If you haven’t yet seen a season of Virtual Design Master, you're missing out. It's an online technology competition inspired by reality shows like Ink Master and Top Chef, but the contestants are IT professionals solving some of the toughest – and sometimes most bizarre -- design challenges imaginable. Conceived by Toronto VMUG leaders Eric Wright and Angelo Luciani, along with creative director Melissa Palmer, the event has become a community phenomenon.
The competition is "scaling out" said Wright, to address the popularity and interest level in the industry, and is holding a live event this week as part of Interop Las Vegas. The vDM team will issue a two-part challenge live from the Expo Floor at Booth 1007. Challenge announcements, judging, and additional community presentations will also be streamed on the vDM website.
Virtual Design Master was conceived to engage virtualization professionals in the community to come up with innovative infrastructure designs. Held as a series of challenges where contestants with the best designs advance, vDM demands creativity as well as technical skill. The challenge scenarios invite competitors to leverage IT to help humans survive in a post-apocalyptic world. True to Interop's heritage, Interop Live vDM will be the first network-oriented series for the competition. Like all vDM events, it will feature unique requirements and detailed constraints, but it will also allow competitors to show their skills both to the audience on the show floor and online.
First prize is $500, courtesy of Rene Van Den Bedem (VCDX133), virtualization guru and mentor. Second place will take home $250, and both winners will receive a networking book of their choice from a collection including Networking for VMware Administrators by Chris Wahl and Steve Pantol. Wahl, a vDM supporter from its inception, will be part of the fun as a guest judge of the competition.
There's still time to sign up before Tuesday's first challenge is issued, and you don't even need to be attending Interop to participate. Remote as well as in-person competitors should register on the vDM site. Wright says IT pros of all ability levels and backgrounds are encouraged to join. "You don't need to be a network guru for this, but you may become one as a result!" he enthused.
Participants will receive the first of two challenges on Tuesday at 4:00 pm PDT. They will have until 10:00 am the following morning to submit their solutions, and will defend their designs live at 1:00 pm. Finalists will be chosen to move on to the second challenge. Live defense of the final challenge is scheduled for Thursday at 1:00 pm PDT, during which the first Interop Live Virtual Design Master will be selected and awarded.
The vDM team also has community sessions on OpenStack, SDN and navigating the tech community. Stop by the booth or watch the live feed for the following (all times are PDT):
- Tuesday, April 28 at 2:30 pm: All About OpenStack
- Tuesday, April 28 at 6:30 pm: Getting the Most out of the Tech Community
- Wednesday, April 29 at 11:30 am: OpenStack for Enterprise
- Wednesday, April 29 at 3:30 pm: Community Panel on Orchestration
- Thursday, April 30 at 11:30 am: Community Panel on SDN
Whether you're diving into the competition or learning from the community, Interop Live vDM provides a unique way to connect with your IT peers. Sign up and join the fun, meet the team at Booth 1007, or tune into the videocast. And check out Network Computing, as well as @Interop and @vdmchallenge on Twitter, for up-to-the-minute coverage of the action as the week unfolds.