re:Invent Guide: For Storage Enthusiasts

Community Hero

This will be my third year attending re:Invent and my first year attending as an AWS Hero. After attending re:Invent for the past two years, I’ve picked up some tips on how to get the most out of this conference. I hope this guide will help you get more out of your time at re:Invent, whether you’re attending for the first time or you’re returning for another year. My career has focused on data storage, and re:Invent has a variety of content for storage enthusiasts to glean from. If you’re looking to grow your cloud storage knowledge at re:Invent, please keep reading.

General re:Invent Resources

There are many resources available to help you get ready for the conference. One resource that debuted last year is the “How to re:Invent” video series. The re:Invent team covers a wide variety of conference details and interviews key conference “celebrities” about new “Amazonian” experiences that have been added to the event. I highly recommend watching the videos to anyone attending re:Invent. If you haven’t already watched them, stop here and go watch them. Come back once you’re up to speed on all of the conference basics.

Building Out Your Agenda

Now is a good time to go through the session catalog and highlight the sessions and events that you’ll want to attend. Session sign-ups start on October 15— don’t forget to register before sessions fill up! AWS makes sure there is always something for you to do while at re:Invent, so filling your schedule should be easy. When browsing the session catalog, you can filter for sessions that focus on storage by selecting Storage in the Topics section. Many sessions—especially the most popular—are offered at multiple times (and in multiple locations). If one session doesn’t fit with your agenda, there’s a good chance a repeat session will be available. Pro tip: I usually favorite more sessions than I can attend. As soon as seat reservations open, I start signing up for sessions to build out a full agenda. I’d rather give up my seat later than be without a seat going into the conference.

If you’re new to re:Invent, the session catalog can be intimidating. There are 150 storage-related sessions in the catalog, and more sessions may be added after new products are announced during the conference keynotes. If you’re just learning about AWS storage services, start with the Intermediate level (session level 200) sessions. I seek out the chalk talks whenever possible, because they offer both a service overview and an opportunity for audience discussion. These are a great way to learn about a service while also being able to ask questions and network with others sharing a similar interest. The advanced (session level 300) and expert (session level 400) sessions are more service-specific than the intermediate sessions. Advanced sessions require that you have a basic understanding of what the subject service is or does. These are great to dive deep on a specific service you use or are considering. Along with chalk talks, I also seek out builders sessions for the networking and Q&A opportunities they provide. The following are the sessions I’m most excited to attend.

Recommended Sessions
STG201-L

Leadership session: Storage state of the union ›

This session is a must for all storage enthusiasts, as new services and updates will be unveiled in this session. I often think about this session as setting the tone for all storage sessions. You also get a better idea of what to expect in storage sessions throughout the week. Pro tip: Sign up early, as this session tends to fill up quickly.

STG202

What’s new in AWS file storage ›

There are some product announcements I’m hoping to see in the file storage space, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll get the update I’m looking for in this session.

STG205-R

Data migration: Understanding the technologies and options ›

Since I started my journey with AWS in the past three years, a lot has changed in the data migration space. I’m looking forward to syncing up on the new migration capabilities. There are three repeat sessions, so I’m sure I can make to one of them!

STG204-R

Get your data to AWS: How to choose and use data migration services ›

This session is a must for attendees who want to get started on their data migration but don’t know where to start or which AWS storage services to use. (The services used may differ depending on the data migration use case.)

STG206-R

Stop managing SFTP servers today ›

I spent a lot of time managing SFTP servers prior to using AWS services. I’d attend this session to learn about AWS Transfer for SFTP enhancements and get some hands-on experience from the session’s experts.

STG230

Creating and running your first job in Amazon S3 batch operations ›

While I have a fair amount of data in Amazon S3, I haven’t done anything with S3 batch operations. I’m going to this session to see if there are opportunities to streamline some of my Amazon S3-based workflows.

STG203-R

What’s new with Amazon S3 and Amazon S3 Glacier ›

Amazon has many storage classes and features to manage data. It will be interesting to see what’s new with Amazon S3 and Amazon S3 Glacier and learn how to store colder data in Amazon S3 Glacier and Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive.

STG331-R

Beyond eleven nines: Lessons from the Amazon S3 culture of durability ›

Storing data is all about security and durability, and AWS prides itself on its “eleven nines.” Check out this session to learn what AWS has learned about durability along the way.

