AWS Summit Mumbai 2013 – A Report

AWS Summit came to Mumbai yesterday and I took the opportunity of visiting it and getting updated on some of the latest advances in the Amazon Web Services world. Having been a heavy user of PaaS like Google App Engine over the years and having dabbled in AWS a few times, I decided to go this summit since there are times when you need the raw box and do what you want instead of being constrained by the programming model.

awssummitThe summit was neatly partitioned into 3 tracks : Startup – Developer,  Enterprise and AWS Usage. No points for guessing which track I went for.

Dr. Vogels kicked off the summit in style and set the tone for the rest of the day The next general session was around Total Cost of ownership and since I have been using the cloud for development, it was a known thing to me atleast that the Cloud does reduce costs significantly if used correctly.

So, I took this time to visit the AWS Hands-on labs,  where they had set up 30 machines with 16 hands-on labs that you could try out. The AWS solution architects were on hand to help you out. This was a killer feature of the summit and a developers dream. All this was provided at no cost and I helped myself to a few labs to get some of my basics in place. Each lab topic was different and ranged from the basic task of launching an EC2 instance to scaling, load balancing. Sessions on Amazon RDS & DynamoDB were there too. For the genius who came up with the idea of setting up these labs, you have my utmost respect.

After lunch, I dived into the Developer track, which had sessions on what AWS Brings to the table, architecting AWS solutions for scale, lean principles and going to the Cloud in 40 minutes. What struck me the most was these tracks were solidly planned with the underlying theme being that of a Lean Startup, which has been made popular by Eric Ries through his seminal book on the same topic.

The planning was clearly around:

  • Step 0 : Idea
  • Step 1 : MVP -Minimum Viable Product
  • Step 2 : Scale
  • Step 3 : Sustainability

Each step was clearly explained and the session expanded on each of them. I tell you I would pay for this kind of planning and execution. It is no secret that the success of any product is both technical and also strategic in nature and this summit clearly showed how AWS addresses both of those points.

The speakers knew their subject matter, they had a relaxed style of taking and you could see the passion. They also peppered their talks with great quotes.  Some of them were:

  • The Cloud allows you fail fast and at a lower cost.
  • AWS brings the architectures. insider your application.
  • The first problem of success is Scaling.
  • Think Big, Start Small and Scale Fast.
  • Innovation means keeping your cost of failure down.

The AWS Architects have also put together a great set of reference architectures. Strongly recommend it to get an idea of what scalable architecture on the Web looks like.

The arrangements were great. Amazon ensured that we not only got food for thought but also enough food to eat during the day.

In summary,  this was one of the best events that I have attended and if a summit is coming your way, do go for it, if Cloud is your area of work (I am sure it is…. The Cloud got you to this blog… didn’t it?)

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