AWS Community Day DACH 2023 Recap

September 21, 2023

From Hamburg to Munich, the superluminar team was on the road again 🚀☁️

Photo of the superluminar team

This time, we visited the AWS Community Day DACH in Munich and joined more than 600 cloud enthusiast alike. It was not only an event for the German-speaking community. Professionals from all over Europe and even some from the US visited Munich.

The event took place on 14th September 2023 and was organized by the Förderverein AWS Community DACH. In addition to the AWS Summits, the AWS Community Days are community focussed and aim for a more casual networking and knowledge exchange event. superluminar proudly sponsored the Community Day as silver sponsor - including a conference booth.

Photo of the superluminar team

Since we are fully remote at superluminar and not all colleagues working nearby in Hamburg, the AWS Community Day was the perfect opportunity to get together again and join other Cloud Community members! In this post, we want to share our experience at the event and takeaways we took home after attending some of the 28 sessions.

Our Booth: A Team Effort

Having a booth is a good entry point for starting the conversation with other cloud enthusiasts, possible new colleagues or new leads and projects. Nonetheless, we didn’t want to disregard the experience attending a community conference: It’s fun and a good opportunity to socialize with other professionals. So, we wanted to make our booth-experience fun, as well. We decided on an “Ask us Anything” panel with suggested topics like #diversity #quereinstieg or #remotework as a low-level entry point to start the conversation with our team.

Photo of the superluminar booth

At our booth, there wasn’t any special merchandise - besides stickers. We wanted to do something sustainable and decided for “Your Merch - Our Donation”. This means, that visitors of our booth could opt for a donation by throw donation chips in our donation box. The concept made a positive impression. We are happy to announce a donation of 150 EUR each to both Tiertafel Hamburg and Hackerschool.

Thanks to all the good conversation we had at our booth. And thanks to the superluminar teammates Jakob, Kristina, Anne, Robert, Geri, Rebecca and Nora, who made this awesome experience possible. 🎉

Our Expert Talk

Banner of the talk

Our consultant Nora Schöner, who is also a AWS Community Builder, gave talk about “Building Efficient Infrastructure: AWS CDK vs Terraform”. She described her experience switching from Terraform to CDK. Due to the different concepts of both tools (declarative vs. imperative approach), it’s not only a question of deciding for the tool itself, but about which challenges you want to solve. She got great feedback and question afterwards. Thanks alot, Nora, for sharing your experience on Infrastructure as Code 🙌🏻

Photo of the Nora presenting

If you want to get a good overview which Infrastructure as Code tools are available, you can read about in a recent blogpost by our consultant Anne - “Code Your Cloud”.

Talks, that interested us

🎤️ Clear Skies: Avoiding Security Breaches in AWS by Nick Jones

Gerald attended Nick Jones' talk. Nick presented the very important topic with a lot of humour.

Some things we took with us:

  • Security incidents in the cloud can be costly for companies, sometimes even leading to the complete destruction of companies in the worst cases.
  • Most companies get “screwed by the basics” like public S3 buckets, forgotten accounts, leaked credentials and miss configured IAM Credentials.
  • Over a third of the security breaches are correlated to AWS access keys & credentials.
  • There is a repository listing security events which happened to customers in the past and how they happened
  • When collaborate with pen-testers, give them context and tell them about “already known issues”, it will help them to help you
  • Plan for security into your development lifecycle - if it’s public, it might be too late.
  • Prevent the low hanging fruits for more secure systems, like long-lived credentials and IAM Users or public S3 buckets
  • Do not store credentials in plain text, use Parameter Store or Secrets Manager
  • Apply the least privilege principle for roles and policies
  • Follow the Well-Architected security pillar

Tools that can help you:

I really enjoyed the talk, kudos to Nick for that! (Gerald)

🎤️ Serverless Data Streaming with Amazon Kinesis and AWS Lambda by Anahit Pogosova

Photo of the Anahit presenting

Kristina, Nora and Rebecca attended Anahit’s talk.

Things we took with us:

  • Kinesis on demand mode does not scale truly dynamically
  • Partial failures need to be accounted for.
  • Handle the error FailedRecordCount > 0 and log it, because PutRecords can show success even if all the records have failed to write to the stream.
  • When reading from Kinesis, ensure partial successes are recognised due to how Lambda Eventsource Mapping works

“Know how your services fail and how to handle it.” This was a strong message at the end of Anahit’s talk. We often overlook such details, but they get crucial in case of errors. And systems fail all the time. (Nora)

🎤️ The Keynotes

Two highlights of this day were definitely the opening keynote by Gregor Hohpe “Do modern cloud apps lock you in?” and the closing keynote by Farrah Cambell “The Power of Community: Why Building Strong Connections Matter”. Gregor mentioned different aspects of building applications, which is truly valuable when building in the cloud, like:

  • Don’t try to solve application problems with infrastructure.
  • Managed services can offer alot. Things you might not have thought about in the first place (e.g. Event Bridge)
  • Mapping different comparable services can be insidious, because you might miss the nuances of the respective cloud services.

Farrah closed the event with important lessons about the tech community and why it is important to devote time for it. Some things which we took home:

  • A community-centered mindset is key. It shifts the focus from “me” to “we”.
  • Soft skills like having empathy, living transparency or empower collaboration are not a community thing only - it helps us in our day-to-day job.
  • It should always be a “giving without expecting return”-mindset. Your time and newly made connections will pay of over time.

Photo of closing keynote

Thanks again to the amazing support team of Förderverein AWS Community DACH who made the Community Day possible. As a sponsor of the event, we really appreciated the good atmosphere.

We loved it and hope to see you again next year. 👋🏻

photo of Nora

Nora is a Senior Cloud Consultant at superluminar and AWS Community Builder. She writes here mainly about DevOps, Infrastructure as Code und Observability. You can find Nora on Twitter and Instagram. She organises several events for the #WomenInTech Community.