A small San Francisco based startup that you might just have heard of going by the name of Docker has just announced the acquisition of Unikernel Systems, a Cambridge based company who specialise in unikernel development.
Unikernel has its DNA in the Xen Project, an open-source virtualization platform which powers the majority of workloads on public clouds, and its developers are experienced next-generation infrastructure technologies. The point of unikernel systems is to eliminate complexity and shrink footprints by compiling source code into a bespoke operating system that includes only the functionality required by the application logic. Or, if you want a less long-winded explanation, they act to “remove the bloat that separates hardware from application.”
Whilst aspects of unikernel technology are already broadly in use today in leading networking and storage solutions, Unikernel Systems has been building on its established foundations to make them more broadly adaptable, with tooling around that’s accessible to the entire systems makers community.
Anil Madhavapeddy, co-founder and CTO of Unikernel Systems, added: “Similar to what Docker has done for Linux containers, by combining forces, we will be able to unlock the entire Docker ecosystem for use with unikernels, including orchestration and networking. The integration with Docker tooling will accelerate the progress of unikernels and enable users to choose how they ‘containerize’ and manage their application – from the data center to the cloud to the Internet of Things.”
With the efficiency of unikernel in the Docker mix, users will be able to blend the portability and tooling of the container technology to build, ship and run distributed applications without being tethered to a particular infrastructure.
Solomon Hykes, founder and CTO of Docker, commented: “Our shared vision to take transformative technology and make it accessible to a much wider audience has made the union a natural fit and it aligns with one of our core tenets to separate applications from infrastructure constraints. Through the Docker platform, unikernels will be on a ‘continuum’ with Linux and Windows containers, enabling users to create truly hybrid applications across all formats with a uniform workflow.”