Teaching Cloud Migration through GameDays

For the last year, Version 1 has teamed up with AWS to run several Cloud migration GameDays. These are one-day workshops where we run through a Cloud migration scenario with a twist — you are put in a team and compete against other teams to score the most points throughout the day.

You’ll quickly learn that being first to migrate your application isn’t always the best thing. Good architecture, security, scalability and performance are key throughout the day, as we help guide and teach you various tools to carry out the migration.

What is an AWS GameDay?


AWS GameDays are an interactive team-based learning exercise designed to give players a chance to put their AWS skills to the test in a real-world, gamified, risk-free environment. Most importantly, it is an extremely fun way to learn more about the potential of AWS without the step-by-step instructions provided in workshops or classroom-style sessions. If you are seeking an open-ended, and at times ambiguous, style of training then GameDay is the perfect challenge for you.

The challenges depend on the type of GameDay- there’s migration, DevOps, microservices, and many more. In the backend, there’s a very clever engine that the AWS GameDay team have developed that each of the different games plug into.

This is a completely hands-on opportunity to learn about AWS best practices, AWS services, AWS architecture patterns, and group problem-solving. Each participant will be placed into a team of 4, so you must communicate effectively with one another in order to operate most efficiently as a mini DevOps team. You will have access to AWS experts who will support you as you work through various scenarios.

For a few years, AWS has run GameDays at re:Invent, summits, and similar events. Last year Version 1 partnered with AWS to run a migration and application modernisation day. So far we’ve run them in Dublin, London, Birmingham, and Belfast.

On the Day…

All you need in order to participate are a laptop and charger (no tablets), a web browser, the AWS CLI, and an SSH client pre-installed on your machine. A free AWS account is provided that you will work on throughout the day.

For the GameDay itself, each team is given access to an “on-prem” WordPress, database, and windows manager box. They then have to design and set up their AWS architecture and kick off the migration. We give CloudEndure licenses and also encourage the use of DMS. Once live, teams are encouraged to start thinking about optimising their newly migrated application. There are lots of points available for implementing best practice based on the AWS Well-Architected pillars.

Throughout the day there are marketing events that will increase traffic unexpectedly, and also some potential chaos monkeys doing some damage in the background. The key is to keep the website online while processing transactions in a timely manner to ensure no points are lost.


We’ve had people of all levels of experience, and have had great feedback from the events. It’s a great learning exercise for people interested in AWS, it can show business owners what it’s like to migrate a workload and what challenges to look out for, and there are a few sneaky challenges for those well experienced with AWS.

Trophies and other prizes are presented at the end of the day for the various winning categories, such as best architecture, lowest cost, and overall winner.

About Version 1

Version 1 is a leader in Enterprise Cloud services and was one of the first AWS Consulting Partners in Europe. We are an AWS Premier Partner and specialise in migrating and running complex enterprise workloads in Public Cloud. Version 1 is a leader in Enterprise Cloud services and was one of the first AWS Consulting Partners in Europe. We have a policy of continuous investment in technology solutions that benefit our customers and are in the small number Amazon Web Services Partners to have achieved advanced partner status. Our team works closely with AWS to help our customers navigate the rapidly changing world of IT.