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VMware launches $200,000 challenge for virtual appliances

As if VMware did not already have enough companies lining up to catch the virtualisation wave, the company has launched a contest to spur development

Virtualisation software supplier VMware announced the launch of the Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge — a contest with $200,000 (£115,000) worth of prizes at stake — on Monday.

According to the company, the aim is to "foster continued innovation in developing virtual appliances", which are pre-built, pre-configured, ready-to-run software applications that are packaged in virtual machines.

The Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge is open to participants worldwide with a first prize of $100,000, a second prize of $50,000 and a third prize of $25,000 for the best three virtual appliances.

There will also be awards of $5,000 each for the Best Collegiate Appliance, Best Consumer Appliance, Best Developer Appliance and Best Server Appliance, and for the VMTN Community Choice Appliance.

Currently, around 50 virtual appliances that have been developed by software vendors and open source projects. BEA, IBM, Oracle have developed appliances, as have Apache, Asterisk, Debian, FreeBSD, M0n0wall, MySQL, Novell SuSE Linux, OpenBSD, Red Hat Linux, Sguil, Ubuntu Linux and Zimbra in the open source world.

Dr Mendel Rosenblum, co-founder and chief scientist at VMware and chairman of the judges for the challenge said: "With the introduction of VMware Player and VMware Server, we have seen a tremendous embracing of VMware virtual appliances across the industry. The Appliance Challenge gives us a chance to recognise and reward innovation from the community and promote turnkey software experiences through virtualisation."

The judging panel also includes Jason Brooks, senior analyst at eWeek, Stephen Elliot, research manager of enterprise systems management software at IDC, Roger Howorth, enterprise editor at IT Week, Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media, Dave Parsons, vice-president of engineering at ALG Software and Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux.

The deadline for entries to the Challenge is 26 May, 2006, and the winners will be announced at LinuxWorld on 14 August.

Details of the Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge details and registration information are available here.

Users can download many of the available virtual appliances from VMTN here,

VMware Player and VMware Server which are both available for free download can be found here.