Modern Software Podcast logoIn this episode of the New Relic Modern Software Podcast, we look behind the scenes at AWS GameDay, a daylong learning simulation/competition in which participants use real AWS instances to tackle the kinds of problems they’d face in their own jobs as they work to keep customers happy and costs low. To find out how it really works, we talk to a couple of the guys who make the simulation so interesting and so useful.

See also: A Cool Cloud Simulation: Inside the AWS Summit GameDay

But that’s only part of the show. The New Relic Modern Software Podcast crew also tackles some of the top issues facing software professionals, from how to cope with ongoing change in the mobile world to the impact of the Great Docker open-source fork controversy. Plus, we offer insight on our new New Relic Infrastructure product line, and take a sneak peek at FutureStack16, coming to San Francisco November 16 and 17.

Is this the best way to learn AWS?

Think your boss is demanding and difficult? Try working for Kyle, the “visionary” CEO behind Unicorn.Rentals. Kyle enjoys making his employees compete against each other “so we can see who’s best and get rid of everyone else.” Luckily for Kyle’s employees, they’re only working for him for one day and it’s all just a game—a fast-paced, demanding, exciting simulation called AWS GameDay.

Scott Ward and Dave Rocamora—a pair of solution architects on the AWS partner team—work to make AWS GameDay as fun and useful as possible. I met them when they let me sit in on the AWS GameDay event in Chicago this summer, and I was so impressed that I asked them to join the podcast to share some insider secrets on the simulation.

Scott Ward and Dave Rocamora

AWS Solutions Architects Scott Ward (left) and Dave Rocamora.

Our conversation doesn’t disappoint. Dave and Scott reveal tips on what it takes to “win” AWS GameDay, but, more important, how to get the most out of the experience. They even spill the beans on how some participants managed to bend the rules to their advantage, a real-world version of Captain Kirk’s famous Kobayashi Maru training simulation. It’s these moments of creative problem-solving that make the event so rewarding for all involved. Says Dave, “It’s always fun to get surprised by what customers are going to do with the game.”

Finally, Scott and Dave say they’ve got some clever new tricks up their sleeves for AWS GameDay at the upcoming AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. They promise that even experienced GameDay players will find new challenges that will expand their AWS skill set. [time code 23:37]

From mobile to forks

But before we get to play AWS, the New Relic Modern Software Team has some fun with the latest tech trends. This time my co-host Tori Wieldt, New Relic developer evangelist, and I are joined by Senior VP of Marketing Jay Fry and VP of Customer Analytics Todd Etchieson, along with special guest Lee Atchison, New Relic’s principal cloud architect and author of Architecting for Scale.

First, I poll the crew for their thoughts on the impact of recent events in mobile, from the release of new mobile operating systems (Android Nougat and iOS 10) to new devices raising big controversies (the iPhone 7’s missing headphone jack and the Galaxy Note 7’s propensity to spontaneously explode. Just how do mobile developers deal with the effects of constant change in their platforms? [1:45]

Next, we tackle the ongoing controversy over whether it’s time to fork Docker. Our consensus? The threat of a fork can be a great forcing mechanism for needed change, but an actual fork could have serious consequences. [6:41]

Then we look at New Relic Infrastructure, explaining not just what it is, but why we believe it’s so darn important. Hint: those big website outages you keep reading about? Many of them were caused by configuration errors, which New Relic Infrastructure is designed to help you avoid. [13:37]

Most important, perhaps, the crew offers listeners a sneak peek at the awesomeness that will be FutureStack16. Everyone shares what elements they’re most looking forward to (for me, it’s a keynote address from stats guru Nate Silver—best known for his uncannily accurate predictions of the last two presidential elections—just a week after the next election). You’ll have to listen to find out what the rest of the team is most excited about! [16:39] 

All this and much more in the latest episode of the New Relic Modern Software Podcast!

New Relic was the host of the attached forum presented in the embedded podcast. However, the content and views expressed are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of New Relic. By hosting the podcast, New Relic does not necessarily adopt, guarantee, approve or endorse the information, views or products referenced therein.

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Note: The intro music for the Modern Software Podcast is courtesy of Audionautix'

Fredric Paul (aka The Freditor) is Editor in Chief for New Relic. He's an award-winning writer, editor, and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite,, InformationWeek, CNET, Electronic Entertainment, PC World, and PC|Computing. His writing has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Omni, Conde Nast Traveler, and Newsweek, among other places. View posts by .

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