TL;DR – Three of us kreuzwerkers were at the AWS re:Invent 2022 in Las Vegas this year. The blog reflects my experience at the conference and gives an overview of the most exciting announcements.
Planning is everything
My second re:Invent came ended with Lufthansa flight LH2057 from Las Vegas to Frankfurt. I remember my first re:Invent 2019 very well. The word “pandemic” was unknown, gasoline cost 1,20€ per liter and Merkel was still chancellor.
Back then I was a newcomer to the AWS community, and planned to maximize the week in Vegas as best I could. As soon as the re:Invent Session Catalog went live, I scheduled the time with workshops, chalk talks, builder sessions, vendor meetings and parties.
And that was a really bad idea. Why? re:Invent is spread out over a multitude of hotels throughout Las Vegas. You think the walking distances are relatively short, but in fact, it takes 20 minutes just to get to the hotel “next door.” So, in my 2019 schedule, about a quarter of my time was spent commuting between hotels. That was not going to happen again this year.
Planning is everything. My re:Invent motto this year was “keep it easy”. A maximum of 2-3 sessions were scheduled per day (ideally in the same hotel) and quite a bit of time was allotted just to go with the flow. The “flow” consisted primarily of strolling around the expo, exchanging ideas with other AWS partners, vendors, customers, AWS SAs, BDs, AM and the Leadership Team (…and a party or two 🥳).
Sounds relaxed, right? Well, not really. With a daily average of 16,624 steps, I walked just under 97km for the week (Though the AWS Community Builder hike to Arizona Hot Springs also contributed to that. Thanks to Johannes Koch for organizing it!)
Therefore, I recommend every re:Invent newbie: When planning, don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) get the better of you. It is impossible to attend all sessions, and most of them are recorded anyway. Use your time to network! There is no better opportunity to get in touch with so many AWS users from all over the world.
150 nations - intercultural exchange, at its best.
Let’s take lunch as an example. It takes place in a huge ballroom with space for over 2000 people. Before you know it, you’re having lunch with a Korean solutions architect, a Swedish developer, the director of the Israeli Ministry of Digital, the CEO of a publicly traded SaaS company, and a Brazilian DevOps engineer. And we all share a passion for AWS. It’s easy to lose track of time and become immersed in the conversations.
Let’s talk content.
Choosing the “right” sessions out of 1394 available this year is challenging. Since most of the sessions sound really promising, FOMO quickly spreads here as well. Let me share my personal highlight sessions with you.
1. SUS312 - How innovators are driving more sustainable manufacturing (LINK)
Battey manufacturer Northvolt shared in this session how they manage their factories as digital assets with near real-time monitoring and machine learning modeling to improve better quality. Northvolt has dramatically reduced innovation speed and co2 footprint using serverless and open-source frameworks for their digital twins.
As I had no contact with Digital twins yet, this session opened my eyes to the possibilities AWS offers with large IoT installations. The session was recorded and gets strong re:watch recommendation from me 😃 (LINK)
2. PRT322: Cloud FinOps: Empower Real-Time Decision Making
My Fanboy moment of the week. Josh Baumann (Electronic Arts) and J.R. Storment (FinOps Foundation) spoke on stage in a fireside chat atmosphere about the challenges organizations face operating in the cloud. Especially Josh shared a fortune of wisdom from his 12 years of experience at EA, how he and his team manage cloud costs in a large enterprise environment across almost 500 different AWS accounts.
3. QTC202 - Quantum applications and taking POCs to production.
For me, quantum computing has always been “Black Magic” because I had no idea about actual use cases. I attended this session instead by chance. As I walked by the room and had some spare time, I decided to check it out. Good decision!
Helmut Katzgraber, Global Practice Lead - Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab, gave an excellent overview in this session of what Quantum Computing really is and compared the media hype to actual reality.
Use cases Helmut presented in the session included option pricing using Monte Carlo simulations, fraud detection (for finance, security, and social media), and robot motion planning.
Would I do it again?
Absolutely. I left Las Vegas with ambivalent feelings. The pictures and videos don’t nearly manage to reflect the atmosphere there, but they are nice reminders of all my impressions. Time flew by and I can hardly believe that re:Invent 2022 is already over.
However, I am now looking forward to my own bed, a long walk in the forest to ground myself and healthy food. At some point, you just get burgered out. 🍔 😃
Thanks to all the people who made this event what it was. A special thanks to the AWS community DACH whom I got to spend most of my time with. You folks are awesome!