Behind the Curtain: AWS Public Sector Summit 2017

As federal, state, and local agencies look to implement cloud solutions, either in response to mandates or in an effort to reap cost savings and IT efficiency, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been in the forefront of helping government make the move to cloud. Now in its eighth year, the AWS Public Sector Summit brings together innovators who are changing the world with cloud computing to share their successes and lessons learned to guide wider cloud adoption in government. The conference aims to send attendees back to their office with new strategies and techniques for kicking off new projects, maximizing budgets, and achieving mission goals.

We highlighted the history of the event last year and, once again, Tricia Davis-Muffett, Global Public Sector Marketing Leader for AWS, took some time out from planning the Summit to share what is new for 2017 and what first-time attendees can expect.[Tweet "Behind the Curtain: AWS Public Sector Summit. @AWS_Gov #GovEventsBlog #AWSPSSummit"]

What trends shaped this year's program?

Cloud is at an inflection point in government as we're beginning to see a tip towards mass adoption. Government business and IT professionals understand the economic and agility advantages of cloud and want to make the move, but figuring out how to do so with legacy systems and processes can sometimes slow down adoption. For the first time, though, at the 2016 AWS re:Invent, our global user conference, public sector customers were included in all three keynote sessions who have made the move and accomplishing great things with the AWS Cloud. This says to me that cloud has now arrived in government.

What are the themes running through the show this year?

In government, there is a huge buzz about "Digital Transformation," so we've made an effort to show how cloud solutions enable the move to digital. There's also great interest in machine learning, as well as Internet of Things. People want to know how to incorporate both into their architecture planning moving forward. Finally, we're talking more about enterprise adoption and migration. In the past, government tended to move to cloud incrementally - trying email or storage then a database or two. Now that those small moves have proven themselves, people are ready to talk wider adoption.

Overall, I love seeing all of the discussions about organizations really pushing the tech envelope to advance the public good. There are startups out there with solutions that can save lives, curb violence, and protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

Who will be speaking?

We have over 60 speakers throughout the conference delivering talks ranging from technical to more business-focused topics. Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon, will address the public sector audience for the first time on our keynote stage and will share what is coming from Amazon in general and how it will apply to public sector mission needs. Teresa Carlson, VP of World Wide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services, will share a deep dive into offerings that address key public sector challenges. Throughout the show, we'll have speakers from federal, state and local, education, and nonprofit sectors to give a comprehensive public sector perspective.[Tweet "60+ speakers at #AWSPSSummit including Amazon's Werner Vogels and Teresa Carlson #GovEventsBlog"]

Is this a show for a technical or business audience?

It truly is for both. People can choose the right level of information and can jump between topics as needed. Also, this year we added a pre-day of technical workshops to address the call for more hands-on, technical deep-dives. This pre-day will also cater to partners who are just getting started with AWS to help them learn how to build a business around our offerings.

Besides the pre-day, what else is new this year?

We're having more fun and have created a "Zombie Apocalypse Workshop" focused on building serverless microservices. Participants will face the scenario that zombies have taken over major metropolitan areas. The AWS Lambda Signal Corps has built a communications system to connect the remaining survivors. In this workshop, we will introduce the basics of building serverless microservices then participants will work within a team to build a secure, scalable, fault-tolerant chat service with global reach from scratch using blueprints provided by us.[Tweet "Have fun at #AWSPSSummit. Join the Zombie Apocalypse Workshop. #GovEventsBlog #ZombieApocalypse"]

We're also hosting the Security Jam, which is a series of challenges related to incident response, forensics and security automation. We provide access to pre-created infrastructure and the participants' task is to identify what has happened, how to respond, and deploy appropriate countermeasures. Challenges will have points associated and live score tables will be shown in the room.

Thanks to Tricia and her team for sharing insights into this year's event. The AWS Public Sector Summit is happening June 12-14 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Before, during and after the show, you can follow along on Twitter with #AWSPSSummit. For more information, check out the show website.

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