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Dateline: Las Vegas

6000 geeks and geekettes descended upon the desert city last month, sights set upon the AWS re:Invent conference – a three day whirlwind tour of cloud computing; the opportunities, the challenges, the slides, oh my!

From NASA to yours truly, customers and partners of every size and shape had come to share, learn, meet and greet the movers and shakers of the modern cloud era.

In a spectacular display of logistics, the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels managed to bear the burden of the event – moving, seating, feeding and entertaining the gadget-laden throng like clockwork. RFID entry, meals in an enormous warehouse, and WiFi as pure as mana. Every 20 meters there stood a WiFi access point – sentinels to our virtual world.

Over the course of three days, Jim and I attended a number of workshops across a wide range of technologies and practices. Some were introductory courses to methods and means I wasn’t yet familiar with. Others were in-depth technical bootcamps that challenged my experience in creating ever-larger, complex, auto-scaling network infrastructures. During this time, I counted at least five different architectures that I had successfully designed, implemented, documented, tested and tore-down.

And yet, the total cost of all these experiments was less than $40. The low-margin, high-volume nature of Amazon Web Services is a phenomenon all to itself. In the cloud, you pay for what you use. There’s no opportunity cost for infrastructure – no datacenter leases, no implicit cost of unused servers. Just pure compute, on demand, billed in hourly increments.

It was a great event, and well worth the trip. We gained a lot of knowledge, and we intend to return next year, results in hand.

Andrew

Some pictures from AWS re:Invent

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re:Invent Central, the show room floor

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Meals in the re:Invent feeding warehouse

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re:Invent, a keynote address – fireside chat with Jeff Bezos and Werner Vogels

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