What is AWS GameDay?

AWS GameDay is an interactive team-based learning exercise designed to give players a chance to put their AWS skills to the test in a real-world, gamified, risk-free environment. Most importantly, it is an extremely fun way to learn more about the potential of AWS without the step-by-step instructions provided in workshops or classroom-style sessions. If you are seeking an open-ended, and at times ambiguous, style of training then GameDay is the perfect challenge for you.

This is a completely hands-on opportunity to learn about AWS best practices, AWS services, AWS architecture patterns, and group problem-solving. Each participant will be placed into a team of 4, so you must communicate effectively with one another in order to operate most efficiently as a mini DevOps team. You will have access to AWS experts who will support you as you work through various scenarios. 

All you need in order to participate are a laptop and charger (no tablets), a web browser, the AWS CLI, and an SSH client pre-installed on your machine. We will provide you with a free AWS account that you will work in throughout the day.

The backdrop of every GameDay event is our famous (fictitious) narrative. Participants will become part of our brand new hot startup Unicorn.Rentals, and the event is actually their new hire orientation at the company. Read The Scenario below for more information.


The Scenario

Congratulations on your new position at Unicorn.Rentals! We are the largest provider of mythical creatures in the world, and we are seeking elite talent to take our business to the next level since our former DevOps team left to pursue a digital currency venture. We need the cream of the crop to come in and fix all the problems our former teams caused.

After just a few short years as a company, Unicorn.Rentals continues to dominate the Legendary Animal Rental Market (LARM). Time and again we continue to fulfill the needs of parents who have caved to their childrens' demands of temporary use of a unicorn. As part of our continued market dominance, we are continuously expanding, and investing in training programs for our growing team of developers.

To hit the ground running, make sure to have a web browser, the AWS Command Line Tools (AWS CLI), and an SSH client pre-installed on your machine. An AWS account is not required, one will be provided to your team at the start of your new hire onboarding.

Venue: re:Invent 2019

Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas

Date: December 3rd, 2019

Version: Main Event Countdown (BRAND NEW!)

Description: Join us for the debut of the brand new version of AWS GameDay at re:Invent 2019, our biggest event of the year. This is your chance to experience never before seen content on our largest stage. We will host two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.


Narrative: It’s been 5 years since the inception of Unicorn.Rentals, and we continue to dominate the Legendary Animal Rental Market (LARM). We constantly strive to seek out the elite technologists from around the world who are helping us change lives, one unicorn at a time. This will be a new hire onboarding that you’ll never forget.

At re:Invent 2015, you helped us launch and scale as a small startup in Silicon Valley. In 2017, you brought our website online and helped us locate our missing CEO. In 2018, you elevated our company to the next level by migrating our infrastructure off of slow legacy services and onto advanced microservices.

We’re faced with new challenges now that we're profitable, particularly with scaling our rental services globally to meet consumer demand and finally becoming a fully recognized conglomerate. As a rental company, we have tons of historical data, but unfortunately we are not equipped to process it to better serve our customers. This year, you can expect to help us solve some of our biggest problems using machine learning and automation to process this data and gain insights into customer behavior. We've also recently learned that implementing a solid marketing strategy and actually having infrastructure online at all times can be game changing for a company of our size. Stay on your toes, expect the unexpected.

As usual, the executives at Unicorn.Rentals have already dreamed the vision and have come up with the blueprint. Your job is making that dream come to life.

AWS GameDay PDX, Hosted by Five Talent

Date: December 12th, 2019

Time: 10:00AM - 5:00PM PST

Location: WeWork Pioneer Place, 700 SW Fifth Avenue Portland, OR 97204

Version: Chaotic Commencement

Narrative: Unicorn.Rentals, like many fast-growing and profitable startups, is facing its latest challenge: attrition. We've just been notifed by the Unicorn.Rentals HR Department that our DevOps team left to pursue a digital currency venture, and we are strapped launching our latest application without them. You are the elite, and we need you to settle in quickly and hit the ground running during your new hire orientation. We are sure the former team worked diligently to ensure a smooth transition, so don't worry. Surely they left sound documentation behind, so you can pick up where they left off. Your first day should be relatively simple. Just come in, get comfortable with our systems, meet your new team, and begin to understand our business model.


Join us for an interactive, six-part series to get hands-on cloud computing experience in the fun, fictitious startup world of Unicorn.Rentals! These videos will help you get up to speed for your first New Hire Orientation.

  • Episode 1: Recon


    Episode 1: Recon
    Aired on July 25th at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT

    When you jump into an AWS account, it’s common to have existing resources in that account, and GameDay is no exception. Finding out what you have is essential to be successful in the game. We’ll talk about how to identify your inventory and assess your configuration. You’ll get some background on logging services, such as Cloudtrail and Cloudwatch. Bring your browser, your questions and your love for unicorns; it’s going to be a blast!


  • Episode 2: Scaling


    Episode 2: Scaling
    Aired on August 1 at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT

    Scaling your application infrastructure is a critical component to being successful in Gameday. It starts with autoscaling groups, but it doesn’t end there. We learn about various scaling techniques, where it makes sense to use them and how to implement with running infrastructure. Of course, we’ll have a few surprises for you. Don’t miss it!


  • Episode 3: Changes


    Episode 3: Changes
    Aired on August 8th at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT

    Just like in real life™, your Gameday is not static, you’ll have to deal with change; whether that’s more users or new code. We’ll dive into team dynamics, which is a key component to success, as well as show you how to use native AWS security and deployment tools to track and manage change.

  • Episode 4: Decoupling


    Episode 4: Decoupling
    Aired on August 21, 2017 at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT

    Tightly coupled systems live together and die together. We’ll explore how loosely coupled systems operate, and how to diagnose failures when something goes wrong. A plan for failure outplays a failure to plan every time, so tune in to get the answers you need to win.

  • Episode 5: Security is Job Zero


    Episode 5: Security is Job Zero
    Aired on September 5, 2017 at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT

    At AWS, security is job zero, and it should be for you too. An advantage of the AWS cloud is that you can scale and innovate, all the while maintaining a secure environment. In GameDay, paying attention to security can be the difference between winning and losing. We’ll look at access methods, how to securely access services and unscramble the topic of encryption. As always, there will be fun facts, audience polls and lots of surprises.

  • Episode 6: Optimizing for Cost


    Episode 6: Optimizing for Cost
    Aired on September 5, 2017 at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT

    Frugality is one of our core principles at Amazon, and in GameDay, it’s literally part of the scoring equation. Making smart choices to optimize cost is your key to climbing the scoreboard and taking home the prize. We’ll look at instance optimization, explore cost management tools built into your account and share plenty of tips and tricks along the way. You’re sure to learn new skills that you can take to any AWS environment and be a hero.

Learn more about what AWS GameDay did at AWS re:Invent 2017!