AWS re:Invent 2019 pre:View

November 26, 2019
Dan Pigat
Written By
Dan Pigat

We have a small claim to fame: we've attended all AWS re:Invent conferences.

OK, maybe that's a strange brag, especially to those not in the tech industry, so it's not a great conversation starter at dinner parties. But it does impress some people - including those at AWS - because Amazon Web Services started one of the most fundamental shifts in computing ever, and being there at the start gave us a front row seat.

Nobody, except maybe the most ambitious people at Amazon (like say, Jeff Bezos), expected it to be this big. The first AWS re:Invent in 2012 had a bit over 4,000 people and featured a fireside chat with Mr. Bezos in person. Let's just say it's grown a bit since then. 

Last year 60,000+ people flooded the Las Vegas strip. The opening party invited the Guinness Book of World Records to oversee the breaking of a few records - including the Tatonka challenge - the largest chicken wing eating contest ever.

Beyond the numbers, the technology has come a long way too. Going back to the second conference in 2013, where we had the privilege of joining one of the State of the Union Keynotes to publicly demonstrate for the first time the use of GPU's on the cloud. Back then, cloud cover wasn't what it is now and our friends at NVIDIA have come a long way with GPU's since then. 

Rewind from re:Invent 2013 - Check out PureWeb's (formerly known as Calgary Scientific) presentation on being the first to use high-performance GPUs in the cloud 

Fast forward to 2019, AWS just announced the availability of the latest NVIDIA chips around the world. Once again, we were invited to their private Beta and wrote about how, as another first, we can now use new capabilities like ray tracing with our other friends at Epic Games by running Unreal Engine on our platform globally.

That will be just one of the things featured this year in the hundreds of product and training sessions. As for which sessions to attend, there is an app-for-that which updates with new sessions for newly announced services throughout the week. You'll first hear about these services in one of the over eight (yes, 8) hours of Keynotes.

This year the Keynotes have reserved seating, but the best view is actually watching them live-streamed. Even if you're not at the conference in person, watching them is quite valuable as AWS has a history of not only telling you what is available, but are quite open with the how and why behind it all. 

If you're planning to go, go with a plan. re:Invent has outgrown the Sands Expo Convention Center and now spans multiple hotels and conference rooms up and down the Strip. For getting around, there are buses, but wear running shoes and go on foot as much as you can to avoid being trapped by traffic.

Underneath everything at re:Invent is one fundamental: scale (Amazon doesn't do anything small anymore). This extends to the re:Play party, which usually has one massive tent for every game you can think of (e.g. Zorb soccer, dodgeball, archery tag, etc.) and another for a top EDM DJ which they treat as top secret until the morning of (past years featured Zed, Deadmau5, Skrillex, DJ Snake and Martin Garrix). And for something you don't find at "normal" conferences, join the Harley ride through the desert if you can, although it books up fast.

Over the years we've enjoyed our front row seat on this amazing ride with an amazing partner and ecosystem, and we can't wait to see what they have in store for us this year.

For more on re:Invent 2019, check out the full schedule here. We look forward to seeing you there! 

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