AWS Bites Podcast

106. Luciano's reInvent Experience

Published 2023-12-01 - Listen on your favourite podcast player

In this episode, Luciano and Eoin chat about Luciano's experience attending AWS re:Invent 2023 in Las Vegas for the first time. They talk about the massive scale of the event, logistical challenges getting around between venues, highlights from the keynotes and announcements, and tips for networking and getting the most out of re:Invent. Luciano shares his perspective on the AI focus, meeting people in real life after connecting online, rookie mistakes to avoid, and why re:Invent is worth the investment for anyone working in the AWS space.

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Luciano: Hello everyone, Luciano here and we have a unique episode for you today. I am currently at reInvent in Vegas and I've been here since all the week and we wanted to have the chance to share the experience with you all and we're going to talk just about what did I do, what did I learn, people I met, different announcements that we have seen and we maybe want to comment on a little bit. So I hope this is going to be an interesting episode and maybe something that is going to inspire you to look more at reInvent and maybe we'll see you here next time, next year and we can chat together about all the different things that happen at reInvent. My name is Luciano and I'm joined by Eoin for another episode of AWS Bites. AWS Bites is brought to you by fourTheorem, the ultimate AWS partner for modern applications on AWS. We can help you to become successful with AWS and if you're interested check us out at

Eoin: Hey Luciano, how's it going? So I'm curious to know how are you getting on over there? What is reInvent 2023 like?

Luciano: Yeah, I think it's just crazy. So many people, so many activities, so many things to do. So it has been my first one so I'm totally anew but this I'm totally improvising and trying to get the best of it but honestly I'm just getting by and trying to do whatever happens every day without trying to plan it too much because it's challenging even to try to come up with a plan. I heard that there are at least 60,000 people which should give you like the scale of how busy it is. So yeah and it's just interesting even just the logistics of it is like spread across multiple hotels like these big casinos and you really need to plan like when you want to go from one to the other. Of course there is transportation but like it takes time even to walk from one room to the next one if you're trying to attend different talks. So far absolutely positive experience. I am amazed of on how many people I met and how many things I've learned and new connections or also meeting people that have been connected with before but only online and I finally had the chance to meet many of them in person. So that alone I think pays that they experience big time.

Eoin: It sounds like meeting people is just more of an advantage than attending the talks. I guess you can watch those back on YouTube later whatever you've missed but since you mentioned it's your first re-invent. If myself, anybody else wants to go over there for the first time do you think you've made any rookie mistakes so far that you wouldn't do again?

Luciano: Yeah probably made many at this point but yeah the main one is probably trying to plan to attend talks but not realize again how far away things can be. For instance yesterday I wanted to attend the power tools workshop and I had to go from the Venetian which is where I'm staying to Mandalay Bay which if you just look on Google Maps doesn't seem too far away and there are buses so I left like one hour early with the bus from the Venetian and it got stuck in traffic and it took slightly more than one hour so when I got there and I found the room it was probably like five ten minutes late so not too too late but the room was already packed and they just didn't let me in so it was a bit of a shame that I spent like more than one hour trying to get there to attend the workshop and then I couldn't attend it. I was still able to meet the power tools team and have a nice chat after it so it was totally worth it to go anyway but yeah it was a bit of a rookie mistake I should have planned that a little bit better and maybe go there a little bit earlier so I think that kind of stuff can happen and sometimes there are so many talks so you might not realize when you create your own agenda that maybe one after the other is just not feasible because you're not going to have enough time to to move from one place to the next one so someday definitely to keep in mind and next year maybe try to have just a very few talks you want to attend and make sure you have enough space to move from wherever you are to the to the venue where they're doing the talk.

Eoin: Yeah and I guess all the talks are along the strip in Las Vegas right I'm fairly familiar with the layout of it and I know that it seems deceptively short like you would not think but it's actually like I don't know how many miles long it is but I'm looking here it looks like it's almost like two and a half miles to get from the Venetian to Mandalay Bay even though you can kind of see Mandalay Bay nearly. Exactly. So yeah it's pretty but still an hour it's crazy for that distance isn't it? Yeah the other thing is even if you're walking right you got to go up these steps and down the steps and through buildings and through casinos so it's it always takes longer.

Luciano: I think the thing that is making it worse this year is that they just had the Formula One so you can see on the roads they are still cleaning up all the setup that they add so I think that that's why traffic is a little bit worse than what probably would be in another time of the year. Yeah watch you don't fall into any manholes that have been displaced. I hope not.

Eoin: Okay so you what have you been up to then you mentioned meeting people. Did you like schedule a bunch of meetings with people and are you rushing around from place to place? Is it more kind of ad hoc? And have you managed to get into any good talks so far? Are you kind of at this stage thinking you've got a couple of days left are you going to just try and abandon talks all together and just focus more on the social and the networking side?

