What to expect from AWS re:Invent 2021

They (it, the company) call it the Road To re:Invent.

When you’re as well-known as Amazon Web Services (AWS), the event starts long before the users get on site.

As a result, there are already road to re:Invent video sessions being shown to prelude AWS re:Invent 2021, with the event proper being staged in Las Vegas from November 29 to December 3 this year.

But before we get to any of that, let’s address health — AWS has (rightly so) included a health update page front and centre on its event website here.

As well as a welcome mandate on facemasks (apart from when eating or drinking), AWS has (thankfully) noted the following, “Record of Covid-19 vaccination must be provided at onsite check-in to receive your re:Invent badge.”

Acceptable records include an individual’s physical Covid-19 vaccination/immunisation card, a photo of the front and back of a card, or a digital verification from a smartphone application.

One big training session

With some 1500 sessions to work through, this event is as much about training and certification (if not more so) than it is about customer contact and corporate messaging. This is a TechEd style cloud data-developer-administrator-manager (etc.) event in everything but name.

With a partner list broken down into emerald, diamond, platinum, gold and bronze tiers, this year’s ‘solutions zone showcase’ (or whatever the sponsor exhibitor hall gets called) should be packed out… it will be more a case of who isn’t there than who is there looking at the glittering list of usual suspect names.

Looking back at the road to re:Invent advice, the invitation to ‘favourite’ an attendee’s preferred session and focus on (for example, compute vs. build) particular skillsets is brought to the fore – as is the ability to focus on sessions pertaining to cloud engineering in particular industry verticals (such as financial services and healthcare, for example) and plan out every attendee’s week.

“You should not be able to get through all of your favourite sessions, there is so much on offer,” said Annie Hancock (5:10), AWS director for creative and customer experience at the global events team. “But for the leadership programme, attendees should consider going to perhaps five key sessions, depending on where their business is going.”

CEO sense & sensibility

AWS CEO Adam Selipsky has now been in the job since May 2021 after leaving his previous C-suite tenure at Tableau (now famously acquired by Salesforce, obviously) and he’s arguably starting off on the right foot i.e. his keynote is at 8.30 am in the morning Pacific Time on November 30.

Thankfully bucking the trend for evening pre-conference 4.45 pm CEO keynotes (yes Larry, we mean you sir) when everyone is still yet-to-unpack and possibly jet-lagged, Selipsky’s address doesn’t have a formal title at this stage, but he’s likely to be quite emotional and reflective as we all look back over the course of the pandemic and think about how cloud services have helped us operate.

Extended sessions of the keynote feature Peter DeSantis, senior VP for utility computing and apps at AWS; Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon.com who will go behind the scenes to show how Amazon is solving today’s hardest technology problems; Swami Sivasubramanian, VP for Amazon Machine Learning, on an exploration of what it takes to put data in action with an end to end data strategy including the latest news on databases, analytics, and machine learning.

Then there’s the whole Global Partner Summit keynote, presented by Doug Yeum, head of AWS partner organisation; plus Sandy Carter in her role as VP for worldwide public sector partners and programmes, also Stephen Orban, General Manager of AWS Marketplace and Control Services.

Five keynotes to hand

This is clearly going to be a major event and overall there will be five keynotes throughout the week… and those sessions will join some 22 leadership sessions.

There will be event overflow rooms for the keynote for those that can’t get inside the main hall areas (although we can presume that press seating will be otherwise controlled), there will also clearly be a whole lot of people not attending in person and connecting in virtually.

Finally yes, even in a time of Covid-19, there will be some safe party sessions, coder jams and R&R periods… so perhaps, just this time, what happens in Vegas will stay in the cloud.

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