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Here’s Your Definitive Guide To AWS re:Invent

Get ready for the biggest, craziest, most jam-packed conference in the cloud industry: AWS re:Invent 2019 is almost here. 

Seriously though--we don’t use those adjectives lightly. More than 50,000 people attended last year’s conference, and undoubtedly, more will attend this year. The conference is spread across six venues. There are more than 2,700 sessions you could check out, hundreds of vendors to meet, and all kinds of late-night events that’ll have you reaching for the Ibuprofen in the morning. And honestly, we’ve already packed our ergonomic shoes because we can’t wait to get this party started (if you need us, we’ll be playing Quidditch).

We’re sharing the four crucial things we think you need to know to plan for the best re:Invent yet! 

 

Plan Your Sessions Out

Re:Invent 2019 has more than 2,700 sessions to choose from. So things can get pretty overwhelming, pretty quick. 

Your first step to maintaining your sanity when navigating sessions? Plan ahead and build your schedule around the stuff you really want to see. This starts with spending quality time reading the official Session Catalog.

Sessions are categorized by track, level, role, tag, day, speaker, etc. You can also search by keyword. Pro Tip: Session IDs indicate track and level for quick reference. 

  • If you are new to AWS, check out the Introductory (200 level) and Advanced (300 level) sessions.
  • If you are an existing AWS user, check out the Advanced (300 level) and Expert (400 level).

You’ll also notice that there are multiple types of sessions to attend, including: 

Breakout sessions: These are typically held in larger rooms and span a range of expertise levels. This is where you can learn about new products or take a deep dive on a service you use regularly. It’s also where tech leaders like Netflix and T-Mobile share their experiences with AWS. 

Workshops: These are hands-on labs where attendees can work with and learn about a particular service. They’re also the longest sessions, and typically last two hours. 

Chalk talks: These are smaller sessions led by several AWS solutions architects. They’ll walk through a real-life example and provide a short lecture. These usually open up to a Q&A where attendees can openly talk about the issues at hand.
 
Builder session: These are led by an AWS expert. Space is limited to six attendees, who work in a sandbox environment on new or existing technologies. 

Still not sure where to start? Check out our partner session with Change Healthcare on Thursday, December 5th!  After becoming a stand-alone entity, Change Healthcare needed its own enterprise platforms and cloud strategy. Velocity was the services partner for both the SAP and Oracle workloads, migrating them and 135 additional systems to AWS on an accelerated, 12-month time frame. Add this session to your calendar!   

 

Know Which Vendors You Want to Visit Ahead of Time

Like everything else in Las Vegas, the re:Invent Expo is massive. Hosted at the Venetian, The Expo showcases hundreds of vendors, all ready to show off their tech savvy and branded swag (if never thought you needed a bag filled with stickers, socks, water bottles, and koozies—well, now you do). 

You could roam the expo floor aimlessly. But we’d recommend doing some research ahead of time and making a list of the absolute must-sees. We have a good idea of where to start: The Velocity team will be at Booth #4016, and we’d really like to see you. 

Velocity’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of Cloud Services, Sal Jamil, and our solutions and cloud architects will all be in attendance and ready to showcase our proven roadmaps for public cloud migration and application modernization. You can either swing by our booth to learn more, or book an exclusive briefing for some quality one-on-one time! 

 

Get Ready to Party 

What’s a conference if there isn’t a night or two where you show off your best Elaine Benes dance moves to co-workers? Fortunately, AWS knows how to throw a party. Here are a few events you should add to your calendar right now: Fortunately, AWS knows how to throw a party. Here are a few events you should add to your calendar right now: 

Midnight Madness

Sunday, 1 December | 10:30pm - Midnight | The Venetian

Touted as a pre-event pep rally, Midnight Madness is a collection of games and activities designed to welcome AWS enthusiasts to re:Invent in style. 

Expect to see a collective air band performance, an Amazing Race-style scavenger hunt, and re:Invent’s famous chicken wing eating contest, alongside marching bands, conga lines, street performers, food, and drinks that’ll take you into the wee hours of the night.

re:Play 

Thursday, December 5 | 8:00pm - Midnight | Las Vegas Festival Grounds

This is the big one: The party to end all parties. A wrap party, an EDM concert, and an interactive extravaganza all wrapped up in one, re:Play is your chance to break out the glow sticks and dance the night away with your fellow techies. If you’re not a dancer, don’t worry—there will be a dodgeball and broomball tournament (aka Quidditch) to take part in, too.

Intersect Music Festival 

December 6-7 | Las Vegas Festival Grounds

Considering extending your Las Vegas trip by one more day? You totally should. For the first time ever, AWS is hosting Intersect, a new music festival celebrating creativity, innovation, and community. The festival features headlining artists like Foo Fighters, Kacey Musgraves, Beck, and Anderson Paak. You’ll need to buy tickets in advance, and GA tickets start at $99.  

Beyond the music, Intersect attendees can explore a million square feet of games and activities, including a video arcade, post-apocalyptic dodgeball stadium, and mega-sized ball pit with over 200,000 balls. And in a first of its kind performance, “Intel Presents UPLIFT: A drone light show celebrating women in tech in collaboration with Kacey Musgraves,” the show will accompany a donation to the nonprofit educational initiative Girls in Tech. 

 

Pay Attention to the Transportation Schedule—You’re Going To Need It

With six properties throughout Las Vegas hosting re:Invent activities, getting around can be time-consuming. Travel times can range anywhere from five minutes to 40. Nobody has time for that! 

Fortunately, AWS is making it easy this year and simplifying transportation: There are direct shuttles from each of the main venues, so you won’t have to hoof it or fight for a taxi. To get the most out of the shuttles, consider planning your events and sessions around their schedule. For example, group your sessions to make the most of a venue rather than going back and forth all day. 

Bonus tip: instead of scrambling to get to the other end of the strip—or if you just can’t get from Point A to Point B in time—you can also take advantage of the livestreaming. Not everything is livestreamed, but keynote presentations, Monday Night Live, and AWS Launchpad sessions are available. If you need to, you can watch the livestream in your pajamas from the comfort of your hotel room.

And with that, you are now ready to take on re:Invent like a pro. We’ll see you there!