Luciano: Yeah I've attended a couple of talks and they can be really interesting but I would say just go to the talks where you really think you can get value on the face-to-face with the speaker and maybe other people that have an interest on the same topic and then you can use the question time to socialize a little bit because again just the content alone it's something you can consume later on everything is recorded slides are available so it's not worth it to compromise the opportunity for more networking for just going and seeing something you can check out later on your own time and yeah so so be aware of that so I attended one about Lambdas in rust which is a topic that I'm really being curious about and been experimenting a bit. I'm surprised you didn't give that one but go on.

And yeah it was actually a really good talk by Efi and he is also another serverless hero and basically he actually described three different ways to use rust in the context of Lambda so not just building on Lambda runtimes but even just packaging a library written in rust for python for instance and then just using it in the python runtime or even building custom Lambda extensions with rust and then using them with other runtimes like java or not js so a bunch of interesting learnings there and the conversation after it was super interesting it was actually relatively small crowd which wasn't surprising because it's a very niche topic still but everyone that was there was like super excited and everyone was trying to share all the mistakes and all the lesson learned while trying to do this thing which is still pretty new and not many people are doing so it was quite an engaging session because everyone was super excited to try to learn from each other and other than that has been mostly trying to meet people I wasn't really sure how to schedule all of that again because my first time here I didn't know what the spaces will look like what everyone agenda is going to look like so I was just connecting before the event online on slack linkedin twitter and just asking people I'm going to be there let's exchange maybe phone numbers and then let's try to find some time to spend some time together and that has been working out in in a mixed way I think in some cases it's working very well in other cases I just was unable to meet the people because the schedules didn't really match but also there have been a few interesting events organized by AWS for the heroes or the community builders so being able to to attend this focused events is generally the best place to meet people that more or less have the same interest and people that you might want to talk to and just share opinions.

Eoin: It's probably good to talk about some announcements since we're talking about re-invent I thought a few of them were pretty interesting there's been quite a lot so far. I haven't had a chance to really try out any of the new features or services that much. What about you from your position on the ground there, what have you picked up? What are your favorite announcements? We won't go through them all.

Luciano: Yeah I think I only looked marginally because again here it you can be so busy that all the announcements at least for me become almost like a second order problem like yes I like to see the headlines but I'm not gonna deep dive and see exactly what's going on so in that sense one that seems very exciting it's serverless memcache and it's something that people following the podcast know that we have been requesting for at least two years I think it was one of our very first episodes where we mentioned that it would be a nice thing to have for AWS and offer that kind of service so I'm really excited about that I already heard disappointing opinions that maybe it's not really serverless or as serverless as we wanted it to be but it's still a step in the right direction I hope so I think I'm going to defer a final opinion while while I have the time to when I have the time to try it out and see really what it looks like to to use it.

Eoin: It looked pretty good to me as well because the pricing page hadn't been published fully when I looked at it first. Then when I checked it looks like you pay per gigabyte storage which sounds fine if you store some data in there but there's a minimum of a gigabyte and that's like 90 dollars a month already. So that's a bit disappointing as you say.

Luciano: Okay so it doesn't scale to zero at least in terms of pricing. Okay so let's let's put that disappointment aside for a second the other one that is probably a minimal thing but I think it can be very interesting and can enable a bunch of interesting use cases is the API for the free tier services which I think is going to allow lots of interesting dashboards and integrations and it might make AWS more accessible to people like students that might be very concerned about not overspending on AWS so that's definitely a welcome addition and again something that I want to play with a little bit more before having a final opinion but it's great to see that there is a little bit of movement in that direction where it should be easier for people to see what is actually being given for free and not fall into any mistake or trap and then have some kind of bill shock at the end of the month. What about you? What did you like so far?

Eoin: There are a couple of nice ones in the kind of serverless space like SQS FIFO throughput has had a massive increase and now you can do 70,000 transactions per second so now SQS FIFO queues used to be a lot more limited in terms of throughput now with 70,000 transactions per second you can theoretically put 700,000 messages through it in a second and also with SQS FIFO you can now do QA drives for DLQs which was something that was missing before and then on Lambda the scalability of Lambda has suddenly had another jump as well so everybody can get a thousand invocations per minute after the burst concurrency we talked a lot about burst concurrency and Lambda in a previous episode but like in most accounts that we've used in eu-west-1, we can get 3,000 immediately and then it used to be 500 per minute. Now, that's a thousand per minute, so you can scale up really fast. And then on Step Functions, there were two announcements that I'm aware of. One was the ability to be able to redrive from a failed state. I think that's a really good one so now you don't have to run the whole function again you can just continue from the failed step. And the other thing is something we actually asked for I think when we covered Application Composer which is the ability to integrate Step Functions workflow studio into Application Composer now that's done so they're obviously listening thanks everybody what I think you caught a lot of the Adam's Selipsky keynote yesterday now there's a lot of AI as we could have predicted and I think even though they're pretty impressive in a lot of ways all of the Amazon Q announcements we could have predicted them as well because it felt like AWS had to have an answer to all the announcements from the open AI developer conference from a few weeks ago do you have any thoughts I'm guessing you haven't had a chance to try it out but have you heard from anyone is there a mood in Las Vegas on what Amazon Q can do? Is it skeptical or optimistic?

