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.

Location: AWS Loft SF

Date: October 8th, 2019

Version: Cloudy Mediums

Description: We’ve recently run up against a few new obstacles you can expect to help us resolve. The infrastructure used to operate Unicorn.Rentals has been disabled due to non-payment. Our priority is returning the application to an operational state. Our CEO has gone missing, as did the company's financial accounts when he left the country unannounced (we're sure it's an honest mistake), and you're going to help us find him.

Our AWS account is functional and using the credit card of our new intern. With this new account, we will rebuild and deploy the Unicorn.Rentals application. We currently have random technology artifacts we found, along with some old documentation. As a new hire, it is now your responsibility to rebuild the architecture and get the company back online. The artifacts that you have are a guideline. You have full flexibility to implement the architecture as you see fit based on available services.

REGISTER HERE for the chance of a lifetime: an opportunity to start your career at Unicorn.Rentals right, with a proper new hire orientation.

Location: Oregon State University Cascades

Sponsor: Five Talent

Date: October 10th, 2019

Version: Chaotic Commencement

Description: Welcome to your new hire orientation at Unicorn.Rentals, the hottest new startup in the rental market for mythical creatures! We’ve hit a minor snag. Our DevOps team decided to pursue another initiative, so we need you to join our team and help us scale our business. Your first day will be light, more of an introduction to our company's culture and our general architecture. The previous team made sure to provide clear documentation as to how our application runs and how you can expect to support it. See The Scenario above for more details.

REGISTER HERE to join Unicorn.Rentals, where dreams become reality.

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 weak and slow legacy services onto microservices.

Now that we are profitable, we’re faced with new challenges, particularly with scaling our rental services globally and becoming a fully recognized conglomerate. As a rental company, we have tons of data, but unfortunately we are not trained on processing it and capitalizing on it to serve our customers. This year, you can expect to help us solve our biggest problems using machine learning and automation to query big data sets and help us get a better idea of our customers' behavior and what they really want. We've also recently learned that implementing a solid marketing strategy and security best practices 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.

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!