Unikernels: The Next Stage of Linux’s Dominance

May 8, 2020

Unikernels have demonstrated enormous advantages over Linux in many important domains, causing some to propose that the days of Linux’s dominance may be coming to an end. On the contrary, we believe that unikernels’ advantages represent the next natural evolution for Linux, as it can adopt the best ideas from the unikernel approach and, along with its battle-tested codebase and large open source community, continue to dominate. In this paper, we posit that an upstreamable unikernel target is achievable from the Linux kernel, and, through an early Linux unikernel prototype, demonstrate that some simple changes can bring dramatic performance advantages.

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