In this article, Kuenzer shows one of Unikraft’s multiple benefits: cutting cloud computing costs by half. A novel modular unikernel allows for extreme tailoring of your operating system to your application’s needs. A proof of concept, built on Unikraft, shows up to 50% efficiency improvements than standard Linux on AWS EC2.
He also explains how virtualization and containers have allowed us to deploy services without worrying about physical hardware constraints. As a result, most companies heavily rely on micro-services, which are individual servers highly specialized to perform a specific task.
He continues by saying that the problem is that general-purpose operating systems such as Linux struggle to keep pace with this growing trend towards specialization. The status quo is that most microservices are built on top of a complete Linux kernel and distribution.
Unikraft wants to be a revolutionary way forward, it has developed a truly modular unikernel common code base from which building tailored made (uni)kernels is orders of magnitude faster than in the past.
“Without Unikraft, you have to choose between unikernel projects that only work for a specific language or application, or projects that aim to support POSIX but do so while sacrificing performance and thus defeating the purpose of using unikernels in the first place”, according to Felipe Huici, one of the Unikraft team’s core contributors and also the UNICORE Technical Manager.
Huici explains how the Unikraft team is moving quickly. “We are currently working on a system to make the process of creating a Unikraft image as easy as online-shopping” – this includes analyzing the applications which are meant to run on top of it and providing a ready-to-use operating system that has everything the specific use case needs, and nothing more. “Why should we waste money, resources, and pollute the environment running software in the background that is not needed for a specific service?”