Last week, the first AWS Community Day was held in San Francisco. Unlike most conferences that are sponsored by vendors, this free event was organized by AWS community leaders and heroes throughout the west coast.
The event had great reach - it attracted several hundred attendees from companies of all sizes. While a majority of the attendees were from the Bay Area, the event also boasted attendees from regions such as Southern California, Las Vegas, and Oregon. The event provided opportunities for attendees to network and hear from users that are solving real issues using the platform.
The content was curated and presented by AWS experts and leaders within the community. As John Varghese, organizer of the Amazon Web Services - Bay Area meetup, mentioned during the kickoff talk, AWS meetups are not only meant for users who are beginning their AWS journey, but also for advanced users to share and solve complex problems together. The eight sessions were broken in two tracks and were programmed to provide value for a wide audience with varying levels of expertise and interests. AWS supported the event by arranging for the conference space and other amenities, but did not control the discussion.
Several members of the RedLock team had the opportunity to attend the event and we walked away with three key takeaways.
Users are leveraging the platform in more creative ways than AWS could have ever predicted. Learning from users who have worked on projects using AWS technologies provides relevant insights to users who may be experiencing obstacles or who are working on similar projects. Community-led events such as this one are incredibly valuable and community leaders are exploring ways to organize more of such events.
Despite the recent AWS related breaches (Deep Root Analytics / voter records, Booz Allen Hamilton, OneLogin), the community still appeared bullish about adopting public cloud infrastructure. AdRoll has been using AWS for almost 10 years now and processes a whopping 4 trillion data points per day. Valentino Volonghi, CTO of AdRoll, shared his learnings from managing infrastructure across 5 AWS regions while ensuring security and compliance - clearly a non-trivial task. Discussions throughout the day with companies of all sizes reaffirmed the fact that AdRoll is not alone in its conviction of public cloud computing.
There is growing awareness of the shared responsibility model and the need for companies to do more to meet their obligations. Teri Radichel, Director of Security Strategy at WatchGuard, shared some tips on securing complex networks on AWS. She advised on best practices for configuring security groups, user access, patterns to monitor in VPC logs, and more. Teri also suggested automating security - this is actually not surprising given the volume of resources in cloud computing environments and the velocity of change. In fact, research from the RedLock Cloud Security Intelligence (CSI) team revealed that the average lifespan of a resource is only 127 minutes.
Community-led events are gaining popularity with AWS’s global user base and community days such as this one are incredibly valuable. Leaders in these communities are finding ways to share practical insights and best practices for popular AWS services. We look forward to keeping a pulse on the discussions and sharing our learnings with you.