The battle among the leading cloud providers, commonly known as ‘the cloud wars,’ is heating up this fall as Microsoft and AWS release the latest and greatest features at their user conferences. Microsoft Ignite was held in September, however, Microsoft announced that they will be moving the conference to November in 2019! Talk about a power move. For multicloud users, you will now have to either attend both Microsoft Ignite and AWS re:Invent next November or choose between them.
Are We There Yet?
Microsoft Ignite is located in sunny Orlando, Florida, with temperatures in the high 90s. AWS re:Invent, on the other hand, is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, which would also be quite hot if it wasn’t in the fall. Depending on your location preference, the fun activities will vary (keep reading for the Work Hard, Play Hard section).
The conferences are fairly comparable in size, Microsoft Ignite had over 30,000 attendees this year and AWS re:Invent had over 40,000 attendees last year (and they are anticipating the same turnout if not more this year). It’s important to note that the ‘campuses’ for these events often stretch across multiple locations. Microsoft Ignite is located at the Orange County Convention Center, so you might be thinking ‘oh, one convention center, that’s not bad.’ Think again. That convention center is one of the largest in the United States with 7 million total square footage. Not to mention, AWS re:Invent which is stretched across seven hotels on the Vegas strip. Either way, you are lost in a sea of people, and you will be walking a lot, so we suggest you download the conference phone apps in order to have quick access to maps and room numbers.
Network and Learn
Based on the conference websites, Microsoft Ignite is targeted at IT implementers, IT decision makers, data professionals, and enterprise developers, and AWS re:Invent targets developers and engineers, system administrators, systems architects, and technical decision makers. Despite some overlapping titles in their target markets, we believe that AWS re:Invent has a more technical audience, with introductory, advanced, and expert level sessions. Microsoft Ignite, on the other hand, has a healthy mix of technical and business attendees, with foundational, intermediate, advanced, and expert session levels. This discrepancy is due to Microsoft having what some would call a dominant presence in traditional enterprise IT, because of product lines such as Office 365.
Both conferences provide high-value content with breakout sessions, keynotes, and more, with one key difference being AWS focuses on the public cloud–typically companies who have an all-in strategy. On the other hand, Microsoft still places an emphasis on their cloud offerings, but the conference also focuses on how Microsoft products are redefining the workplace and making collaboration easier.
Curious to know who the top tier sponsors are for each event? At Microsoft Ignite the Diamond level sponsors included Accenture and Avanade, Cohesity, Dell EMC, and Lenovo. The Emerald sponsors for AWS re:Invent include Accenture, Datadog, Deloitte, and Intel. While these sponsors have the most prominent names on the expo floor, there are also many other sponsors who attend both Microsoft Ignite and AWS re:Invent.
Enhance Your Skills
We are all professionals, and personal development opportunities are often a contributing factor in attending user conferences. Your company or manager might require you to get certified, or maybe it’s a goal you have given yourself. Both Microsoft and AWS host certification exams at their conferences and often give discounts. Microsoft offered Microsoft Certified Professional exams for 50% off at Ignite this year! AWS also offered exams such as the Cloud Practitioner exam for as low as $100.
In addition to getting certified, these conferences provide hands-on labs, workshops, and trainings in which you can truly get a grasp on the latest technology. Empowered with new knowledge you can positively impact your day-to-day job. This year, Microsoft Ignite delivered over 160 technology and immersion workshops, and 50+ hands-on labs. Let’s see if AWS will top that at re:Invent.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Microsoft and AWS know that after spending all day in sessions or on the expo floor, you just want to have some non-work-related fun. That’s why both cloud providers offer action-packed activities for attendees to partake in. But the experience is very different depending on which show you attend.
- Am I a thrill seeker looking to be flipped upside down on high-speed roller coasters?
- Am I a Harry Potter super fan?
- Am I interested in seeing a Cirque du Soleil Show?
- Am I good at blackjack?
These are the questions you must ask yourself when determining which event has after-hours activities that would be enjoyable for you. The past two years, Microsoft Ignite has held their party at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Attendees have free reign of both parks, with unlimited snacks, beverages, rides, and attractions. Our team considers The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to be the major attraction for the Microsoft Ignite party, if attending, you need have a strategy on where to start (as this attraction straddles both parks) so you can avoid lines and guarantee you get to experience the magic! AWS hosts what they call the re:Play party, with an electronic dance music concert, video games, and more. Last year, DJ Snake performed, we wonder who will be there this year! Re:Play party aside, Las Vegas has a plethora of entertainment options for you to indulge in, whether it be a show, fine dining, or rolling the dice.
For most attendees, the parties are the highlight of the week when it comes to having fun, but the possibilities are actually endless. You can network with attendees and experts at Microsoft Ignite’s diversity and technology receptions or even participate in the AWS Hackathon!
For multicloud users, you have plenty of time to decide if you want to attend both conferences in November 2019, but AWS re:Invent 2018 is just a few weeks away, so don’t miss your chance to see what it’s all about! If you’re attending be sure to visit us at CloudHealth Booth #1026!