Rethinking Cloud Infrastructure

What are unikernels?

Unikernels are specialised, single-address-space machine images constructed by using library operating systems.

Unikernels shrink the attack surface and resource footprint of cloud services. They are built by compiling high-level languages directly into specialised machine images that run directly on a hypervisor, such as Xen, or on bare metal. Since hypervisors power most public cloud computing infrastructure such as Amazon EC2, this lets your services run more cheaply, more securely and with finer control than with a full software stack.

Unikernels provide many benefits compared to a traditional OS, including improved security, smaller footprints, more optimisation and faster boot times.

Improved security

Unikernels reduce the amount of code deployed, which reduces the attack surface, improving security.

Small footprints

Unikernel images are often orders of magnitude smaller than traditional OS deployments.

Highly optimised

The unikernel compilation model enables whole-system optimisation across device drivers and application logic.

Fast Boot

Unikernels can boot extremely quickly, with boot times measured in milliseconds.