Netflix Offers Cash Prizes for New Cloudy Open Source Tools

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 15, 2013

On the cloud computing scene, there is some very interesting action going on with organizations open sourcing valuable software components designed to make cloud deployments much more efficient and secure. This week, I reported on DBSeer, a component from MIT researchers that can increase the efficiency of database-centric cloud applications and reduce the need for expensive hardware.

It may come as a surprise to some, though, that Netflix is one of the big organizations open sourcing valuable cloud components. Netflix--which has a very robust cloud-based proprietary platform--has released Chaos Monkey and a number of other meaningful open source components in recent months. Now, the company has unveiled the Netflix OSS Cloud Prize, a contest that will reward the best cloud developers with $200,000 in prizes.

Fittingly, the OSS Cloud Prize was announced by Netflix's CTO online in a post on GitHub, which notes:

"We want you to build something cool using or modifying our open source software. Your submission will be a standalone program or a patch for one of our open source projects...If you win, you’ll get US$10,000 cash, US$5000 AWS credits, a trip to Las Vegas for two, a ticket to Amazon’s user conference, and fame and notoriety (at least within Netflix Engineering)."

That sounds like a cool opportunity for the right kind of crafty, cloudy developer.

Among numerous cloud components that Netflix has open sourced, Chaos Monkey is an open source service which runs in Amazon Web Services (AWS) that seeks out Auto Scaling Groups (ASGs) and terminates instances (virtual machines) per group. Effectively, what the program does is randomly kill instances within Netflix's architecture, working on the assumption that constant failures will help build robust defenses against catastrophic failure. 

If you are interested in competing in Netflix's OSS Cloud Prize contest, you can find the FAQ and registration details here