The CTO of Amazon Web Services delivered the keynote speech of the AWS Sydney Summit. I personally thought it was mostly a glorified sales pitch but the parts where representatives from other companies that have migrated to the cloud, like NAB bank, were quite interesting. NAB picked their public facing website, refined their dev-ops process, extensive performance and resilience testing and finally migrated to production. Another company, GBT, spent a year in analysis, called in experts, and took a lift and shift approach to migrate their infrastructure one for one. They then are planning on re-architecting their applications to utilise additional benefits.

The next session was titled So you think you are an AWS Ninja? and was one of the most informative of the lot. He joking suggested that it should be called how many tips that can fit in 40 minutes, but due to the keynote going overtime, we barely had 25 minutes. As an Amazon employee, he had insider knowledge on useful advice to avoid mistakes others have made. One of the great tips was to tag your instance with an “Uptime” tag, with values such as “Business Hours” or “24×7”. Other advice included mounting S3 as a file system so you only pay for what you use, not what you provisioned. There was a few other suggestions but he was cut off before he could explain, a shame really as I would have said it was the highlight of the day.

During the day, they had four different talks every window, but they seemed to alternate the sessions into “externally presented” (which basically meant they are trying to sell you their software) and then four Amazon presented talks which seemed to be infinity more interesting. I don’t know why they couldn’t have had two Amazon and two external, giving people the option to choose but I guess no one would choose the vendor talks. So following the ninja talk, we had a marketing spiel about some anti-virus software which was pretty much a bore-fest. The only interesting part for me was how software vendor companies have had to adapt to survive in the cloud world, such as per-hour pricing model and simplicity to implement their solutions.

An architect from AWS presented the next talk, named, How to Build a Website for your First 10 Million Customers. I actually laughed out loud at one section, his first slide was how someone using AWS for the first time would build a website, and it was exactly the same as I had originally setup for Roster Portal. Everyone in the audience laughed as well, as it seemed so amateurish! He then showed upgrading it and adapting it as your business would grow, very similar to the journey I have been undertaking. Although the content I already knew, what I took away from it though was there was absolutely nothing wrong with the strategy. I have been beating myself for months now, the more I learnt about cloud design the more I was disappointed my project wasn’t at the same level. However I understand now that it is completely sensible design.

There were other talks but they weren’t even mentioned. All-in-all, the day was a very mixed bag and a bit disappointing for a national conference. Probably the prelude was more enjoyable then the event itself! The three of us returned back to the airport for an 8 o’clock flight back to Brisbane where I finished off Pacific Rim on the in-flight entertainment. A bit late to join the movie bashing party, but this was one of the worst sci-fi movies I have ever seen. It was so bad infact I actually started to enjoy it, laughing along with the terrible “science”, plot and characters. Highly recommend this as a comedy.

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