expo where companies showed off their products to small “Builder’s Workshops” that offered personalized instruction to no more than a dozen attendees at a time. In between activities, conference sessions explored each of AWS’s offerings as well as unveiled new services (such as Kendra, a search tool powered by machine learning). EC team members attended some sessions together and some individually based on our professional interests. We will each give a Tech Talk in the coming months to share what we learned with the rest of our EC colleagues.
Having one of the entertainment capitals of the world as the backdrop for the conference meant plenty of options for fun as well. Attending the public sector happy hour afforded us the opportunity not only to unwind from a long day of workshops but also to connect with organizations with which EC could potentially partner. Our team has already done a demo with one of the companies we met there, LogRocket, that could help us more quickly identify bugs in production.
The 5 coolest things we learned at re:invent
After returning from the conference and having some time to reflect, the team got on Slack to share our notable takeaways from re:invent:
1. FedRAMP accreditation support for AWS partners
Jamil Evans: “My one thing: I met the head of ISV alliances for the public sector at a public sector reception. He shared that as a trusted partner, AWS will provide us with dedicated support as we move Security Control through the FedRAMP accreditation process!
2. Patch automation with AWS Systems Manager
Colin Ardizzone: “One cool thing I learned about was the Patch Manager capability within AWS Systems Manager which lets you automate patching of EC2 instances with custom scripts and gives ample feedback in the form of logs to CloudWatch. It also lets you patch fleets of instances at a time and will smartly distribute the patch schedule so all your instances aren’t affected at once.”
3. VPC Ingress routing rules!
Pat Ryan: “AWS’s new VPC Ingress Routing features can be used to simplify integration of 3rd party security appliances.”
4. Amazon Textract rocks!
Kayla Cross: “I was impressed with Amazon Textract for importing documents and forms into applications. I thought it would be especially applicable to a lot of projects at EC that may deal with modeling information from complicated government forms.
5. Mobile development with offline support using AWS Amplify
Nate Ostrander: “I learned about AWS Amplify, a development platform that helps you build mobile and web applications without managing compute servers. Amplify also offers offline integration. While offline, the user’s device can query and write to a local cache which will automatically synchronize with the data source when back online.”