If you have lived under a rock for the last 3 months, I feel obliged to remind you that AWS re:Invent 2020 lasted 4 weeks and generated more than 800 videos in their YouTube channel. I am not a pessimist, but a well-inform realist, so I knew that there is no way to catch up, having such a mountain of content behind your back.
Instead, I have re-organized my time in December 2020 and January 2021 to watch as many talks as possible. I have managed to stop the counter at 155, which is a ton of content - some of that definitely worthwhile, and some being … not worth it at all, to put it mildly. 💩
Before even starting the process, I have decided to do this as a reliable project that will give me an excellent ROI (return of investment) - so I made notes, comments, even my own rating system. Why? To share it and document how I learn, in public.
The whole process of extracting the ratings and notes was not painful. However, it’s wasn’t trivial as well. How have I done that? You can read about it here. I can give you a small teaser now: I have used a newly released service called AWS Glue DataBrew.
You may say: Yeah, yeah - we’ve got it. You have recommendations for us. Share them! Sure, will do - but first, I want to present you my assumptions, which gives you a glimpse of what you can expect.
In the beginning, I had to admit that I am picky.
First, I prefer working with data, so anything from AWS Databases and AWS Data Analytics topics comes first. Then, I focus on services and talks that are fitting the serverless umbrella term. Last but not least: anything related to the new services. In the end, I have decided to form a bonus list created from the mixed content from the other categories.
However, being picky is not as bad as being demanding. If I see a talk 400 or 300, my expectations are set on a really high level - it’s not related to a flawless execution or delivery, but the meat and juice. 🍖 If I am spending 30-45 minutes, I want to learn as much as I can.
A few additional constraints:
- No keynotes nor leadership sessions.
- Only sessions that are available on-demand later.
- If you have read the post about data preparation (aka backstage), you know that my rating is from 0 to 10.
- I have decided to not waste anybody’s time for any talk rated below
- I have decided to not waste anybody’s time for any talk rated below
Knowing the prerequisites, I have selected the top 5 presentations from a given category and collected them in a section below, together with my rating and commentary.
Let’s do it!
As a first category, my favorites - videos about AWS Databases portfolio:
- Amazon DynamoDB Advanced Design Patterns - Part 1 and Amazon DynamoDB Advanced Design Patterns - Part 2 by Rick Houlihan.
- I will treat those talks like one - because it’s a must-see. Pace, pragmatism, covered topics - one of the best presentations during AWS re:Invent 2020. 💎 For anybody that is either using or planning to use Amazon DynamoDB.
- Deep dive on Global Database for Amazon Aurora by Tobias Ternström.
- Another 400 level talk that I wanted! Great talk, worth watching - I enjoyed it and learned a lot.
- Deep dive on Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL compatibility by Grant McAlister.
- Great talk! Worth watching, and I have learned a lot here.
- Deep Dive on PostgreSQL databases on Amazon RDS by Jim Mlodgenski.
- Great talk! I love it. The amount of details and insights is overwhelming yet still very actionable and easy to grasp.
- Deep Dive on Amazon Aurora with MySQL compatibility by Murali Brahmadesam.
- Great talk! If you are into AWS Databases and database internals definitely a worthwhile one.
AWS Data Analytics
Now it’s time for my another favorite category - anything related to the AWS Data Analytics:
- Building Real-Time Applications using Apache Flink by Steffen Hausmann.
- Great Talk! Highly recommended for anybody interested even remotely in the topics of Apache Flink or Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics.
- AWS re:Invent 2020: Deep dive on best practices for Amazon Redshift by Harshida Patel.
- Great Talk! A lot of useful information, explanation, actionable advice. Finally, a 400-level talk that we all deserved. 😉
- Serverless data preparation with AWS Glue by Mehul A. Shah.
- Great Talk! Excellent insights, especially for me - as confirmation of the observations that I have made during daily work with AWS Glue. I tried to include this in my online course Data Lakes on AWS (which is available in Polish 🇵🇱 only at the moment).
- How FINRA operates PB-scale analytics on data lakes with Amazon Athena by Janak Agarwal and Alain Menguy.
- It’s a good talk - a lot of experience, solid use case, valuable knowledge.
