AWS Storage Blog

AWS Hero guide to AWS Storage at re:Invent 2020-2021

Based on the number of AWS sweatshirts hanging in my closet, re:Invent 2020-2021 rings in a memorable fourth re:Invent I have been fortunate to witness. In the past, re:Invent was in person, this year it’s online, but regardless, I am thrilled to be attending as an AWS Community Hero for the second consecutive year. While I know that being in Las Vegas adds to the re:Invent experience, I’m excited that Amazon has been able to move the conference online. Best of all, it is free to attend! I’m expecting re:Invent 2020-2021 to set the gold standard for how to hold a virtual conference.

This year’s session catalog has been streamlined, making it easier to choose the content we want to watch. As you browse through the available sessions, notice that things like chalk talks, which rely entirely on participant interaction, have been skipped for this year. With an expected quarter million people participating, I think this was a good decision. Considering the online format for this year’s conference wasn’t announced until August, I appreciate that AWS is focusing on content delivery formats that have proven successful in years past.

If you’re a storage enthusiast like me, looking to get the most out of this year’s conference, here are several of the sessions you should consider watching:


At the top of my list are the keynote sessions. These sessions are where the new product announcements are made and set the tone for what to expect out of the conference. Andy Jassy takes the stage on Tuesday, December 1, Doug Yeum on December 3, Swami Sivasubramanian on December 8, Peter DeSantis on December 10, and Werner Vogels on December 15. There’s no re:Play party this year, so I wonder what mystery Werner’s shirt is going to help decipher?


You can check out a full list of sessions in the sessions catalog.

  • Innovate faster with applications on AWS storage

DEC 1, 2020 | 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM EST
DEC 1, 2020 | 11:30 PM – 12:30 AM EST
DEC 2, 2020 | 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM EST

This is a leadership session that I’d highly recommend attending regardless of your technical background. No doubt Amazon will show off some great customer success stories, and it’s always a good idea to understand how those customers got the most out of the services they consumed!

  • Upgrading your productivity with the AWS CLI version 2

DEC 16, 2020 | 10:15 AM – 10:45 AM EST
DEC 16, 2020 | 6:15 PM – 6:45 PM EST
DEC 17, 2020 | 2:15 AM – 2:45 AM EST

This was the last session I attended at my first re:Invent back in 2017, and was by far one of the best sessions of the conference. Since then, it’s been at the top of my session list every year. If you like working from the AWS CLI, or leverage any of the API and BOTO3 capabilities when automating cloud deployments and workflows, make sure that you don’t miss this session.

  • What’s new with Amazon S3

The Amazon S3 service is an extremely powerful data storage and management platform. I always carve out time to get the update on everything that’s evolved with S3.

  • Modernize your on-premises backup strategy with AWS

DEC 2, 2020 | 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST
DEC 2, 2020 | 10:00 PM – 10:30 PM EST
DEC 3, 2020 | 6:00 AM – 6:30 AM EST

The dynamic scalability of cloud storage is far superior to the buy-before-you-need-it approach that has been present in data centers for decades. Learning how to integrate cloud services with on-premises backups is going to replace legacy approaches to system design and capacity management. This session will help you get started down that path!

  • Move to managed file storage with Amazon FSx for Windows File Server

DEC 3, 2020 | 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM EST
DEC 4, 2020 | 1:30 AM – 2:00 AM EST
DEC 4, 2020 | 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM EST

I was a beta tester for the original Amazon FSx for Windows File Server release, and the platform has matured a lot since those early days. It’s grown up so much, in fact, that it is front-and-center in my storage strategy. I expect it to replace my physical data center NAS environment as the hardware reaches the end of its useful life. I’m looking to this session to validate that my knowledge of the platform and my migration plans are sound.

  • Data protection and compliance for cloud workloads with AWS Backup

DEC 3, 2020 | 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST
DEC 4, 2020 | 12:00 AM – 12:30 AM EST
DEC 4, 2020 | 8:00 AM – 8:30 AM EST

AWS Backup is another service that has really grown in features and capabilities over the last year. This is a service I’ve been keeping my eye on, as I expect it to eventually replace the home-grown Lambda functions and scripts that folks run to automate their cloud data protection. I’m expecting this session to give me the latest updates to the service.

