After seeing the VMware Code Facebook and Twitter accounts blow up on Day 1, I decided to check it out for myself. I’ll admit that we have a sweet set up with a barista and tons of tech toys to play with; in the form of Raspberry Pi and various sets of sensors. I didn’t have time to do the hands-on activities but I plan on coming back on Day 4. I spent pretty much all morning at the Code booth watching Brian Graf deliver various demos highlighting how to build hybrid applications with VMWonAWS and AWS. The coolest demo that set what hair I have left on fire was showing how to leverage various APIs with VMWonAWS with Lex and other services to use Slack to deploy a Photon VM.
Another fantastic session was an Eric Nielsen deep dive on Raspberry Pi sensors. It was packed! If you’re up for it, you can run through the lab here if you feel like going nuts. It only takes a few dollars of capital to get started.
After spending considerable time at the VMware Code booth, it was off to go really deep on AWS Direct Connect. This was great to gain a detailed understanding of what makes up Direct Connect (DX). Click on the link above to see the full session on YouTube!
Next, it was off to spend some time in the Expo Hall to do some SWAG shopping. I was on the hunt for socks but came away with plenty of other stuff. Hopefully, our spam filters are work will block most of the email that is going to come through. I really wanted the LEGO Millennium Falcon but that will have to wait….
To end the day I went to a session on Machine Learning on AWS Storage. There was a lot of content in this one. It’s fascinating to see how customers are leveraging data to make critical business decisions. The first half it a bit dry but there’s some good content if you want to dive in. Day 2 was a good one….14,253 steps (7.05 mi)…..using the shuttle and staying in one casino has its benefits.
This is where things really get moving. I’m happy to say I didn’t regret gorging myself with wings the night before and was ready to hit the ground running to see re:Invent in full swing. Day 1 step count…15,308 (7.57 mi). I started off the morning by attending everyone’s favorite topic….SECURITY!!! This session was spent debunking 13 Cloud Security Myths. A few things that I already knew were reinforced. One, public clouds are more secure that on-prem data centers. Two, security should be the first thing you think about when deploying everything from applications to infrastructure. Three, if you continue to follow older security models that have been around for years, you are missing the entire point of the cloud!
Next up was a two-hour workshop getting some hands-on experience with the AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). VPCs are the backbone to everything AWS including VMware Cloud on AWS. Although I have taken some online classes via AWS and A Cloud Guru, it was great to spend more time setting up VPCs as it is core to understanding how AWS works. We worked in groups of six where we set up VPC peering with each other. My main takeaway….have a concrete plan for the CIDR blocks you choose for your VPCs. If you don’t plan correctly, you will have to start over. A tool given out by the architects running the session was http://subnet-calculator.org/cidr.php . Bookmark it! An added benefit to the workshop was $25 in AWS credits!
Next stop was the Expo Hall and welcome reception. Of course, the hall was massive with hundreds of booths and all the SWAG you can handle. I decided to take a look around beforehand so I knew where to get “the good stuff.” Since I’m a VMware guy, it was awesome to see us well represented we even have our newest members of the family in Heptio (met Joe Beda at the booth) and Cloud Health with booths of their own.
The last session of the day was a VMware Cloud on AWS Deep Dive with Andy Reedy and Jin Zhang. If you ever get a chance to spend time with Andy, I would recommend it. I met him two years ago at some customer meetings and he is a fantastic architect. He got into the weeds with VMWonAWS regarding the host hardware and the interconnectivity between the vSphere hosts and AWS native services. We even went into the i3 and r5 models for EBS backed VSAN. It was a great session. As I have said before, AWS and VMware have a deep partnership to make this service available. The pace of innovation is blinding! Day 2 is next!!
Being my first year at re:Invent I wanted to give my insights regarding the conference. First and foremost….like most conferences this size….WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES! With 50K+ attendees spread across 5 different venues up and down the strip, you will definitely hit your step goals for the week. Day 0 count = 16,230 (8.03 miles).
Compared to some conferences I have been to, AWS pulled registration off beautifully by allowing you to register at Terminals 1 and 3 at McCarran International Airport plus the Aria and Venetian. I only had to wait about 5 minutes at the Aria. The SWAG pick up at the Venetian was a snap and there was even a place to try on the famous AWS re:Invent hoodie beforehand. No more guessing on the fit.
Next, it was back to the hotel for some rest before the night’s activities. I can attest that while at the conference, use the shuttles!!! Saves your legs and feet, you may even have some interesting conversations with others along the way. Once back at the Venetian, I waited in line for what I thought was going to be a cheap easy way to get a free meal…..the Tetonka Challenge! AWS re:invent was at it again with trying to break last year’s Guinness World Record for the largest chicken wing eating competition. 400+ waited in line to compete to see who would take home the crown. I met some great people as I waited in line but I am sorry to say that after only 22 wings I bowed out. Something about soggy-ish wings didn’t quite hit the spot. The winner ate 70+ which is absolutely insane! I even got my one second of fame. You can see me standing behind the man in the green jacket off to the left when they awarded the winner.
Coupled with the Tatonka Challenge were Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen’s best attempt at live comedy. In my opinion, it fell pretty flat but at least they tried. They were the on-stage cheerleaders for two more world record attempts in the largest Air Drum Ensemble (Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” was selected for the Air Drumming) and Most People Lighting Glow Sticks Simultaneously. I have no idea if we broke all three but I think we did!! It was a good time but if it weren’t for the Tetonka Challenge I would not have missed much by not attending. Let’s see what Day 1 brings!! All I know is that I will not be eating wings for the rest of the week!!!