Heh, long time had gone after my latest post. Almost half a year.So let’s post something new. This time, I will write about my first ever IT conf outside Baltics. Yes, I had visited 2 Drupalcamp Baltics ( One in Latvia and last year’s event at Tallin).I wanted to visit any conference in Europe. to check out is they better than any our local conferences.As I’m not a Drupal developer, I decided that this time I should attend a conference that is related to my daily job/tasks.In the beginning, that was quite hard to find out which field to choose and search for events. In the end of last year, I spotted some presentations from AWS Summits and saw @AWSSummits tweet.
— AWSonAir (@AWSonAir) January 15, 2016
As I had migrated from Digitalocean to Amazon Web services and taken some courses about best practices and Associate solutions architect exams learning path.Also, I had previous experience using AWS.Looked at previous summits presentations and topics I was interested in attending one of them. That led me to @AWSSummit twitter tweet about locations and dates (AWS Summit locations and dates you can find here). FYI, Closest event to Baltics are Stockholm and then Germany, Netherlands, UK , I think France and others are too far to call them closest.As it was beginning of January and closest event is on April 12, I had time to think which location will be the best.Finally, I decided to fill registration form for AWS Summit Netherlands. Because I will take a plane to the event, not a car ( too expensive for one person) and as you know as earlier you buy your tickets as cheaper they are. Only Airbaltic offers direct flights to Amsterdam, all other options like flying to Oslo and then to Amsterdam, but a price was higher than Air Baltics direct flight. I was also registered for Stockholm event as a backup location but bought tickets to Netherlands. Later, I was a little bit worried about it because topics at Stockholm summit was more suitable for startups and small/growing websites like this one, but Netherlands was also good.
AWS Summit itself
An Event itself was a one-day event.Ok, there was the hackathon on next day. There were four parallel tracks AWS Services & Demo Track,Enterprise & Security Track,Big Data & Analytics Track,Partner Solutions Track. For myself, as must see I selected first and last tracks. And must see presentations was about AWS Lambda,Workmail ( Nice alternative for Google Apps) from a first track. Meanwhile, there was Partners solutions expo where you can get the latest info about their products/services or small demo.My favourite was Datadog monitoring service. But on expo ,you can find many well-known companies like Github, Rackspace, Palo alto networks (these guys were actually the funniest in the whole expo, because they know that in next five years definitely I will not be their client, but they offered small description and small demo about their service, which I think is nice that if I have interest they will give some little description ), Trend micro, Cloudreach and many others. From amazon Web Services there were two things. AWS Startup booth and Experts booth. In one, you can ask anything related to AWS usage,certification and how to start to use one or other service and second was AWS startup pitch.I visited both of them. For Startup booth, I took questionnaire form, which was given at arrival with my badge. Which I filled and for that I got 50USd AWS credits. Thank you Amazon 🙂 On AWS experts boot I had some questions to their solutions architect to ask and maybe find out what I’m doing wrong. But my idea was 90% the same that he was told be to do.On other both.
On other both got little surprised about how open for talk they was. Like, Rackspace , I passed by to check what they offer and they immediately started to chat. It makes me think that anyone who wanted to get some info about any AWS Summit partners services got it. With some folks that offer AWS management service, I had a nice conversation about what skills in their opinion are must have for their daily job.There was also some competitions and prize raffles too. Rackspace offered to Apple watch, With Trend micro and partner offered flight lessons, Datadog provided an option to register and with beats by DRE headphones. But most exciting was the competition where the winner gets 3 days fully paid AWS learning courses. I took part in this competition ,but my goal was to see how low or high my knowledge about Amazon is compared to other visitors.I don’t know is everyone completed 30 question quiz serious but in the end, I was 17th from almost 70 participants.
My opinion about venue
As it was my first European IT conference I can’t compare to any other event, but this wasn’t my last event. I would like to advise anyone to went for events like this. Maybe you are PHP backend developer then go to one of many PHP confs in EU. Frontend devs can go to JS confs or any other event.
What was a difference from an event that I had visited, First, the badges ? In other confs on arrival you get badge with your name printed on it,but here on your arrival will print a sticker with your name , company you work for ( for me it was self-employed) and barcode on it, When you visit any presentation/ speech or chatted about any service with partners they will ask you to scan your badge. That was awesome because wasn’t needed to type or spell my email to them, they scan my badges barcode and got my email ( Week after the event I started to receive emails related to my visits and interests). Maybe these solutions were implemented due visitor count , but it was perfect.Also the topics. I listened/watched few of them, but if I were watched as much I can and wanted ( some presentations that I wanted to see where parallel) .AWS Summit Netherlands definitely was worth to visit. for those who like to know how big was costs to visit it.A plane + hotel was 300 Eur, As my hotel was located in Utrecht and event were held to in alongside city there will be some public transport costs too, but as in Schiphol train station, I decided to rent a car. The railway station was confusing me and my return flight was early in a morning, also last year when we visited Netherlands, some dutch people told as that sometimes in the morning there are some traffic jams. I decided to not take the risk and rent a car and get to the airport a little bit faster than I was thinking and don’t miss my plane. So let’s say costs were 350 Eur, but I got 50USD AWS credits, awesome spent day with awesome people at AWS Summit and 500 euro discount for one day AWS course.