NetflixOSS Meetup Series 1 Episode 2 — Announcing the Cloud Prize

by Adrian Cockcroft

On March 13th we held our second NetflixOSS meetup. It was well attended and used the same format of some presentations followed by demonstrations of the latest projects. Videos and slides are embedded below.

We started off with lightning talks by the engineers who own Karyon, our RSS Reader Recipe, EVCache, Denominator, Aminator, Netflix Graph, and Continuous integration services for all projects. Coming on the same day that Google announced that they are ending support for Google Reader, we wonder if anyone wants to use our recipe as the basis for a replacement?

Ruslan then announced that our first project “Curator”, a set of Apache Zookeeper recipes is now an Apache Incubator project, and is on a path to eventually become part of Zookeeper itself. It’s an example of giving up control of a body of code, in return for wider adoption of the technology.

Looking ahead Ruslan talked about upcoming projects to release more monkeys into the wild, our Genie big data analytics platform, a visualization tool for the Pig language that we will call Lipstick, and our Explorers dashboard user interface toolkit.

I then took over to make the surprise announcement for the evening. In 2012 Netflix was fortunate to win an Emmy award for our streaming service technology, and when we were thinking about how to inspire engineers, we thought about how proud everyone was that we had collectively won an Emmy.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could give prizes for contributions to the NetflixOSS platform?

The contributions would have to be Apache licenced and hosted on github, like our own code.

What would the prize categories be?

How about these ten:

  • Best example application mash-up
  • Best new monkey
  • Best contribution to code quality
  • Best new feature
  • Best contribution to operational tools, availability and manageability
  • Best portability enhancement
  • Best contribution to performance improvements
  • Best datastore integration
  • Best usability enhancement
  • Judges choice award

How long should the contest be open?

We opened the Netflix Prize Contest during the meeting, and it will run for six months, until September 15th.

Who can enter and win?

Almost anyone, almost anywhere. We have to exclude current and former Netflix employees and AWS employees, and a few countries for legal reasons.

Who decides who wins?

We expect there to be a lot of entries, so there will be a nominating committee made up of people who aren’t eligible to enter, Netflix engineers and managers, who will track the submissions over the six month period and come up with the best candidates in each category. The final decision on who wins will be made by a panel of expert independent judges.

We are very happy to have such a distinguished and diverse team of judges.

What are the attributes that they will be looking for in a winning submission?

  • eligible, Apache License, Version 2.0
  • identifies pull requests that have been made against existing NetflixOSS projects
  • provides an original and useful contribution to the NetflixOSS platform
  • follows good accepted code quality and structure practices
  • contains documentation on how to build and run code provided as part of the Submission
  • contains code that successfully builds and passes a test suite provided as part of the Submission
  • provides evidence that code is in use by other projects, or is running in production at Netflix or elsewhere
  • has a large number of watchers, stars and forks on

What everyone really wanted to know at this point was the prize…

What do the ten winners get?

They get to be guests of Netflix for a visit to AWS Re:Invent in Las Vegas in November

We’ll have a prize giving ceremony and host a dinner with the winners.

They get a trophy. It won’t be quite as nice as the Emmy, but what we have in mind will be cool and geeky, and you will want to show it to your friends.

The big prize is that they each get $10,000 in cash from Netflix, and a $5,000 credit from AWS!

To enter the contest, you first need a github account. From the Netflix site at you go to the repo, read the rules, fork the repo, fill in a form to tell us who you are, and create your submission by updating your fork of the Cloud-Prize.

Here’s an info-graphic that summarizes the prize:

Wrapping up, we set the date of the next NetflixOSS meetup to be about half way through the Cloud Prize period, in June, but haven’t set an exact date yet. People who have entered the Cloud Prize and given us their email addresses will be given early sign-up privileges for future meetups.

This is the opening video that covers the lightning talks on the projects.

And here are the slides:

Originally published at on March 29, 2013.

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