Unikernels are small, lightweight, single address space operating systems with the kernel included as a library within the application. Because unikernels run a single application, there is no sharing or competition for resources among different applications, improving performance and security. Unikernels have thus far seen limited production deployment. This project aims to turn the Linux kernel into a unikernel with the following characteristics: 1) are easily compiled for any application, 2) use battle-tested, production Linux and glibc code, 3) allow the entire upstream Linux developer community to maintain and develop the code, and 4) provide applications normally running vanilla Linux to benefit from unikernel performance and security advantages. The paper Unikernels: The Next Stage of Linux’s Dominance was presented at HotOS XVII, The 17th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems, 2019.
For more information on the unique partnership that produced it, please see the website of the Red Hat Collaboratory at Boston University as well as the article by Ali and Parul in Red Hat Research Quarterly magazine Volume 1, Issue 2.