AWS North East Meetup #1

By | July 7, 2014

I thought I would share some details about the first meetup of the newly formed AWS North East User Group, which I attended last week. This Meetup took place at Campus North in Newcastle (for my international readers that’s Newcastle in the UK!), which is the home of the Ignite 100 Accelerator and also offers co-working facilities, incubator space for startups and small tech companies, as well as having an event space for tech community events like this one.

The beginnings of an enthusiastic crowd

The beginnings of an enthusiastic crowd

This Meetup was was organised by Oli Wood, CTO at AWS customer CANDDi. They have a software product that enables organisations to link together online and offline interactions with customers. You can find out more about CANDDi here. It’s great that we have volunteers like Oli that donate their time to the AWS community and help organise groups like this, so thanks Oli!

If you’re interested in staying up to date with the AWS North East Meetup, please join the Meetup Group. For this first Meetup we were lucky to be joined by technologists from a couple of AWS customers who gave short talks and shared some of their experiences in using AWS to run production services.

Andrew Taylor from Sage

Andrew Taylor from Sage

The first talk was from David Lavery from Matchchat, a startup based in the co-working space at Campus North that are focused on helping media publishers to create conversations and communities around sports-related content. David gave a really good sense of some of the scaling challenges that MatchChat have encountered as their startup developed from launching their MVP to identifying and delivering the features that they would need to create a sustainable business model. There was also some great technical detail about how they solved these challenges using a combination of open source software and AWS services. The slides from David’s session are here:

The second talk of the night was from Andrew Taylor from Sage. Sage are pretty well known, but just in case you haven’t heard of them, they are large software provider that creates business and financial management software for small and medium sized businesses. Andrew works on the team that runs platforms supporting Software-as-a-Service products for Sage customers and is a very experienced AWS user as a result. Sage are a large AWS customer and are featured in this AWS Case Study.

Pretty much a full house

Pretty much a full house

Andrew’s talk was focused on sharing some tips & tricks for success with AWS, including a great discussion of how AWS CloudFormation can be used to automate deployment and management of AWS services. There was a some overlap between this talk and the AWS CloudFormation Masterclass webinar that I ran and recorded last week, which was good to see. If you’re interested in learning more about CloudFormation, you can find the webinar here.

Andrew also delivered a great live demo that illustrated how you can use CloudFormation to provision a series of related AWS Services that you might use to deliver a worker tier within a loosely coupled application architecture. In this case, automating the creation COWSAY ASCII artworks using SQS with worker tier and then depositing the finished masterpieces into an S3 bucket.

The CloudFormation templates that Andrew created and used for the demo are available on Github here and the COWSAY worker is on here.  This was a great demo and I may well re-appropriate it for my own use in the future, so thanks Andrew!

The slides from Andrew’s talk are available here:

Oli closed the Meetup quickly after Andrew’s talk finished and, of course, we decamped to nearby bar for a couple of beers and a bit more AWS-related discussion!

If you are interested in participating in the AWS North East Meetup in the future please join the Meetup Group and you will be kept up-to-date with future events. If you have topic areas that you would like us to focus on during future meetups or you’d like to speak or nominate a speaker, please leave a comment in the Meetup group. I hope to see you in Newcastle at Campus North for the next AWS North East Meetup in a couple of month’s time!

As an aside, AWS also maintains a global directory of AWS user groups around the world, so wherever you are based you can check whether there’s an AWS user group near you if you’re interesting in meeting other AWS users. If there isn’t a user group near you, you can always start you own and if you’re interested doing in that, please contact me or another member of the AWS Evangelism Team around the world and we can help you get started.

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