AWS DC Summit - Recap

What fits somewhere in between re:Invent and Community Day events? That would be the AWS Summits! This year, I got to experience a double dose of fun by representing Alkira at our booth and presenting at the AWS Community Developer Lounge. I may be biased, but I believe the Alkira team is the best in the world.

It was a blast getting to talk about cloud networking with event attendees while getting a glimpse of how the public sector is adapting to change. And, for my first time presenting at a Summit, I thought it fitting to do a live demo. Why not pull in some advanced concepts and do it all live with semi-flaky internet and see how it goes? Leeroy Jenkins would be proud.



My favorite highlights included:

Team Alkira

Whether it was the many engaging conversations we had with event attendees at the booth, the unplanned team-building exercise of scooting through the D.C. bike lanes or seeing the Washington Nationals get smashed, I wouldn’t pick any other team to do it with. What made this event great was the fantastic questions we got from event attendees. As it turns out, great questions lead to great conversations!

Team Alkira


At the keynote, we got to hear from the CIA’s first CTO, Nand Mulchandani. Keeping your ears open will teach you something new every day. For me, it was that researchers at the CIA created the lithium-iodine battery. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the need for long-lasting battery power and the nature of surveillance.

Modular Data Center

Back in February AWS announced their Modular Data Center for U.S. Department of Defense Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability. This only available to government customers under the JWCC Contract and is currently supported in the AWS GovCloud (US-West) and (US-East) regions.

Modular DC

Why is this cool?
You could rely on limited infrastructure. You could also procure, build, and provision infrastructure yourself. Why not just deploy a self-contained and modular data center? In isolated environments, it can securely store, analyze, and interpret petabytes of data in real-time. I got to walk through one of these at the summit and my nerd senses were tingling.

Snowblade Announcement

Want compute and storage amongst other hybrid services in remote locations, including Denied, Disrupted, Intermittent, and Limited (DDIL) environments? If you are a (JWCC) contract customer, take a look at AWS Snowblade. This tech extends AWS infrastructure to the tactical edge and meets U.S. Military Ruggedization Standards (MIL-STD-810H). Snowblade is available in the AWS GovCloud (US-West) region.

Presenting in the Dev Lounge

Through the amazing AWS Community Builders program, I got to present in the Dev Lounge. Many folks wanting to enter tech seem to go the software engineering route by default. Serverless and AI/ML are also newer and much more shiny than networking. Throughout my time in tech, there appears to be a waning interest in network engineering.

One of my goals in the community is to show that networking is equally exciting in the cloud, especially when paired with awesome tools like Terraform. In this Dev Chat, I started with some theory and real-world problems and then ran a live demonstration on how you could solve some of those problems by combining the power of AWS Transit Gateway and Terraform. The slides and code I ran for the demo can be found here.

Dev Chat

Remember the Foundation
Properly designed and executed network and security is the solid foundation on which many of the newer and trendy technologies run atop. If you drive a Ferrari, you can reach your destination quickly (I wish I had a Ferrari). If the highway isn’t in place, however, and you were driving on rugged terrain, can you imagine what the experience would be like? Imagine also if an optimal interconnection of highways didn’t exist between you and your destination.


This AWS Summit was a whirlwind of learning, engagement, and networking - literally and figuratively! Representing Alkira and having the opportunity to educate attendees on our product led to many deeper discussions around the state of networking in the cloud. It was a blast to discuss cloud networking, interact with various individuals, and offer a different perspective on a field often perceived as a thing I want to get out of the way.