Luciano: I think I spoke with a few people after the keynote and I maybe it's a bit of a bubble that I'm personally in but most people more I guess on the developer side are a bit disappointed that there was so much focus on AI alone and they're looking forward for the keynote from Werner just to see stuff that is probably a little bit closer to what developers are looking for so maybe it's just a different audience there in general I think it's it's impressive to see the amount of investment that was put in AI but again it's not surprising that that's the main message that AWS wants to push because that's been the main message probably for all 2023 and it only makes sense to come to re-invent with strong announcements in that field.

Eoin: I've had a very brief period just playing with the Q assistant in the AWS console because it's like a it's almost a bit like Clippy for AWS console it's like, "I see you're starting an EC2 instance. I can help you with that!" I've got mixed results so far but you know we know AWS tends to launch things a little bit early especially like they were it seemed like they were going to have to launch this no matter what I would give it time I'm sure it will improve models will improve anyway but I actually am impressed by the way they've integrated Q into AWS console visual studio code AWS toolkit loads of other services like connect and quick site it must have been a massive massive undertaking to get everything ready in time for re-invent so that is impressive and there's there's loads more like you can you can start your own chatbot application you can integrate it with your own data sources like Gmail and Dropbox and Aurora, SQL server loads of stuff and it's it's an alternative which I would probably intuitively trust a lot more than any of the other offerings out there because I know about AWS security and how it works and I would have high confidence in it doing the right thing with my data I'd be much more comfortable building like an enterprise knowledge base retrieval augmented system with a bedrock or Q than I would with anything else and there's obviously a lot of focus on code transformation as well they announced this Q code transformation that can migrate Java 8 applications to Java 17 applications I think in minutes now the Adam's claims were quite extreme I think it was something like thousands of applications migrated in minutes I'd love to know how that works and how do you even test them exactly I don't mean that amount of time but let's see how it goes. I've started playing around a little bit with the AWS toolkit in VS code so loads of stuff to play with there I think it's worth giving a try and I'm sure there'll be some rough edges at the start but as alway.s it'll improve over time so apart from announcements Maybe some advice, what would you recommend based on what you've seen so far other people to go?

Luciano: I think in general yes it is a bit of an investment both in terms of time but in terms of cost because of course it's not depending on where you're coming from it might be expensive to fly here it is expensive to stay here the tickets to the conference are also not cheap so it's definitely something that you have to see as an investment and make sure that you get back the right value from it. But I think in general, if you are working in the AWS space it is the place to be to get not just the news which is something that you can get from your the comfort of your own home and just watch all the keynotes and all the announcements from remotely right but more to meet all the people and exchange opinions exchange contacts solutions build relationship potential business opportunities also because you might meet potential partners, you might meet potential customers and you might meet people that maybe you want to hire in your own company. So it's definitely worth for that alone that there is lots of value and I would recommend people looking for that kind of opportunities to to consider re-invent next year.

Eoin: Okay I think you've got a day or two left anything particular you're hoping for before the end that you haven't managed to do yet?

Luciano: I think I'm just gonna focus on trying to meet a few more people there are other people that really want to meet and I know that they are here around and just haven't bumped into them and I really hope I can manage to do that and just have a chat and yeah just get that opinion and get to know them in person a little bit more. Okay you haven't got people fatigue yet that's good. Yeah I'm feeling very extroverted this week which is not my usual thing but it's working out pretty well.

Eoin: Look it was good that we got a chance to catch up and share it with everybody. I know I'll be seeing you the day after you come back in person but you'll probably be too jet-lagged to talk about your experience then so it was nice to catch up.

Luciano: Absolutely I hope I'm gonna be making some sense when we meet but I have lots of swag to share so be ready for that. All right I think that brings us to the end of this episode I hope you enjoyed it and I hope if you have been to reinvent as well that you'd like to share your experience what are the things that you learn or unexpected things that happen to you I think it's gonna be awesome to just share all of that stuff and because I am a noob if you have been a noob as well and that was your first time again if there was anything that you didn't expect then you would suggest to other people to avoid if they are going next year for the first time please share all of that information in the comments and we'll be super happy to see that and share it with other people as well so thank you so much for being with us for another episode and we'll see you on the next one. Bye!