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re:Invent - Part 2

re:Invent Part 2

I have a pretty established rountine when I get up in the morning. First thing first, make the coffee and pateintly wait for God’s go juice to help get me going with wanting to commit homicide. Over the top? Maybe. Keep in mind, I’ve been drinking coffee every morning since I was 15 and I’m a USAF Vet - somethings you just don’t mess with. Anyway, this is when I realize the room has no coffee pot. Uggghhhh. I know, I know - first world problems. 

Luckily (if you belive that) TI has a Starbucks downstairs, two of them actually - one on the street corner and the other in the casino. So I trudged down to the one in the casino to get coffee. Apperently it’s too much to ask Starbucks to just squirt the coffee into your sealed coffee cup - you have to buy it in a paper cup and transfer it into the coffee cup yourself. Really? What about reuse, saving the trees, and reducing our footprint? I thought those were all corporate policies for Starbucks….

Day 2 - Lots of Attendees

I never said I was super fast on the uptake and I have had a lot of things going on in my life this fall that it never occurred to me to wonder how many people might be attending AWS. I mean the conference was only spread out across 6 hotel conference centers and an additional 10 sleeping hotels. Ok so there were a few people attending, a Lyft driver said the city estimated 65k people were attending reInvent. 

Keep in mind, I live on a quiet 6 acres in the WI Northwoods. And since the pandemic, I work from home. So readjusting to the sheer number of people was overwhelming for me. That being said, AWS had it fairly organized and I showed up late enough it wasn’t too bad. I checked out the Venetian and the SWAG both, then checked my scheduled and thought I was suppose to be at Mandalay Bay for my first session. So I took off to find the shuttles - which were actually nice tour busses with plenty room of to sit.

AWS Venue

Once I got to Mandalay Bay I found a directory but couldn’t find my session. Looking at the app, I realized I misread it and the first session was at the MGM grand. So back to the shuttle. Thankfully, the shuttles were running between all of the hotels so I didn’t have to go back to the Venetian as the hub. I showed up in time for lunch at MGM and met some co-workers. We sat down and had a very nice buffett lunch provided by AWS. 

After lunch I caught my first session talking about SQL Server on RDS. Learned a great deal, including AWS is pushing porting data out of SQL Server into Postgres with Babelfish. Given the licensing changes MS announced this fall, I can’t say I’m surprised by that. Anyway, the session provided me with a bit of road map.

My second session was going to be on optimizing costs in Aurora, however I got shut out of that one. This is where I learned, reserved seating is only good up until 10 mins before the session. Then it opens up to first in line for the walk-ups.

By this time it was close to 15:00 and I needed to get back to the hotel to take my Monday night class. During my class, I kept hearing the windows to the room rattle and couldn’t figure out why. So the second time I happened to look out the window to catch the Volcano show from the Mirage. Post volcano show, I met up with some co-workers for drinks.

AWS Swag

Days 3 - 5

I would like to say I was imparted with a great deal of wisdom on days 3 through 5, but I wasn’t. I did learn a few things about how re:Invent works if I ever go back. 

  • If you have a reserve seat, than make sure you’re at the session 15 minutes before the start. At 10 minutes till, they start seating walk ups and if the session fills up you’re out of luck
  • If you are going to attend a session via walk up, be ready to camp out
  • Pay attention to the app, sometimes overflow sessions are scheduled but the app doesn’t auto refresh
  • Content hubs are you’re friend
  • You’re going to get lost, the green shirts are your friend
  • The buffet lunch was pretty good all week
  • You’re going to walk and then you are going to walk some more
  • Watch the keynotes via the web page
  • Make sure to take time for you
  • The shuttles are ok but if you need to get some where quick, lyft/uber it
  • It’s not useful if you look at the sessions from a DBA perspective, but if you reframe your thinking around Database DevOps it becomes invaluable quickly

Would I go again?

Yeah, I would go again but I don’t know that I would want to go every year. If I were to go again I would like to have a certification and experince it from that perspective. I didn’t attend the end of the week party, so next time I may take the afternoon of the last day to recharge before attending re:play. I did learn a great deal, but the experience was also overwhelming as a first time attendee. Of course, I probably also should I have done some research on re:Invent before the sessions dropped. All that being said, I was happy to finally meet some folks I have worked with for 5 years and that was probably the best part of the week for me. Well that and slipping out Wednesday night to see Miranda Lambert. 

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