Evolving the Unikernel Revolution
From revolution to evolution!

I’ve had the pleasure of giving a couple of talks at some fun venues recently, extolling both the virtues of unikernels and talking a bit about where we currently see them as usefully being deployed.

Specifically, Operability.io 2016 a couple of weeks ago was enlightening about some of the problems faced in operating production systems. Some great audience questions and follow-ups after the talk, including some who were even wondering when we’ll see unikernels as ready for the desktop! Of course, with the release of the Docker for Mac and [Docker for Windows][dfw] products, it’s arguable that we’ve beaten Linux to that accolade, as both products make extensive use of MirageOS unikernel libraries. Having said that, I was pleased to be told that the message about unikernels having a range of deployment scenarios, and particularly partial deployments into micro-service environments made sense to many who came to speak to me afterwards.

This was followed by a slightly expanded version of that talk earlier today at the Devox Belgium conference. Devoxx is primarily a Java community so I was interested to see how the talk would go down given that MirageOS is staunchly OCaml-centric, and the unikernels movement in general is language specific and (at least until now) somewhat weighted toward functional programming, our good friends at IncludeOS notwithstanding. In the end it seemed to go pretty well, based on what little I could see through the bright lights– maybe one day I’ll get used to that when being videoed! Certainly some good questions again, on the specific utility of unikernels to IoT, the relationship between unikernels and Docker, and more besides.

Anyway, I hope anyone who came to either talk enjoyed it and found it interesting. Happy to respond to comments or questions via email or on Twitter!

Copyright © 2009–2016 Richard Mortier