AWS re:Invent 2020 — Serverless Sessions to Watch

Source: AWS

AWS re:Invent 2020 is coming to us this time. With hundreds of sessions and talks to attend, choosing the right ones can be a challenge!

Here, I am adding here a list of sessions that I identified that I thought would benefit a serverless engineer. Not all sessions are on serverless. I have reasons why I have included non serverless sessions as well. You will understand as you read through the short description I have added for each.

You can see my complete list under the AWS Hero’s pick in Cloud Pegboard’s AWS re:Invent 2020 agenda. Use Cloud Pegboard for further details on each of these sessions.

There is a section at the end where I have added links to more resources to make this an awesome re:Invent for you!

Tuesday 01–12–2020

No more idling: Creating parallel builds using serverless CI

Dec 1, 5:00 AM to 5:20 AM (GMT)

Very useful and technical Dev Chat session for the serverless teams. This is expected to be a techie session that developers love.

15 things I wish I knew about securing my AWS account

Dec 1, 5:00 AM to 5:20 AM (GMT)

Along side the serverless sessions, I also prefer highlighting the security tracks. Irrespective of the type of applications we develop, it is absolute must that we understand the security aspects of AWS. Hence it is in my watch list.

Andy Jassy Keynote

Live from Seattle, Andy Jassy takes the stage to share his insights and the latest news about AWS customers, products, and services.

How accelerates innovation with serverless

I can be biased here as it is a session by Danilo Poccia and myself. The focus is mainly on how serverless as a technology enables to deliver solutions faster.

Application integration patterns for microservices

This appears to be a pre cursor to the serverless and event-driven talks later. Understanding the loosely coupled microservices communication pattern is important for developing serverless applications.

Wednesday 02–12–2020

Getting started building your first serverless web application

Make a perfect start to your serverless journey with this session. If you are thinking of serverless and starting new, then this is a highly recommended session.

Amazon’s culture of innovation

Learn how Amazon innovates, organized around four interdependent elements: culture, mechanisms, architecture, and organization.

I like to mix technical sessions with team development insights as well.

Building event-driven applications with Amazon EventBridge

Title says it all. You can’t isolate EventBridge from event-driven serverless applications. Never miss a session on EventBridge this re:Invent!

Data modeling with Amazon DynamoDB — Part 1

Those who have read Alex DeBrie’s The DynamoDB Book will know the clarify with which Alex explains the concepts of DynamoDB.

Alex’s two talks and then Rick Houlihan’s deep dive sessions should complete your DynamoDB watch list.

Getting started with AWS Step Functions for service orchestration

AWS Step Functions is growing rapidly with its feature list and also with its industry adoption. The use cases for Step Functions are increasing. There has been a exciting latest announcement of synchronous express Step Functions. If you are into serverless, then this must be in your list.

Thursday 03–12–2020

Monolith to serverless SaaS: Migrating to multi-tenant architecture

Serverless migration stories are always informative. New challenges, new patterns, new approaches and new technical possibilities that make us learn new things to enrich our own serverless applications.

Analyzing data at any scale with AWS Lambda

Complementing every serverless data streaming architecture is the analysis part. This session reviews options and techniques to optimize your data analytics platform without managing a server.

Data modeling with Amazon DynamoDB — Part 2

Second part of Alex DeBrie’s DynamoDB talk. This will serve as the perfect start to your DynamoDB experience and will lead you to get ready for Rick Houlihan’s deep dive talks later.

Is your serverless application well-architected?

A session to find answers to, When do I use serverless? Is serverless a good fit for my organization? Which serverless services should I use? What are the operational best practices for serverless?

Security best practices the AWS Well-Architected way

A deep technical session on security which is necessary for every engineer to understand. There are patterns, challenges, service limits and other tips shared in this session makes it a must watch.

Tuesday 08–12–2020

Machine Learning Keynote

First-ever Machine Learning Keynote, live at re:Invent. I am always curious to know what’s happening in ML but don’t have much insight. Hence looking forward to kick-start my understanding of this area and to find out the industry adoption. After pre-show, keynote starts at 4PM (GMT).

AWS security: Where we’ve been, where we’re going

Security is the core of any service we build. Hence the significance of attending this leadership session that is dedicated to security. Steve Schmidt will go through latest updates, new security services and importantly the “ten areas your security group should focus on”.

Enabling a serverless-first Cloud Center of Excellence

Any enterprise wanting to adopt serverless must watch this session from Liberty Mutual. I personally am aware of the great serverless work they are doing with a serverless-first approach and a serverless-first mindset.

Scalable serverless event-driven architectures with SNS, SQS & Lambda

A session on event-driven serverless architectures. Learn the principles for building event-driven architectures with considerations for delivery and ordering guarantees, event consumption models, and infrastructure cost.

Wednesday 09–12–2020

AXA: Rearchitecting with serverless to accelerate innovation

Dec 9, 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM (GMT)

I like listening to real serverless use cases and learning from them. This talk dives into migrating from VMs onto serverless using lambda, databases and streaming services in the new architecture.

