Who would have thought I’d have two updates in one year from Vegas?

Griffith was overwhelmed

I hate Vegas.

But my business as I’ve known it is ending. I’m wrapping things up officially at the end of this year and it’s time to hunt seriously. The whole tech world is moving to “the cloud” and why shouldn’t I? And with multiple AWS certifications under my belt, why shouldn’t I go hunting at the biggest, baddest AWS contest anywhere?

So, with my loyal traveling mountain lion in tow, off to re:Invent I went.

I’ve been to tech tradeshows before, and I’ve been to Vegas before and I with rare exceptions I don’t much like either. But this one was overwhelming in a way I’ve never experienced before. It’s the week after a holiday, relative low season for Vegas, with something like 50,000 people descending on town for one event. Literally, every other person you passed anywhere was there for this show. It’s like the Borg showed up and assimilated everybody.

And it is really hard to consider it one event. It covers multiple hotels and convention centers, with a slightly different focus to the events and activities in each one. My interests were primarily big data, analytics and some systems architecture issues, so I found myself mostly at the Mirage, but occasionally bouncing over to Aria and the Venetian where most of the big activities took place and the main display hall was located.

Corey, aka @quinnypig, finally met Griffith the Traveling Mountain Lion. Wisely, Griffith hid.

Corey Quinn, who is as responsible for my involvement in AWS as anybody was there, of course, doing his best to skewer everything and everybody without getting himself kicked off the premises. How he manages, I have no idea. I ran into a few others, including a handful of people from my deep past who I haven’t seen in years. Everybody, it seems, is moving to the cloud.

The logistics behind operations like this never cease to amaze me. The “small” event for certified AWS professionals had to accommodate thousands and somehow did. The main “lunch room” which was actually the lower level of the Venetian convention center served up to 20,000 lunches and somehow managed to avoid even having very long lines. Shuttles between the hotels ran smoothly. I walked a lot — there’s no real choice at a conference like this — and where I could I also used monorails and other inter-hotel connectors — but staying were I was at the far end of the strip, the logistics were tough. At least the price for my room in a non-official hotel was reasonable.

I left as soon as I was done with my last seminar on Friday afternoon. The content was great. And I seriously hope I never need to do this again.