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Cloud Prize

Netflix and Open Source - slideshare that explains how everything fits together

Netflix Cloud Prize Announcement Techblog and Video


Netflix has been trailblazing new ways to build cloud-native applications; we’ve shared our code, now it’s your turn.

Over the last few years, Netflix engineering has moved the streaming service from relatively traditional datacenter based patterns to a state of the art cloud based platform. During 2012 many individual parts of the cloud platform were released as open source projects, and in 2013 we began filling in the gaps so that it could be used by anyone as a complete system, rather than a collection of parts. We kicked this off in February 2013 by hosting a very successful meeting where hundreds of people visited Netflix to hear about the NetflixOSS platform. We have interest from end users, academics and vendors from the smallest startups to some of the largest global corporations. They have their own use cases for the platform. In some cases they want to extend its capabilities by adding more functionality. In other cases they want to use it in a broader context spanning cloud and datacenters or for very different applications.

As we were thinking about how best to support and encourage engagement with NetflixOSS, we remembered that back in 2006 Netflix sponsored a very successful Netflix Prize Contest to develop better movie recommendation algorithms. It seemed fitting to launch a new Netflix Cloud Prize Contest for the best open source contributions to the NetflixOSS platform.

We decided to structure it rather differently this time. Instead of a single winner, we will model the prize on the TV and Movie industry awards, and give prizes in ten categories. The Contest entry period runs for six months from 13th March 2013 to 15th September 2013. At that point a Judging Panel will pick the winners, which will be announced on October 16th, and trophies will be presented at the AWS Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas in November 2013. Each of the ten category winners gets a trophy, a US$10K cash prize, US$5K of AWS credits plus a trip to Las Vegas to attend AWS Re:Invent as guests of Netflix.

There is no cost to enter, no purchase required, and you need not be a Netflix subscriber, but you will need to set up a free account at So, if you like working on open source software projects, and think you can contribute something useful to the NetflixOSS platform, give it a try!

Terms and Conditions in a Nutshell

  • Netflix Cloud Prize begins March 13th 2013 (8:00 pm Pacific Daylight Savings Time (PDT)) and continues through Sunday, 15th September 2013 (11:59 pm PDT).
  • Contest is open to anyone, anywhere (except certain countries listed below).
  • You have to register to enter.
  • Registration and entries to the contest take place on, by forking the Netflix Cloud Prize and supplying contact information to Netflix.
  • The NetflixOSS platform and all entries are shared subject to the Apache License, Version 2.0.
  • Once you fork the Netflix Cloud Prize, you add your Submission by modifying your fork.
  • A “Nominating Committee” of Netflix engineers and managers will evaluate the entries and nominate the fifty (50) potential Finalists.
  • The “Judging Panel” (comprised of one (1) Netflix representative and up to five (5) independent judges) will make the final decision on the Winner of each of the ten (10) categories.
  • Winners will be invited to attend AWS Re:Invent 2013 to be awarded their prize.

Still interested? On to the fine print then! And, because of the serious amount of money, there is some important legalese you need to attend to...

Contest Rules, Terms and Conditions

Download Netflix Cloud Prize Contest Rules (pdf)


The Contest entry period commences on March 13th, 2013 (8:00 pm PDT) and continues until September 15th, 2013 (11:59 pm PDT) (the "Contest Term"). No additional registrations or Contest submissions will be accepted after the close of the Contest Term.

Who can participate?

Participants are welcomed either as individuals or as teams made up of several persons. In the case of teams, the owner of the github account that forked the Netflix Cloud Prize will be designated as the team leader, and will be solely responsible for receiving communications from and communicating with Netflix. Prizes will be awarded to the team leader. We recommend teams determine ahead of time how Prizes, if any, would be shared among team members. Participants can represent themselves or be the authorized representatives of a company or academic institution.

If a Participant is an employee of a corporation or academic institution, enrolled as a student or representing their employer or academic institution in this Contest, it is their sole responsibility to review, understand and abide by their employer’s or academic institution’s policies regarding eligibility to participate in the Contest. If a Participant is found to be in violation of their school’s or employer’s policies, they will be disqualified from entering the Contest and being awarded or retaining Contest Prizes. Netflix disclaims any and all liability or responsibility for disputes arising between a student or employee and their school or employer related to this Contest.

