Hackers Innovate Everywhere at VMware’s Global Borathons!

Last fall, we saw over 400 hackers participate in a Borathon across our major global sites. From Bulgaria, India, China, Palo Alto, and a global Open Source Borathon, where all the teams hacked remotely across the world. In case you’re wondering, “Borathon” is VMware’s quirky name for our internal hackathon and originated from our cultural roots of naming our code repository after islands; the last one being Bora Bora. Now you know!

Borathon is one of the many innovation programs offered at VMware to spur creativity and provide a platform for people to very quickly test ideas, have fun cross-collaborating across various business groups and geographies. Most importantly, one of the core goals of this event is to allow people to learn from the experience — success or failure.

Palo Alto Borathon

We held our biggest Borathon ever in Palo Alto with 32 teams and 203 participants hacking on their big ideas that ranged from Cloud, Networking, Edge to Performance. Check out the heat map below showcasing the diversity of topics that people worked on.

Previously, most Borathons are held locally in our major R&D sites. In the spirit of trying new things, we opened this local event to include our remote and global employees. 38% of the hackers were Global/Remote from Ashland, California to Zurich, Switzerland, with employee tenures from 1 month to 15 years. It was incredible the diversity of people who participated in this event.

“This Borathon was a great experience to learn, develop something new and interact with team members and leaderships.”

– First-time Borathon Hacker 

We also changed up the judging format to include a global community judging round. We were blown away that 133 passionate Community Judges signed-up from all parts of the company to review and score all the submissions. After 3 days, the top 5 teams were determined:

  • Clarity-Blitz: UI Prototyping tool
  • Knowledge Plane: Where AI meets Networking
  • Kubernetes on Velocloud Branch Routers
  • Project X-Octopus: Enabling an adaptive IoT Intelligent Edge
  • Remote IoT Edge device management with Poor/No Network Connection

These teams went on to the final round and presented their demo in front our Executive Judging panel led by Ray O’Farrell (VMware’s Executive Chief Technology Officer), Rajiv Ramaswami (VMware’s Chief Operating Officer, Products and Cloud Services), Pratap Subrahmanyam (VMware’s Fellow), and Mornay Van Der Walt (Vice President, Xplorer Group).

The winner of this Palo Alto Borathon was team “Clarity-Blitz”. Their hack project was building a fast UI prototyping app for UX and UI developers — quickly translating whiteboard sketch into code. We’re super excited that they will have the opportunity to present their project at our upcoming R&D Innovation Offsite (RADIO) this May.

Team Clarity-Blitz. Winners of VMware Palo Alto Borathon

The objective of Borathons is that they are just the beginning of people’s innovation journey — where connections are made, ideas are validated, and quick prototypes are built. More than half the teams at this Borathon have plans to take their ideas to the next level. Whether it be implementing their idea in their Business Units, submitting their idea to our annual R&D Innovation Offsite (RADIO), filing for a patent, implement as a Fling, or submitting a proposal to xLabs, VMware’s internal incubator. We are excited to follow their innovation journey. Stay tuned to learn more about these stories!

VMware Borathon Hackers - Palo Alto 2018
VMware Borathon Hackers still energized after 48 hours of hacking!

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