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re:Invent 2023 Session Guide

It’s approaching that special time of year again when reservations for AWS re:Invent sessions open!

Trying to figure out how to fit everything in whilst still keeping some free time for exploring and ad-hoc activities is certainly a fine art. I’m going to talk a little bit about the sessions that I’ll be reserving - or at least trying to!

The sessions that I’ve chosen to attend may not necessarily be aligned with your interests, but the topics fit with my current projects at Ubertas Consulting.

With so many options, it’s important to try and plan as much as possible. Allowing 1 hour between each session so you can travel between venues is sensible too. If you’ve got one session at the Wynn and another at Mandalay Bay afterwards, even 1 hour may not be enough. There are buses between many of the venues, however they do get busy so I often end up walking most places.

When it comes to deciding what type of sessions to attend, there’s a few things to keep in mind. A lot of sessions are recorded and will be posted on YouTube within a few weeks of re:Invent concluding. Some session types are not. The key ones are: Workshops, Chalk Talk, Code Talk, Builders’ Sessions. Whilst there is some benefit in attending Breakout Sessions that are recorded, namely that you can ask questions of the speaker afterwards - in my opinion the way to make the most of re:Invent is to attend those sessions that are interactive or allow you to get hands-on.

As well as the choices below, I’ll be attending every keynote. Whilst the keynotes are recorded as well as broadcast live, the atmosphere in the room is always exciting and it’s a good chance to start each day with some enthusiasm. Plus it forces you to get up early! Not that I’ll have any issue with that… thanks jet-lag!

My choices

CON302 | Building a secure software factory on AWS using Amazon EKS

Workshop, Venetian, Monday 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

EKS and Kubernetes (K8S) in general is an area that I don’t have enough experience in and am seeing more and more questions about it from customers. I’m hoping that this session will enable me to get hands-on with K8S and EKS and learn enough to get me going.

Nice early start to the week too!

SUP308 | Making architectural trade-offs using AWS Well-Architected Framework

Chalk Talk, Wynn, Monday 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is a great resource for assessing whether workloads in AWS are adhering to best-practice as well as suggesting pathways for how to remediate any issues. As with any framework, it’s almost impossible to tick all the boxes every time. For this reason, trade-offs are an important part of the evaluation.

I’m excited to see what AWS’ recommendations and examples are around this topic.

ENT302 | Modernizing the application stack with AWS modernization pathways

Workshop, Venetian, Monday 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Migration and modernisation are our bread and butter at work, they’re the core of the vast majority of our engagements. The plan for this workshop is described as “incrementally modernize a workload from an existing monolith to a loosely coupled microservices architecture while keeping it always available for production”.

I’m super excited about this one, it’s a good real-world problem to work through and I’m looking forward to finding out if there’s any different tools or methods that I can apply to customer problems at work.

COP401 | Coding for container observability

Code Talk, Wynn, Monday 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Observability is an area that I know something about, but not enough beyond the usual CloudWatch monitoring suite. This session will be looking at OpenTelemetry, a tool that I’ve been keen to try out for a while. It’ll be good to see how AWS recommend integrating it with workloads running in containers.

CON403 | Seekable OCI (SOCI) for lazy loading container images with Amazon ECS

Workshop, MGM Grand, Tuesday 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

This feature came out earlier this year and really piqued my interest. Anything that can be done to reduce the time it takes to launch a new task in ECS is a good thing. In most cases it’s not unbearably slow, but if you’ve got a large image then it can take a little while to download.

The idea of SOCI is that it only downloads enough of the image for the task to launch before incrementally downloading the rest. This workshop will get hands-on with SOCI, definitely a good learning experience around a valuable tool.

ANT402 | Protect and securely share the right data

Workshop, Caesars Forum, Wednesday 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

I don’t work with as many customer data platforms as I used to, but I can see an increase in demand for it over the coming years as more and more organisations have the need to establish the foundation for experimenting with technologies like Generative AI.

With this workshop, I’m particularly interested to get hands-on with Amazon DataZone. It was announced at re:Invent last year and just entered GA. New shiny tech!

NET320 | Connecting multicloud and hybrid networks

Chalk Talk, MGM Grand, Thursday 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Networking is definitely not my strongest area. So much so that the Networking Specialty certification will probably be my next goal. For this reason, I’m keen on attending this chalk talk to understand a little more about the recommended ways to integrate multicloud and hybrid networks. It’s something that I’m seeing more and more in the world of migrations, so really need to upskill soon.

DAT306 | Improve resilience of database workloads by using chaos engineering

Builders’ Session, MGM Grand, Thursday 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Chaos engineering is something I’m really interested in as a way to test, and prove, the resilience of workloads in AWS. I’ve got some experience in using the AWS chaos engineering managed service (Fault Injection Simulator) with EC2 instances, but I haven’t explored it in regards to databases.

This session looks like a good chance to do just that.

SEC318 | Fortify cybersecurity with Amazon Security Lake and Jupyter notebooks

Chalk Talk, Mandalay Bay, Thursday 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Amazon Security Lake looks to be a really interesting service with new data sources and integrations being added all the time. This chalk talk looks to cover consuming events from Amazon Security Lake and using data analysis techniques to carry out live incident response.

I’m always keen to understand more about how security data can be used in new and exciting ways. It’ll be interesting to see whether the session extends to using machine learning to detect anomolous events in data, or build a model to work out which events are indicative of a threat.


The resounding themes through all of these sessions are migration, modernisation and security. Are there any sessions within those themes that you think I’ve missed? If so, please let me know!

Outside of these sessions I’ll be attending the AWS Community Hike and Dinner on Sunday as well as (hopefully) the AWS Ambassador, AWS Community Builder and AWS User Group evening events. So many events in so few days!

Best of luck with getting the reservations you want, see you in Las Vegas!