AWS re:Invent public cloud conference praise and snark from Twitter

Packed hallways and technical sessions didn't dampen attendees' glowing tweets about AWS re:Invent 2012 cloud conference in Las Vegas.

IT pros packed the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas last week, frantically thumbing their smartphones to comment across social media about the premier AWS re:Invent conference. The response to the cloud king's conference was overwhelmingly positive, with attendees even gushing about how orderly the packed hallways were, despite standing-room-only sessions.

Whether in awe of a rocket scientist's reenactment of Seven Minutes of Terror or inspired by a CEO's background, the buzz on Twitter seemed to confirm the prominence of Amazon Web Services' user conference -- once again placing the public cloud provider on top of other vendors.

@digitallogic: Did JPL hire Michael Bay to produce their #reinvent keynote?

All that was missing from senior vice president Andy Jassy's keynote speech, which featured a riveting recount of the Mars Curiosity rover landing by Khawaja Shams, manager of data services at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), was a car that turned into a robot that could save the world. Many attendees noted the loud music and lightshow of the flashy keynote event, but even more noted the scene-stealing dramatic performance of Shams, who Jassy introduced as a "rocket scientist." NASA used AWS cloud for its rover landing, and Shams described in nail-biting detail those seven minutes of terror in August -- a reenactment befitting a blockbuster hit, according to many.

@r_adams: AWS guy told me internal codename for DynamoDB was apparently "Big Bird" & for Redshift it was "Cookie Monster". I sense a theme. #reinvent

If AWS's codenames for its products aren't enough of an indication, maybe the board games and air hockey tables at the re:Invent party clue you in to how young and playful AWS's developers are -- and the same spirit was upheld throughout the conference. From the glow sticks to the indie music leading into the conference sessions, people were talking about how AWS aimed to be the more fun, hipper conference on the scene, attracting young IT talent and social media buzz.

@kylehilgendorf: Jassy is exaggerating public vs internal/private cloud. Many clients are seeing benefits of internal/private cloud too. #reinvent

If there was one complaint about the AWS re:Invent keynote -- and one was hard to find -- it was that Andy Jassy knocked private cloud. More than one attendee spoke out against the private cloud hate at the cloud conference, noting that AWS itself has embraced a hybrid cloud model. And with a section of enterprise IT still hesitant about putting all faith in public cloud, hybrid cloud does stand out as a viable path moving forward.

@jorke: Excuse my ignorance of the US electoral system, but did he say #aws is responsible for Obama winning? #reinvent

AWS public cloud is not all about landing space rovers and "pinning" holiday recipes, it's also taking credit for Barack Obama's reelection this November -- at least partially. The Obama for America team's session followed up on Jassy's claim that AWS cloud was crucial for Obama on Election Day, hosting call centers and voter analytics data for the president's team.

@courtneynash: Biggest #aws #reinvent theme by far: expect failure. The deadlines don't move in an election, so Code for Obama team ran game day scenarios.

If one theme ran through the re:Invent conference, it wasn't just to expect failure, but that failure was a positive. "You need to fail more often and fail with a smile," said one of the Obama for America tech team members. Jassy also noted in his keynote that failure drives innovation and experimentation. Is AWS just trying to shroud its own outages and slip-ups with a positive spin?

@SethS: I skateboard as a hobby. Jeff Bezos is building a clock inside of a mountain to last 10k years as a hobby. #reinvent

Almost in unison, those tweeting from re:Invent praised's CEO Jeff Bezos' endlessly quotable, inspiring fireside chat with Werner Vogels, chief technical officer and vice president of Whether he was telling IT pros to follow their passions and not the latest wave in IT or discussing his own personal hobbies, Bezos inspired a litany quotes across Twitter, almost all without commentary needed.

Caitlin White is associate site editor for Contact her at [email protected]

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