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AWS Summit Madrid 2018

AWS Summit Madrid 2018

Some weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to the AWS Summit that was hosted in Madrid. It was a great opportunity to get an idea of the current status of the AWS ecosystem in Spain. Also a good time for meeting again with former coworkers and friends that I didn’t see for a long time. Overall was a really good day, the keynote done by Werner Vogels and Miguel Alava had some incredible people invited as Chema Alonso and it was a great opportunity to know about the future of AWS (hello Machine Learning).

I leave you some notes I had about the conference in case you want to attend next year. Luckily I had the opportunity to attend both as guest and as a sponsor so I got different points of view:

The good

  • Lot of companies from different areas so more points of view on AWS and its ecosystem.
  • Free food and drinks. Even if it was a free event Amazon provided with free food and drinks, good call Amazon!
  • The sessions were really interesting and easy to follow. I’m glad that the people doing the sessions were Amazon employees and people working on the field with experience.
  • The keynote was amazing! Part of the keynote was about Machine Learning. Unfortunately for me I don’t have so much knowledge in the Machine Learning field but the cases of use and information that Werner Vogels gave were really useful for understanding it better.

The bad

  • Some of the sessions were not focused on real life problems. Let me explain: One of the sessions that I attend was about SAP on AWS. During the sessions the speaker said that it was possible to fully migrate to AWS in a matter of hours (which is kind of true). Let’s be honest, migrating a full production environment to AWS is not a matter of hours, it is usually done in a project that could take months. It is not honest saying that you can migrate all your SAP systems in a matter of hours to AWS without disrupting your operations, you give the customers a bad starting point to AWS and false expectations.
  • Some of the case of success explained in the sessions were not the best ones. Related to the topic I wrote before, in the session about SAP on AWS the case of success was about a migration of SAP systems to AWS. The guy from the company said that they migrated all their systems in a couple of weeks after being stuck in the same project for months. When he explained about the migrated SAP landscape it consisted only in a few systems… And the database migrated to HANA was an SQL Server of 200GB without real production use! Come on Amazon, there are tons of cases of success of companies migrating systems to AWS. I hope that you pick better cases for next year!
  • This is something more about Spain and its culture. Usually in this kind of events the companies that have a stand give merchandising for free. The only thing you have to know is hear a small talk about the company and its products. It is incredible the amount of people that only care about the merchandising. People asking for a stick with incredible rude manners when they know about the small talk they had to listen for getting it.
  • The “Walking Dead” at lunch time… It was impossible to get any bite of food in the beginning, people literally fighting for a small hamburger…

The ugly

  • Nearly 80% of attending people were males. We need more women  in IT positions!
  • Small conference place for so many attending people. The sessions’ room were nice but the part with the partners stand was quite small.
  • Long keynote. In Spain an event of nearly two hours and a half makes people bored. At least is my opinion, I think the length of the keynote could be shorter.
  • The place where the event was it is not the best one in my opinion. For such a “small” event I think there are better options closer to Madrid that won’t require going by car and with better parking options.

Tips for next year

  • Get a view in advance of the available sessions and plan which ones you want to attend. In the early sessions go early in advance because the room will be really crowded.
  • At lunch time go outside for lunch, it is not worth it to fight for a bite with so many people…
  • Try to network with people over there. In Spain people who goes to this kind of events usually stay alone without talking to anyone which I think is loosing opportunities to meet new people and experiences.
  • Don’t focus on the merchandise. Seriously, I think it is wasting time trying to get something stupid while you can use your time better knowing products, partners or attending to sessions.

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