VMware Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge phase 2 ends

The impressive VMware marketing campaign called Ultimate Virtual Appliance Challenge, promising $100,000 for the lightest, most useful, most creative virtual machine ever, is towards its conclusion.

Voting for best Virtual Appliance officially ended on July 31th.
Virtualization community voted several different appliances but didn’t show a neat preference, reaching maximum score of 3/5.

Apart first couple of entries many of the highest ones are made by virtual appliances running traditional products, which could run as LiveCD or be installed without much effort. Others are plagued by very complex configuration steps or notable dimensions.
For these reasons I believe most submitters missed the true spirit of the competition: create a no-brain, slim, single-purpose, original and useful tool just like an hi-fi stereo is (or an Ipod if you prefer). Avoiding throwing in existing tools without customization.

I didn’t check all virtual appliances but until now no one seems to me an effort big enough to be awarded with $100,000.
What I personally hoped to see (and I can’t see), given above prerequisites:

  • a URL filtering (aka content filtering or internet filter) tool, able to switch between proxy mode (if you are at home) or sensor mode (if you are at office and can put it on switches monitor port, like Websense can do)
  • a media center tool, able to upload on it music, videos and photos, able to serve home users (acting like a traditional media center) and professional users (switching between radio broadcasting station mode and dj station mode, for mixing songs at clubs)
  • a Quality of Service (QoS) tool, acting as a proxy
  • a storage hub, able to map remote storage resources (fibre channel or iSCSI NAS and SAN) and present them in a uniformed way (something actually done in certain kind of storage virtualization approaches)
  • a news aggregation tool, collecting news from several sources and in different formats (ATOM/RSS feeds, web page grabbing, newsgroups, Google Alerts, etc.) and providing a unique resulting output, normalized and without duplicated entries

Now the final word will come from illustrious judging panel which will name winners on August 14th.

After that time VMware could launch a virtual appliances marketplace.