- Gameloft: A zero downtime Data Lake migration deep dive by Frederic Nowak and Alexandru Voinescu.
- It’s a good talk: solid use case, pragmatic approach, very insightful elements about the live migrations.
Since the release of AWS Lambda, every re:Invent conference covers a lot of ground related to the serverless services. The last event was no different, and those are definitely worthwhile:
- Understanding AWS Lambda streaming events by Adam Wagner.
- Great talk! Highly recommended for everybody interested in serverless architecture or streaming workloads.
- Understanding state and application workflows with AWS Step Functions by Rob Sutter.
- Amazing talk! Definitely a 400 level, worth watching - primarily if you work with AWS Step Functions.
- Scaling containers on AWS by Vlad Ionescu.
- Perfect benchmark with exciting results: AWS Fargate rules! 💪
- Scalable serverless event-driven architectures with SNS, SQS & Lambda by Justin Pirtle.
- A must-watch talk for Serverless aficionados!
- Building out a serverless application with Amazon QLDB by Matt Lewis.
- One of the best sessions with a tremendous amount of information, actionable advice, and meat. 🍖
Newly Announced Services
In 2020, AWS announced many services (many of them has SageMaker in the name 😅). Many of those are still in Preview, or they are marked as Coming Soon. Such presentations are the only way to learn more about them. I can recommend those:
- Enable predictive maintenance for your industrial equipment by Kartik Dalal.
- It is about Amazon Monitor. New launch, so definitely worth it - especially if those are your topics of interest. 😉
- Deep dive on AWS Glue Elastic Views by Akshat Vig and Almann Goo.
- New Launch + Preview + AWS Data Analytics: for me, it’s a perfect combination to watch! 😍
- Amazon Lookout for Vision by Barath Balasubramanian, Shreyas Subramanian, and Maikel van Verseveld.
- Another new launch is in Preview so it is the only chance to see it in practice.
- AWS Proton: Automating infrastructure provisioning & code deployments by Rafa Alvarez.
- AWS Proton is one of the hottest announcements, so yeah - it’s worth seeing this talk!
- AWS Fault Injection Simulator: Fully managed chaos engineering service by Adrian Hornsby.
- I think it is a good talk, plus it shows and describes a newly launched preview service in action!
This is a strange category - I have collected everything that does not fit in the categories above, but you can also see that it’s a weird mix, and some topics are not pragmatic. So, viewer discretion is advised 😂:
- What’s new with AWS CloudFormation by Shashank Prasanna.
- Fascinating talk, very informative, and actionable for me, as I need that insight during the daily work with Amazon SageMaker.
- Implementing MLOps practices with Amazon SageMaker by Shelbee Eigenbrode.
- Great talk! Definitely worth attention, and I have learned a ton about practical Amazon SageMaker usage.
- Turbocharge the AWS CDK with AWS Solutions Constructs by Ryan Hayes.
- Great talk! Very practical and actionable, highly recommended - especially for the people interested in AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK).
- AWS CDK: What’s new and what’s next by Jason Fulghum.
- A good one! I really liked it. I have learned a lot about the process, open-source activities, and future plans for AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK).
- Deep dive on AWS Graviton2 processor-powered EC2 instances by Sudhir Raman and Arthur Petitpierre.
- Excellent talk with a deep dive about benefits and real-world examples of how AWS Graviton2 and ARM-based processors can help.
For your convenience, I have collected all playlists in a single place. You can find all talks that I recommend per category listed above, not just the top five that I have presented there.
- Recommended videos about AWS Databases.
- Recommended videos about AWS Data Analytics topics.
- Recommended videos about Serverless.
- Recommended videos about newly announced services.
- Recommended videos from other categories.
Obviously, I have not watched everything. 😅 So if you see a valuable talk that it’s not on my list please share it with me in the comments. I would love to learn what I have missed, add one more video to my pile of shame, and catch up eventually.
And last but not least: if you like what I did, maybe I inspired you, you agree with my recommendations, or you just think that this project is madness or I am a maniac (😂), please share this post in your favorite social media (and remember to tag me -
afronsky are my handles). This will mean a lot to me! 🙇