STG306-R

Deep dive on Amazon FSx for Windows File Server ›

I love being able to take advantage of managed services whenever possible, and I have some workloads that would run well in Amazon FSx for Windows File Server. I’m looking forward to this deep dive to help me sort out if my workload is a good fit.

STG319-R

Getting started with AWS Backup ›

AWS Backup is a fairly new solution that centralizes and automates backups. This session will be a good opportunity to see how it has evolved since it launched.

STG338

Ask me anything about Amazon S3 ›

This session will be a great opportunity to learn about how other builders and users are working with Amazon S3. This is such a robust service that a session titled “Ask me anything” is bound to be a good conversation.

STG346

Deep dive on CloudEndure Disaster Recovery ›

CloudEndure joined the AWS portfolio recently. Check out this session to learn more about the service.

STG360-R

Using Amazon EFS for container storage ›

Staying up to date on storage for containerized workflows is important in my environment. Although I’m already using Amazon EFS for container storage, this session will be a good opportunity to see what others are doing.

STG402

Querying data in place with Amazon S3 and analytics tools ›

I’d love to find ways of improving the value my organization can extract from data stored in Amazon S3. The conversation in this chalk talk will likely spark some new ideas to bring back to my organization.

DOP406-R

Introduction to the AWS CLI v2 ›

I highly recommend this AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) session, as it was my favorite non-storage session, led by Kyle Knapp, I attended during my first re:Invent. I attended this session again last year, and it was even better than the first year’s. If you like working from the command line, don’t miss Kyle’s session.

Keynotes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

In the past, I’ve avoided the crowds and streamed the keynotes in my hotel room. This year, I’m going to try to get a seat in the audience to say I’ve been there. If crowds aren’t your thing, the live-stream experience is always good. Combined with the real-time commentary, watching the live stream is a great way to get instant reactions from the AWS user community.

Recommended Activities and Events Throughout the Week

In addition to the sessions, there are a handful of fun events I look forward to attending at the conference.

Sunday

Check out the Midnight Madness party at the Venetian. Here, you’ll find the Tatonka wing-eating challenge, the air-band competition, the scavenger hunt, and plenty of good music. This party has become a tradition at re:Invent and is a fun way to kick off the conference.

Monday

The welcome reception on the expo floor is more than a mad dash for swag. I use this time to circle the show floor and figure out which vendors and products I want to explore further. And because I’m a storage enthusiast, you’ll find me talking to experts at the storage booth and watching their demos.

Tuesday

Are you using NetApp storage? If so, they have a reception at the TAO nightclub that’s worth checking out.

Wednesday

If you have passed an AWS Certification exam, make sure to check out the AWS Certification Appreciation Reception at Brooklyn Bowl. Music, food, and an open bar make this a great opportunity to network with other AWS Certified peers. Come meet me there—I’m usually out on the second-floor balcony.

Thursday

Don’t miss the re:Play party. Amazon knows how to throw a party, and the scale of this party is mind-blowing. Don’t expect to find out who is headlining the event until the Thursday morning keynote. This is one of the best kept secrets in Las Vegas.

All week

Pro tip: The Certification Lounge is a good place to take a break between sessions. It’s stocked with snacks, drinks, games, and places to sit and relax. Make sure to pick up your exclusive AWS Certified swag on your first visit! Also, the expo floor has a Developer Lounge open to everyone. I’ve heard that a large number of the AWS Heroes hang out there. The full list of special events is available at https://reinvent.awsevents.com/play/

Staying Connected at re:Invent

Once you’ve got your schedule planned, you’ll want to install the AWS re:Invent app and set up a Twitter account to stay on top of conference updates. The app, available in both the App Store and Google Play Store, gives you access to your conference calendar and updated event announcements.

Once you have Twitter set up, I recommend following @AWSonAir, @awscloud, @AWSreInvent, @jeffbarr, @AWS_edu, @AWSCLOUDCERT, and @AWSUserGroups. And though it’s not an official AWS twitter account, check out @reinventParties. You can also follow me (@davebuildscloud), as I’ll be tweeting storage news and announcements throughout the event.

Something else you should do in preparation for re:Invent is block off time on October 15 to reserve your session seats. This will help you avoid potential waitlist lines for the more popular sessions.

Conclusion

Good luck picking your sessions, and have safe travels to the conference. If any of the events on your schedule cross paths with the events I’m attending, let me know—it’s always nice to meet new people at these events.

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