This week thousands of technologists and business executives will descend on Las Vegas for one of the biggest technology conferences of the year, Amazon Web Services' re:invent.
For anyone new to re:invent the event is a behemoth, and a logistical challenge to say the least. Spread across six hotels along The Strip and 2,500 sessions, attendees have to be organised and on their game to make the most of the show.
There are two main keynotes during the week which will include numerous incremental announcements to the AWS product portfolio, starting with CEO Andy Jassy's Tuesday keynote and running into CTO Werner Vogels' Wednesday keynote, which tends to be more forward looking.
It's not all work either, with the usual "Midnight Madness" on Sunday night, a pub crawl on Wednesday and the re:Play party on Thursday, which typically features food, drink, games and an EDM concert.
It may sound simple but the best way to get the most out of this conference is to be organised and use the official app to plan your days out, including booking seats for sessions as they often get fully booked. Our approach is to stick to one venue each day to avoid the nightmarish campus shuttle queues and walk when possible.
Here at Computerworld, we will be looking to hear from customers and are lined up to speak with the likes of Ticketmaster and quickly growing challenger bank Monzo.
We will also be keen to see how technologies like serverless computing and machine learning are resonating with customers as AWS will inevitably talk up its capabilities.
Similarly are interested to see how AWS evolves its hybrid cloud options after the launch of Outposts last year. We also expect a healthy dose of Kubernetes talk as AWS – like its public cloud rivals – continues its efforts to simplify the container orchestration technology for customers.
Looking ahead to the show, Nick McQuire, vice president of enterprise research at CCS Insight, believes this year will see a continued focus on easing the adoption of hybrid cloud models after last year's major announcement of Outposts.
"We will be looking for an update on this launch this year: adoption, use cases and a deeper understanding of the longer-term strategy with the platform," he told Computerworld.
"Many will be honing in on Outposts following the launches of Google Cloud Anthos and Microsoft’s Azure Arc this year in particular, to see if AWS will follow suit and embrace multi-cloud as part of its hybrid cloud strategy as well."
Elsewhere McQuire expects to see some progress with the AWS strategy for SaaS applications. "AWS has a growing portfolio across its contact centre, productivity and collaboration, virtualisation and AI solutions, but they can be seen as second-class citizens against the other areas of the portfolio because the firm has been mainly investing in areas lower down the cloud stack,” he said.
“When you look at the success that Microsoft and Google have been having in winning big cloud deals with customers that nominate them as their preferred cloud partners, these customers are focusing on both IT transformation and workplace transformation, so their SaaS applications have been critical alongside cloud infrastructure to winning those deals.
"I think the market is therefore starting to look at the business applications area in AWS’ strategy to see where it will play more strongly in the future.”