Unikernels Still Alive? (2019-01-05)

During the widespread adoption of container technologies Unikernels have been seen for a very short while as potentiell successor technology. Docker bought Unikernel Systems in January 2016. After that it has been very quiet around the technology itself. There were some efforts for applying it to high performance computing but also in the HPC community it didn’t get popular. In Japanese compute clusters they experimented with McKernel. In Europe we have an EU funded project called Mikelangelo.

But there is some potential that Unikernels come back again. With the quick adoption of firecracker, a virtualizing technology that is able to start VMs in hundreds of milliseconds, unikernels build into VMs can be potentially orchestrated very well. Of course something which needs to be handcrafted and still put a lot of effort into but the major building blocks exist.

The very well known Unik project (which originated at Dell / EMC btw.) has added already support for firecracker. More information about how it works is described in this blog post.