In April 2023, I was excited to have the opportunity to participate in the AWS GameDay – Partner League alongside two of my colleagues at Credera. The event received a strong turnout, with attendance from teams based out of India, the UK, Europe, Brazil, and more.
In this article, I will provide an overview of the AWS Partner GameDay and some of my key learnings from this year’s event.
What is AWS Partner GameDay?
AWS Partner GameDay is a fun, collaborative learning experience organised by AWS, where Partner teams compete against each other to solve real world problems. It is an unconventional learning experience filled with open-ended challenges - instructions are limited, ambiguous, and non-prescriptive to allow teams to think outside of the box and work together in solving technical challenges.
What happened on AWS GameDay – Partner League?
The sign up process for the event was simple – we had to complete an online form and select a team leader. From there, AWS responded with instructions on how to join the event and the tools that we needed to download in order to participate, such as Amazon Chime and Webex. We were then given access to the console and a sandbox environment for our team to work on.
This particular AWS Partner Game Day started at 9am BST. The host introduced us to the event and provided us with a brief outline of the architecture, instructions on how to request assistance, orientation of the scoring mechanisms, and how to check if systems had failed. This was a small hint that the game was to not only build the service, but also to maintain it.
What was the challenge and how did we go about solving it?
We had three hours to solve a microservice-related problem, which included installing three microservices and making sure each was installed correctly using a test script. These microservices would then be accessed by other teams, helping us to gain points.
As a team, we were keen to tackle the event from multiple locations – this isn’t typically recommended, but we found a way to divide the installation of the microservices between the three of us and collaborated using Amazon Chime. In the early stages, we devoted much of our attention to installing the microservices and gave little thought to the event scoreboard, but we soon shifted our focus to recovering points. We eventually managed to install all of our microservices and recover a few points by fixing the auto scaling groups.
Each of the participating teams reconvened on a Webex call at 12:30pm BST for the closing ceremony and an announcement of the final winners. It was interesting to hear from the winners about their strategy of keeping an eye on the event scoreboard and ensuring that they had fixed all errors as and when AWS deliberately broke things.
What did we learn from this event?
For those planning to participate in a future AWS Partner Game Day, here are some of the key things to consider before the event:
If intending to participate in an AWS Partner Game Day, be sure to register well in advance so you have plenty of time to prepare for the day. You can familiarise yourself with the format of AWS Game Days here.
Consider mixed skill sets
To ensure the maximum success on the day, make sure your team is made up of individuals with a diverse range of skills. It is always a good idea to include as much variety in your team’s skillset as possible to maximise productivity.
Adopt a collaborative approach
Having all team members compete in-person in one room, rather than spread remotely, helps to improve collaboration and creates an energy that is difficult to replicate virtually.
Keep your eye on the prize
Maintain a close eye on the event scoreboard – this will give you a better idea of what needs to be resolved so you can earn points.
In a nutshell
Participating in the AWS Partner Game Day was an adrenaline pumping, out of comfort zone experience, but I’m pleased that we decided to take part. Although I have worked with microservice architecture in the past, I learned quite a lot more through this unconventional learning experience. The event provides you with real life experience of solving technical issues and allows you to collaborate with team members in a safe and fun environment, so I would highly recommend it to others who are considering signing up.
As many of our clients build microservice-based architectures, it is very important that we give equal attention to both developing an efficient system and maintaining it over time. Systems should be durable, distributed, and easy to maintain, and this can be achieved by embedding alerting, monitoring, and automation into the system. Effective maintenance of a system could include introducing chaos testing, failure testing, and automation into tech ops processes. Keep an eye on customer feedback to continuously evolve your system as per their requirements.
Credera and Amazon Web Services
As an Advanced Consulting Partner, Credera offers our clients end-to-end AWS solutions that increase flexibility, scalability, and security while helping them innovate and improve performance. We have expertise in delivering AWS projects for DevOps, machine learning, security, migration, and big data. Leveraging our capabilities in marketing and commerce, digital media, and financial services, we help organisations solve immediate and long-term challenges by leveraging native services from AWS. Please get in touch to learn more.