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Unikernels made Simple
EMC-Advanced-Dev
www.github.com/emc-advanced-dev
Idit Levine
CTO of Cloud Platform
Team, EMC
@idit_levine
Scott Weiss
Software Engineer,
EMC
@ilackarms
Yuval Kohavi
Software Engineer,
EMC
@ilackarms
You will need
• Virtualbox
• Docker
• Git
If you haven’t already…
If you haven’t already…
• Make sure docker is running and…
Be Warned…
Unikernels are a controversial topic
This talk will challenge some prevailing notions
about Containers and Linux
Containers
Unikernels
Some people have
strong feelings about this topic
Revolutionary technology
always creates controversy
So..
What are Unikernels?
Unikernels: an Introduction
What are Unikernels?
• Cross-compile existing
applications into secure,
lightweight machine images
• Boot virtual machines or
bare-metal directly from a
Unikernel – the OS is ‘baked in’
• The application is the kernel
Unikernels
• Single address space, single-process operating
system
• No virtual memory
• No context switching
• No usermode/kernelmode
No Underlying OS
means Lightweight
Single Address Space
means Fast
Single-Process
means Secure
“Immutable Infrastructure”
.. Is finally realized with Unikernels!
Don’t provision servers -- Compile them!
Overall
• No underlying OS means fewer layers
• Which means less complexity
• We think that’s a good thing!
Drawbacks & Criticisms
• Debugging isn’t easy
• Unikernels are platform-specific
• Unikernels can’t fork()
• Difficulty of use
When SHOULDN’T you use a Unikernel?
When your application is a Monolith
Down to Business
What is UniK?
A tool to make building, running, and debugging unikernels easy!
Drawbacks & Criticisms
• Debugging isn’t easy
• Unikernels are platform-specific
• Unikernels can’t fork()
• Difficulty of use
Opportunities for Innovation
Debugging
• Bake GDB Debugger into image
• Capture Application Stdout/Stderr (logs)
Debugging…
And remember…
Smaller stack
Means less to debug
Drawbacks & Criticisms
• Debugging isn’t easy
• Unikernels are platform-specific
• Unikernels can’t fork()
• Difficulty of use
Opportunities for Innovation
(not perfect, but we’ve got a start)
Cross-Platform
UniK cross-compiles!
The same app, any infrastructure
Supported infrastructures:
vSphere, Virtualbox, Xen, QEMU
More coming soon! (Openstack, GCE, KVM)
Drawbacks & Criticisms
• Debugging isn’t easy
• Unikernels are platform-specific
• Unikernels can’t fork()
• Difficulty of use
Opportunities for Innovation
(not perfect, but we’ve got a start)
UniK does the
heavy lifting
fork()
Still no fork
UniK is easy to use
With a Docker-Like CLI
UniK is easy to use
comprehensive documentation
UniK is easy to use
all backed by a RESTful API
Drawbacks & Criticisms
• Debugging isn’t easy
• Unikernels are platform-specific
• Unikernels can’t fork()
• Difficulty of use
Opportunities for Innovation
(not perfect, but we’ve got a start)
UniK does the
heavy lifting
So get out your laptops
Let’s build us some unikernels!

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UniK: Deploy Unikernels with Ease