Palo Alto, Calif.,-based VMware invited the public at large to compete in its Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge, which will award $100,000 to the developer of the most inventive and useful virtual appliance presented to its panel of expert judges.
An additional $100,000 will be at stake for runner-up and best-of-category winners. Participants must use open source or freely-distrbuted components, and they have until May 26 to enter.
Virtualization has increasingly been used to provide secure computing environments for numerous applications that are easy to deploy, said Srinivas Krishnamurti, group product manager for VMware.
Virtual appliances are designed to run on virtualization software sold by companies such as VMware. They are pre-built, pre-configured and ready-to-run software applications, packaged within virtual machines.
"What virtualization enables you to do is to completely isolate the applications in the environment of the appliance away from everything else going on in that PC or on a server," Krishnamurti said. "You could be running multiple applications on the same server and they are all isolated from each other, so in case something happens to one, it doesn't effect the others or the server itself."
Since VMware opened its doors in 1998, it has built a user base of 3 million. It has over 20,000 enterprise customers who use virtualization in a range of environments from desktop to data center.
Its users have networked to create a community that shares open source virtualized appliances freely. Krishnamurti said that the challenge was designed to encourage this exchange of information and to reward the inventfulness of community developers.
"That has been very positive," he said. "So we said, 'Hey, this is pretty cool. What if we reward these people?' So that is the context in which we came up with the contest."