Current and former employees, officers, contractors and agents of Netflix and Amazon Web Services, Inc., and each of their subsidiaries and equity affiliates, together with members of their immediate families (parent, child, sibling and spouse of each) and those living in their same households, or Netflix and independent contractors supporting the Contest, are ineligible to enter and participate in the Contest or be awarded or retain any Contest Prize.

Residents of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria are ineligible to participate. The Contest is void in these countries and where prohibited or restricted by law. Netflix reserves the right to limit, or restrict upon notice, participation in the Contest to any person at any time for any reason.


To participate in the Contest, Participants must accurately and truthfully complete the Participant registration information in their forked copy of the Netflix Cloud Prize online at (the "Contest Site"). To register, Participants must provide a team name, a list of all team Participants, and identify the team leader, providing each Participant’s github identifier, affiliation, if any, and country. Any publicly displayed team data, including team names, may be changed if deemed inappropriate by Netflix in its sole discretion. Each Participant must consent to be bound by the Official Rules. Limit: one (1) Submission per Participant. All responses must be in English. All entry information and submissions shall be deemed collected and judged in the United States. Netflix will not reveal Participant identities unless and until Participants wins a Prize.

The Netflix Cloud Prize

The Netflix Cloud Prize exists within the Netflix organization at Github: Participants need to register at to obtain an account-id; then they can fork this project and create their own Submission. This will appear as[account-id]/cloud-prize and all the Participants will be visible at The Netflix Cloud Prize contains the rules and instructions for Participants. An email address must be provided for each Submission. The prize categories that the Participant wishes to be considered for must be listed in the Submission.

Eligibility of Entries

An eligible Submission must be originally developed or implemented (e.g., must not violate or infringe on any applicable law or regulation or third-party rights); must adopt the Apache License, Version 2.0; must be written in English; and must not require any third-party software or licenses, payment on the part of Netflix, or otherwise prevent Netflix from exercising the rights granted hereunder.


Entries will be evaluated throughout the six month duration of the prize by a Nominating Committee of Netflix engineers and managers to identify entries that contain a substantive contribution, working code and which have high community adoption according to the following list of criteria:

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

At the conclusion of the Contest term, the Nominating Committee will determine a list of what they consider to be the top five Participants in each of the ten designated categories, and provide the total of 50 nominations of potential Finalists to the Judging Panel.

Judging of Entries

Potential Finalists will be reviewed, considered and judged by the Nominating Committee based on the criteria identified above. Participants who are selected as potential Finalists shall reasonably cooperate with the Judging Panel in any verification activities. The Judging Panel will determine a winning Participant in each of the ten (10) categories listed below.

Once the Winner in each category is determined, Netflix will award the appropriate Contest Prize to the winning Participant.

Award of Contest Prizes

Contest Prizes: Ten (10) Grand Prize Winners. Each Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • a cash prize of US$10,000 (Ten thousand U.S. dollars) (the “Cash Prize”);
  • US$5,000 of AWS promotional credits redeemable at (“AWS Credits”); and
  • a three (3) days, two (2) nights trip for the Winner and one (1) guest to Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. (the “AWS Re:Invent Trip”) consisting of the following:
    • round-trip economy class air transportation for two (2) people from the major airport nearest Winner's residence to Las Vegas, Nevada (or, in Sponsor's sole discretion, US$500 in lieu of air travel if Winner lives within a 200 mile radius of Las Vegas);
    • two (2) nights standard hotel accommodations for Winner and his/her guest at a hotel selected by Sponsor (one room, double occupancy; nightly rate and room tax only);
    • one (1) ticket to AWS Re:Invent; and
    • US$500 spending money.

Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of each Grand Prize (comprising of the Cash Prize, AWS Credits and the AWS Re:Invent Trip): US$20,000. Total cumulative ARV of all prizing: US$200,000.

Each Participant is eligible to win and be awarded only one (1) Prize. The 10 Grand Prize categories are:

  1. Best example application mash-up
  2. Best new monkey
  3. Best contribution to code quality
  4. Best new feature
  5. Best contribution to operational tools, availability and manageability
  6. Best portability enhancement
  7. Best contribution to performance improvements
  8. Best datastore integration
  9. Best usability enhancement
  10. Judges choice award

Prizes will be to the Winner, and if Participant is a team, to the team leader. Netflix will declare the Winners on October 16th 2013, to give time for the Winners to arrange travel to AWS Re:Invent 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Any costs or expenses associated with the acceptance and use of the Prizes are the sole responsibility of the Winners. No substitutions or assignment of a Prize are permitted.

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