Repeat: Dec 10, 12:00 AM — 12:30 AM GMT | Dec 10, 8:00 AM — 8:30 AM GMT

Building revolutionary applications the serverless way

Dec 9, 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM (GMT)

Very much looking forward to this session by Ajay Nair, GM of AWS Lambda. Ajay will guide you through what’s next for serverless at AWS. Learn about the future of serverless applications and what AWS is building to make it a reality.

Repeat: Dec 10, 3:00 AM — 3:30 AM GMT | Dec 10, 11:00 AM — 11:30 AM GMT

Power modern serverless applications with GraphQL and AWS AppSync

Dec 9, 8:00 PM to 8:30 PM (GMT)

Most modern application use GraphQL in some shape or form. AWS AppSync lets you create scalable GraphQL APIs to securely access and combine data from multiple sources. This session teaches how to use these efficiently for building resilient and scalable backend applications.

Repeat: Dec 10, 4:00 AM — 4:30 AM GMT | Dec 10, 12:00 PM — 12:30 PM GMT

AWS CDK: What’s new and what’s next

Dec 9, 10:15 PM to 10:45 PM (GMT)

AWS CDK is gaining momentum and support everyday. This session looks at the most interesting changes from the past year and what’s next for AWS CDK in 2021.

Repeat: Dec 10, 6:15 AM — 6:45 AM GMT | Dec 10, 2:15 PM — 2:45 PM GMT

Thursday 10–12–2020

Understanding AWS Lambda streaming events

Dec 10, 3:15 PM to 3:45 PM (GMT)

As I echoed elsewhere, data streaming in serverless is a crucial part of the architecture. High volume data streams can can pose few challenges. This session talks about how the scaling enables to build optimized streaming applications.

Repeat: Dec 10, 11:15 PM — 11:45 PM GMT | Dec 11, 7:15 AM — 7:45 AM GMT

Best practices for securing your serverless applications

Dec 10, 5:15 PM to 5:45 PM (GMT)

This is more like a ‘principle of least privilege demystified’ session. Serverless and security go hand in hand. Hence in my watch list.

Repeat: Dec 11, 1:15 AM — 1:45 AM GMT | Dec 11, 9:15 AM — 9:45 AM GMT

Choosing the right load balancer for serverless applications

Dec 10, 6:45 PM to 7:15 PM (GMT)

Not many serverless engineers know about elastic load balancing. I’ve chosen this session for the same reason. There are several uses where the use of load balancers bring benefits to a serverless architecture.

Repeat: Dec 11, 2:45 AM — 3:15 AM GMT | Dec 11, 10:45 AM — 11:15 AM GMT

What’s new with AWS CloudFormation

Dec 10, 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM (GMT)

If you are deploying services on AWS, then you are directly or indirectly interacting with CloudFormation. Hence I always stress, no matter what you use for IaC, keep yourself updated with CloudFormation.

Repeat: Dec 11, 3:00 AM — 3:30 AM GMT | Dec 11, 11:00 AM — 11:30 AM GMT

Two-pizza teams: Organizing for innovation

Dec 10, 10:00 PM to 10:30 PM (GMT)

Even though most of us focus on core technologies, it is equally important to understand the organizational setup that influences team culture resulting in best customer service.

Repeat: Dec 11, 6:00 AM — 6:30 AM GMT | Dec 11, 2:00 PM — 2:30 PM GMT

400 years of serverless land deeds

Dec 10, 10:30 PM to 11:00 PM (GMT)

This session brings a different use case to show us the importance of public data protection, data archival and retrieval. S3 is heavily used here along with lambda functions, Cognito and variety of other services.

Repeat: Dec 11, 6:30 AM — 7:00 AM GMT | Dec 11, 2:30 PM — 3:00 PM GMT

Tuesday 15–12–2020

Werner Vogels Keynote

Dec 15, 3:10 PM to 5:30 PM (GMT)

Don’t miss Werner’s keynote. I am sure many technology trends and Well-Architected principles will be part of his keynote. Personally, I am expecting services and tooling to build resilient serverless applications is going to be the highlight.

Repeat: Dec 16, 12:00 AM — 1:30 AM GMT | Dec 16, 8:00 AM — 9:30 AM GMT

Amazon DynamoDB advanced design patterns — Part 1

Dec 15, 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM (GMT)

Probably the most advanced DynamoDB sessions of re:Invent. Rick Houlihan presents a two parts session. In this first part, Rick focuses on sharding, index overloading, distributed locks and more.

If you are new to DynamoDB and watched Alex DeBrie’s sessions on DynamoDB, then continue with Rick’s sessions to elevate you to an advanced level.

Repeat: Dec 16, 2:30 AM — 3:00 AM GMT | Dec 16, 10:30 AM — 11:00 AM GMT

CI/CD for serverless applications, now with container image support

Dec 15, 7:15 PM to 7:45 PM (GMT)

Performing CI/CD in a serverless world has been challenging for everyone. This session’s focus is mainly on the AWS CodeStar services. Even if you use different tools, watch this session by Marcia of FooBar Serverless to get ideas on building pipelines that will become useful in your development work.