  • What’s new with Amazon EBS

DEC 8, 2020 | 10:15 AM – 10:45 AM EST
DEC 8, 2020 | 6:15 PM – 6:30 PM EST
DEC 9, 2020 | 2:15 AM – 2:30 AM EST

With all the performance enhancements released over the last year, I’m going to be watching this session to make sure I’m doing the best I can to balance performance, capacity, and cost.

  • What’s new with Amazon EFS

DEC 8, 2020 | 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM EST
DEC 8, 2020 | 10:30 PM – 11:00 PM EST
DEC 9, 2020 | 6:30 AM – 7:00 AM EST

While Amazon EFS is not a service I’ve used extensively, the new integrations with Amazon ECS, in addition to the performance tiers now available, make this an attractive choice for some non-Windows-based workloads I’m building in the cloud. Time to learn what’s new!

  • Edge computing innovation with AWS Snowcone and AWS Snowball Edge

DEC 10, 2020 | 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM EST
DEC 10, 2020 | 10:30 PM – 11:00 PM EST
DEC 11, 2020 | 6:30 AM – 7:00 AM EST

Despite most of my cloud migration work being already done, I still like to stay on top of the AWS Snow Family. You never know when a new capability in these products might line up with an emerging need!

  • High-performance backup and restore for data on Amazon EBS

DEC 10, 2020 | 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM EST
DEC 11, 2020 | 1:00 AM – 1:30 AM EST
DEC 11, 2020 | 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM EST

I work a lot with Amazon EBS snapshots already, but I’m planning to attend this session to learn if there are new features and capabilities that I can use to improve my ongoing work.

  • Architecting for high availability on Amazon S3

DEC 15, 2020 | 3:15 PM – 3:45 PM EST
DEC 15, 2020 | 11:15 PM – 11:45 PM EST
DEC 16, 2020 | 7:15 AM – 7:45 AM EST

As applications evolve to become more cloud-native, making the shift to object-based storage on Amazon S3 makes good sense. I’m attending this session to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to line up all the S3 capabilities for the best availability possible.

  • Lessons from the vanguard: Build modern apps using Amazon S3 or Amazon EBS

DEC 16, 2020 | 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST
DEC 16, 2020 | 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM EST
DEC 17, 2020 | 3:00 AM – 3:30 AM EST

The evolution of an application often has “transform to serverless” as a major milestone. In this session, I’m looking to understand how Amazon S3 and Amazon EBS fit into the serverless application landscape.

  • Deep dive on Amazon FSx for Windows File Server

DEC 16, 2020 | 3:30 PM – 4:00 PM EST
DEC 16, 2020 | 11:30 PM – 12:00 AM EST
DEC 17, 2020 | 7:30 AM – 8:00 AM EST

I’m looking to this session for further validation that my plans for leveraging Amazon FSx for Windows File Server fit with the intended use cases. It is always nice to have reassurance that my plans won’t hit any snags when it comes time to migrate my data into Amazon FSx.

  • Modernize your applications with containers using Amazon EFS

DEC 17, 2020 | 12:45 PM – 1:15 PM EST
DEC 17, 2020 | 8:45 PM – 9:15 PM EST
DEC 18, 2020 | 4:45 AM – 5:15 AM EST

My team has gone all-in on containerization of our backend data processing workloads. With new Amazon EFS integrations, I’m expecting there are efficient and resilient methods of running containerized stateful applications. This is where I’m going to learn the latest.

Wrap up

There are also several Developer Chat and Lightning Talk sessions, many of which fellow AWS Heroes are the presenters for, scattered throughout the week. I highly recommend a spin through this section of the catalog to find content relevant to your interests!

One thing that makes re:Invent so memorable is all the parties and non-session events. If you look in this year’s session catalog, you’ll see a session topic for Play – check out this section for all sorts of fun goings-on. I am for sure checking out the AWS Late Night events, in addition to a few of the vendor-sponsored events as well.

The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.
Dave Stauffacher

Dave Stauffacher

Dave Stauffacher is a Chief Platform Engineer at Direct Supply. With a background in data storage and protection, Dave has helped Direct Supply navigate a 30,000% data growth over the last 15 years. In his current role, Dave is focused on helping drive Direct Supply’s cloud migration, combining his storage background with cloud automation and standardization practices. Dave has showcased his cloud experience in presentations at the AWS Midwest Community Day, AWS Re:Invent, HashiConf, the Milwaukee Big Data User Group, and other industry events. Dave is a certified AWS Solutions Architect Associate.