Demystifying Open-Source Orchestration of Unikernels With Unik

Demystifying Open-Source Orchestration of Unikernels With Unik

Similar to the way Docker builds and orchestrates containers, UniK automates compilation of popular languages into unikernels.


As the cloud-native ecosystem continues to evolve, many alternative solutions are popping-up, that challenges the status quo of application deployment methodologies. One of these solutions that is quickly gaining traction is Unikernels, which are executable images that can run natively on a hypervisor without the need for a separate operating system.

For cloud-native platforms to integrate unikernels into their ecosystem, they are required to provide unikernels with the same services they provide for containers. In this post, we are going to introduce UniK, an open-source orchestration system for unikernels.

UniK (pronounced you-neek) is a tool for simplifying compilation and orchestration of unikernels. Similar to the way Docker builds and orchestrates containers, UniK automates compilation of popular languages (C/C++, Golang, Java, Node.js. Python) into unikernels. UniK deploys unikernels as virtual machines on various cloud platforms.

UniK Design

The UniK Daemon consists of 3 major components.

  • The API server
  • Compilers
  • Providers

The API Server handles requests from the CLI or any HTTP Client, then determines which is the appropriate provider and/or compiler to service the request.

When the API Server receives a build request (POST /images/:image_name/create), it calls the specified compiler to build the raw image, and then passes the raw image to the specified provider, which processes the raw image with the Stage() method, turning it into an infrastructure-specific bootable image (e.g. an Amazon AMI on AWS)

Let's go ahead and try spinning up a unikernel ourselves.


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