AWS Summit Singapore 2016

There are so many good events around Singapore and I make sure I attend an event once a month to keep my knowledge up to date. I thought of start writing about the events I participate hoping it will help you to get an idea what it is about and encourage you to attend some of them.

Last Thursday we had AWS Summit in Singapore. As my company is using AWS services and has more plans to experiment with them I attended the conference with two of my colleagues. Thanks to my boss for suggesting the event and the giving me approval to attend. It was a big conference with 5 tracks and 3000 participants. Yes, that was a lot of people.

Keynote

The conference started with a keynote by Dr. Werner Vogels (@Werner), CTO of Amazon.com. He talked about usage of Amazon Web Services and specially in the context of DevOps, IOT(Internet of Things), Serverless Architecture and data, database and application migration to the cloud. During his session, the event partners came and presented how they solve their problems using AWS.

I personally like the talks by the Cheif Infrastructure Consultant at data.gov.sg, Mr. Pallanikumaran Selvan and CTO at Zalora, Mr. Karthik Subramanian, as they told us the story about their journey to the cloud. Mr. Selvan showed the overall architecture of data.gov.sg including the integration of DevOps. If you do not know it yet, all the major components in their architecture has built on AWS Cloud Platform.

Ms. Anju Patwardhan, Global Chief Innovation Officer at Standard Charted Bank demonstrated us how they have used Amzon’s IOT device, Amazon Echo with the assistant Amazon Alexa in their Research and Development project. This was a fascinating experience.

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Parallel Sessions

Here is the agenda of the event and I will post the link, once I found the recorded sessions. These are the sessions I attended after the keynote and let me tell you few words about each of them.

1. Rethinking your migration strategy to your competitive advantage by Gene Tang in Starting on AWS track
This is my favorite session of the day, I must say. The speaker talked about how existing products could be migrated to the cloud. We can either follow fork lifting approach and move as it is, or re-architect it to get the maximum benefits from the cloud. He further explained about the life cycle, act -> enhance -> pioneer approach.

2. Big data and analytics on AWS: Building a business-friendly platform by Craig Stires in Migration and scaling on AWS track
The speaker talked about successful big data projects he had architected. They had started the projects by identifying and short listing the business outcomes. Then they started the experimentation by starting small, testing many ideas, keeping good once and scaling up. To be agile and timely, they had taken advantage of the rich platforms like AWS. He also demonstrated how they came up with the architecture for the projects by following; data -> collect -> store -> practice/analyze -> consume/visualize approach.

3. Digital transformation through products and service innovation by Senthil Ramani in Innovating with AWS track
They were talking about one of their projects, where they deployed so many sensors. I was not a big fan for of this session as they did not clearly explain their architecture or how they integrated AWS.

4. Build mobile apps using AWS SDKs and AWS Mobile Hub by Oliver Klein in Developer session
The speaker talked about building a mobile app from scratch, what are the AWS services we can integrate and he also demonstrated how to do it the old way. He introduced the new way of doing things, all at one place, which is the Amazon Mobile Hub. The fun fact is, do you know Amazon really have stacks full of various mobile phones in a farm for you to run your tests? They charge by testing minutes.

5. Real-time analytics with open source by Oliver Klein in Developer session
They have open source projects and code samples available in git hub to play around. They highly encourage you to take part in improving them. You can check samples, plug-ins, project etc at https://github.com/awslabs  and https://github.com/aws

6. Javascript and Node.js development on AWS by Alex Smith in Developer session
AWS has a SDK to directly work with Node.js (server side javascripts) and javascripts in the browser. I think in this way, configurations are much easy. Check the sdk at https://github.com/aws/aws-sdk-js

7. Agile development using Git and AWS Elastic Beanstalk by Alex Smith in Developer session
The speaker demonstrated how Elastic Beanstalk can be used to deploy, monitor and scale your application in the cloud. He used Git and Elastic Beanstalk CLI for the demo and handled the devops like a pro.

Food and Entertainment

They were kind to provide breakfast, lunch and snacks, which we could grab while running to the next session. We also found a photo booth where we can take a selfie and upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #AWSSummitSG and they will print our photos. Xiling and I took a photo during a session break and got it printed by the end of the day. I also won a universal charger by turning a wheel of fortune. That is the only two fun booths we could check, there were so many raffle draws and other fun games by some of their partners.

Networking

There were enough opportunity for people who would like to expand their network of connections. AWS had a special lounge for  AWS certified professionals and they also had an exhibitions where their event partners were explaining about their products and services. Breakfast, lunch and snacks were provided in a manner where you can easily grab something and talk to people around you. It was not easy with the huge number of people anyway.

Overall Experience

The learning experience at AWS Summit is worth the time and effort. I was introduced to the latest AWS services and tools, open source products and the most fascinating thing is I got to see the architectures of other people’s products. I really value that. Not only that, I learnt how other architects address their problems, specifically problems related to big data domain. This will help me and provide me options when I am thinking about building a product and trying to evaluate the options.

The conference was overcrowded and the hall which had the developer session was too small to hold the number of developer who truly wanted to be at the session. So I was unable to get into the developer session in the morning and thanks to a colleague, I managed to get a seat in the afternoon session. I couldn’t check the exhibition as I could not afford to lose my seat at the developer session.

I am very happy the overall experience at the conference was very positive and I am so excited to share my knowledge with my fellow developers at work. I am also looking forward to experiment the AWS tools and services in our future products.

 

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Author: Harshani Nawarathna

Sri Lankan woman in Computing

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