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Unikernels are a growing technology movement that augment existing virtual machine and container deployments with compact, single-purpose appliances.
Two main flavours exist: clean-slate unikernels, often language-specific, such as MirageOS (OCaml, https://mirage.io) and HaLVM (Haskell); and more evolutionary unikernels that leverage existing OS technology recreated in library form, notably Rump Kernel (http://rumpkernel.org) used to build Rumprun unikernels.
To date, these have been something of a specialist game: promising technology, but requiring considerable effort and expertise to actually deploy. After a brief introduction for newcomers to unikernels, we will demonstrate the great strides that have been taken recently to integrate unikernels with existing deployments. Specifically, we will show various ways in which Rumprun and MirageOS unikernels can be used to deploy a LAMP stack, all managed using the popular Docker toolchain (
docker build …,
docker run … and the Docker Hub).
The result is that unikernels can be used to augment and evolve existing Linux container- and VM-based deployments one microservice at a time. We no longer need a revolution — Welcome to the Evolution!
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Anil is a Horizon Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He has worked in a variety of senior architecture, engineering, product management, sales and "whatever it takes" roles in industry