Amazon Web Services – Start-up Success


Last month, the 20th of May, the CBR Innovation Network hosted an event titled ‘Amazon Web Services – Start-up Success’. As suggested by the title, the event was delivered by representatives of Amazon Web Services (AWS). The event, like others provided and hosted by the innovation network, was a coming together of private business and the network to provide great resources to Canberra’s start-up community. The event featured three separate sessions: ‘Top Tips for Start-Up Success’; ‘Overview of AWS, the Activate Program and Case Studies’ and ‘Individual Office Hours Workshop with the AWS Team’. The first session was led by Mr Ian Gardiner, part of AWS’s Business Development – Start-up Community – Australia and New Zealand, and focused on the key points involved in building a successful business. The second session detailed AWS’s services available in Information and Technology (IT) for start-ups and small businesses, through the company’s Activate program and computing platform. The third session was by booking only, participants had the opportunity to sit down, one-on-one, with an AWS Solutions Architect and have a technical discussion about the use of the company’s IT products and services. An interlude featured between the first and second sessions, a ‘fire-side’ chat between Doug Stuart, CEO of Instaclustr and Mr Gardiner, recorded for use on Mr Gardiner’s podcast, Unicorn Farm.

Promotional materials, used by AWS and the CBR Innovation Network to advertise the event, read that the first session would be about “real-life, in-the-trenches survival skills and tips designed to maximise your chances of success in the start-up world.” In covering the essential survival skills and steps involved in building a successful business, Mr Gardiner used a series of slides featuring internet memes and graphics, to make the information being conveyed memorable. Titles of the slides used by Mr Gardiner include: What’s your big idea; Ideas are nothing, it’s the execution that counts; Start-up curve and Make sure there’s a business. Mr Gardiner answered a series of questions from the audience during the session and spoke about his experiences as CEO and Founder of Viocorp, and as Co-Founder of Innovation Bay.

The second session, ‘Overview of AWS, the Activate Program and Case Studies’, covered AWS’s IT services on offer, such as access to the company’s cloud computing platform which is used by many high profile, multi-national corporations. AWS has a program dedicated to assisting start-ups and small businesses, the AWS Activate Program. The program provides a range of services to start-ups and small businesses that make use of the company’s computing platform, including the following: start-up blogs and forums; business essentials web based training; technical essentials web based training and self-paced labs. The promotional materials, used by AWS and the CBR Innovation Network to advertise the event, described the second session’s purpose to be to “help you design your architecture and technology to maximise reliability, performance and scalability whilst minimising cost.” Company representatives, again according to promotional materials distributed, also provided advice to those in attendance about how AWS could “help with commercial or funding advice and introductions.”

The third session was the by booking only, ‘Individual Office Hours Workshops with the AWS Team’. In this session AWS Solutions Architects sat down with those in attendance individually and assisted them with IT solutions for their businesses. One-on-one consultations with AWS’s Activate Program staff are also available through the use of the company’s Activate Program and computing platform. As it read in the promotional materials advertising the event, AWS’s Solutions Architects could assist with the following:

  1. Diagnose your current application architecture, compare it to known best practices and provide recommendations for architecting for scale, high availability, and redundancy.
  2. Identify and recommend best practices for achieving greater cost optimization within your AWS environment. For example, many fast growing companies are unaware that they can reduce their AWS spend by 30%+ by utilising the right mix of Reserved and Spot Instances. Other tips, such as utilising caching and reduced redundancy storage, can be discussed.
  3. Discuss any other AWS services which may be relevant to your business, as well as other complimentary services that start-ups frequently use to deploy code in conjunction with AWS.
  4. Review best practices for migrating applications to AWS from other providers/infrastructure.
  5. Go over any other known issues that your business is wrestling with; since we meet with companies in all sectors and stages, it’s possible that we’ve already seen solutions that can help.
  6. Listen to feedback on the company’s experience using AWS, and make suggestions for service enhancements. Customer feedback is an important driver of what goes onto the AWS roadmap.

The interlude between the first and second sessions, a ‘fire-side’ chat between Doug Stuart, CEO, Instaclustr and Mr Gardiner, delivered some great insights into the locally based company which is making big waves and great progress. In just over a year since Instaclustr’s formation, it has already expanded into North America, raised over two million dollars in funding and moved into offices adjoining the main function room of the CBR Innovation Network. Instaclustr provides access to and hosting services for Apache’s Cassandra database.

For a full recording of the ‘fire-side’ chat, please see Mr Gardiner’s podcast Unicorn Farm.

More details about the fantastic events offered and hosted by the CBR Innovation Network can be found via the network’s events page.


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  1. Very nice and informative, preparing for AWS certification, recently joined for amazon aws training, can any one suggest me some books and videos on this.

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