Docker Buys Unikernel Developer Aimed at Reducing Operating System Footprint

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Docker Inc., the company behind the popular open-source containerization project Docker, has bought, Unikernel Systems, a company that is similarly synonymous with the Unikernel project aimed at creating stripped-down kernel images for microservice-based architectures.

While known largely for its work in containers, Docker shies away from narrowly defining its focus, calling itself “an open platform for distributed applications for developers and sysadmins.” This acquisition clearly illustrates Docker Inc.’s interest in technologies other than containers.

Unikernel Systems is based in Cambridge, UK, and includes early contributors to the Xen hypervisor, as well as developers with experience in operating systems and modern day application-centric programming languages. This staff will be integrated into the Docker team, and will continue to contribute to open source unikernel projects such as MirageOS, Rumprun and

Read more: Docker Buys Kitematic, a Startup Focused on Making it Easy to Run Docker on Macs

There are also examples of how Docker and Unikernel can work together, as demonstrated by Unikernel Systems’ Amir Chaudhry illustrated some of the possibilities of in a presentation at DockerCon EU last year. They used the Docker front-end to run clusters of Unikernel microservices that can run alongside Linux containers. This was done in the hopes of exposing Unikernel technology to more developers.

In a blog post, Mano Marks, Docker’s director of developer relations, wrote, “Unikernels are an important part of the future of the container ecosystem. Comprised of pioneers from the Xen project, the open-source virtualization platform that fuels the majority of workloads on public clouds, and developers with experience in modern day application-centric programming languages, the Unikernel Systems team brings to Docker vast knowledge and a rich heritage in developing next-generation infrastructure technologies.The Unikernel Systems team will continue to support the growing unikernel community while working closely with the rest of Docker to make sure unikernels integrate well with Docker tools.”

Read more: New Docker Program Recognizes Organizations that Turn Container Logs Into Valuable Insights

Unikernel Systems co-founder and CTO Anil Madhavapeddy said in a statement, “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.”

Chaudhry and Richard Mortier, who’s also from Unikernel Systems, will present at the upcoming Docker Online Meetup on Wednesday, Jan. 27th at 9 am PT (6 pm ET).


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