Repeat: Dec 16, 3:15 AM — 3:45 AM GMT | Dec 16, 11:15 AM — 11:45 AM GMT

Wednesday 16–12–2020

Managing the serverless challenge: Running big data on AWS Lambda

Dec 16, 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM (GMT)

Data plays a big part in modern applications. There have been many new use cases that use serverless data pipelines for speed and cost efficiency. Hence my pick to learn new tips and patterns from this talk.

Repeat: Dec 17, 12:00 AM — 12:30 AM GMT | Dec 17, 8:00 AM — 8:30 AM GMT

Amazon DynamoDB advanced design patterns — Part 2

Dec 16, 5:45 PM to 6:15 PM (GMT)

A must watch session. In this second part of the advanced design patterns for DynamoDB series, AWS Principal Technologist Rick Houlihan reviews more common patterns for this highly scalable NoSQL database service.

Repeat: Dec 17, 1:45 AM — 2:15 AM GMT | Dec 17, 9:45 AM — 10:15 AM GMT

AWS Lambda — Part 1: Optimizing your serverless applications

Dec 16, 6:15 PM to 6:45 PM (GMT)

In the first of this two-part series, you learn what you can do to optimize your serverless applications built with AWS Lambda. Sessions like this help engineers develop compute optimized and cost effective serverless applications.

Repeat: Dec 17, 2:15 AM — 2:45 AM GMT | Dec 17, 10:15 AM — 10:45 AM GMT

Increasing innovation with serverless applications

Dec 16, 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM (GMT)

I am expecting this to be a very informative leadership session for the serverless enthusiasts. David Richardson, VP of Serverless will talk about how serverless is reshaping the industry and the many benefits of the serverless programming model.

Repeat: Dec 17, 2:30 AM — 3:30 AM GMT | Dec 17, 10:30 AM — 11:30 AM GMT

Using AWS WAF and AWS Secrets Manager to enforce Amazon CloudFront origins

Dec 16, 7:15 PM to 7:45 PM (GMT)

I picked this session because it is important for every engineer to understand how the services such as CloudFront and WAF play their part in protecting the serverless and non-serverless applications on AWS.

Repeat: Dec 17, 3:15 AM — 3:45 AM GMT | Dec 17, 11:15 AM — 11:45 AM GMT

Becoming proficient with serverless application observability

Dec 16, 8:00 PM to 8:30 PM (GMT)

Essential part of the serverless application development, this session takes you through the monitoring, logging and tracing aspects of a serverless application.

Repeat: Dec 17, 4:00 AM — 4:30 AM GMT | Dec 17, 12:00 PM — 12:30 PM GMT

Amazon API Gateway HTTP APIs: Beyond the proxy

Dec 16, 10:45 PM to 11:15 PM (GMT)

As important API Gateway session that goes beyond the basics. With the new flavor of HTTP APIs, it touches upon functionless (codeless) integration, API authorizers and other features to build secure and efficient APIs.

Repeat: Dec 17, 6:45 AM — 7:15 AM GMT | Dec 17, 2:45 PM — 3:15 PM GMT

Thursday 17–12–2020

Decoupling serverless workloads with Amazon EventBridge

Dec 17, 4:15 PM to 4:45 PM (GMT)

Expecting to be a great session that stresses on the importance of event-driven microservices development. As someone who talk and write about Amazon EventBridge, this is one of my favorite sessions.

Repeat: Dec 18, 12:15 AM — 12:45 AM GMT | Dec 18, 8:15 AM — 8:45 AM GMT

AWS Lambda — Part 2: Optimizing your Lambda function performance

Dec 17, 6:15 PM to 6:45 PM (GMT)

Second part of the lambda optimization talk that focuses on fast startup and fast execution of the lambda functions.

Repeat: Dec 18, 2:15 AM — 2:45 AM GMT | Dec 18, 10:15 AM — 10:45 AM GMT

Top 5 best practices for data streaming with Amazon Kinesis

Dec 17, 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM (GMT)

As data continues to drive business insights, the power of Kinesis family of services play an important role. Hence I always like to give equal importance to the data streaming services as I do for the compute.

Repeat: Dec 18, 3:00 AM — 3:30 AM GMT | Dec 18, 11:00 AM — 11:30 AM GMT

Deep dive into AWS Lambda security: Function isolation

This session goes under the covers to explain the lambda security model and the multiple layers of protection. It can be beneficial to enrich your knowledge of developing and deploying lambda functions.

Adrian Cockcroft’s architecture trends and topics for 2021

Adrian will take you through a few of the future trends in serverless. From serverless-first mindset to resiliency and more. Adrian’s sessions are always insightful and informative!

Best practices for security governance in serverless applications

As your serverless team grows with more engineers and more applications, how do you catch potential security risks and misconfigurations. This talk is aimed at the security policies and the best practices that would help you to achieve that.

Engineer. Architect. Leader. Writer. Speaker. At The LEGO Group. AWS Serverless Hero.

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