This month, we saw incredible hacker participation across the globe in our second annual global Borathon 2020. Previously, most Borathons were held locally in our major R&D sites. In the spirit of trying new things, we created this virtual event last year to include all our remote and global employees together in one company hackathon. Since then we have also started partnering with different groups at VMware to support theme based Borathons as well. The most recent one being an Accessibility Borathon focused on increasing awareness about the need for technologies to be designed and developed in an accessible manner. The local, theme and global Borathons all act as a starting point to test out new ideas and connect with the larger VMware community.

What is Borathon?

In case you missed our blog post on last years event, “Borathon” is VMware’s quirky name for our internal hackathon that originated from our cultural roots of naming our code repository after islands; the last one being Bora Bora.

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 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.

Borathon 2020

We held our biggest Borathon ever with 218 teams and over 730 participants hacking on their big ideas that ranged from Cloud, Networking, Edge to Performance. This year we partnered with experts across VMware and the field to provide hackers optional customer challenges to hack on. These challenges focused on integrating VMware products. We also opened up a challenge to hackers focused on VMware’s Technology Response to COVID-19. Many hackers were passionate about contributing to this initiative with 60% of the customer challenge hacks being Technology Response to COVID-19. Check out the heat map below showcasing some of popular  topics that people worked on.


During this year’s global Borathon, there was representation from 10 countries and 28 cities from Yerevan, Armenia to Toronto, Canada with employee tenure from 3 months to 14 years. To accommodate the large scale of this event, we had an open call across the company for community judges. More than 150 passionate community judges signed-up from all parts of the company to review and score all the hacks to determine the top 5 teams.

These teams went on to the final round of Executive Judging. This year, our executive judges included \ Rajiv Ramaswami and Raghu Raghuram, VMware Chief Operating Officers, Products and Cloud Services, Pratap Subrahmanyam, VMware Fellow, and Kit Colbert, CTO of Cloud Platform.

Grand Prize Winner

The winner of this global Borathon 2020 was team “Fluid ESXi”. They are a team from VMware’s Cloud Platform team located in Bangalore, India. This team was made up of a diverse range of tenure with most of the team only being with VMware for less than 4 years. Team members include: Niharika N, Sachin Johri, Raunak Singwi, Anmol Parikh and Ammar Rizvi.

What’s Next?

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 product teams, submitting their idea to our internal 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 each of their innovation journey.

Sloan is the program manager of the Borathon program within the Office of the CTO. She also works on OCTO innovation programs such as xLabs and RADIO. Sloan started at VMware in 2016 as an intern and began work as a NCG in 2017. Sloan has an insatiable desire to learn and loves to solve difficult puzzles. Sloan is passionate about the evolution of an idea and supports the innovator on their innovation journey wherever it leads through all the resources and programs OCTO offers.