Docker Announces Acquisition of Unikernel Systems to Extend the Breadth of the Docker Platform

Docker, the organization behind the open ‘Docker’ platform for distributed applications, has acquired Unikernel Systems – a Cambridge, UK-based company focused on unikernel development.

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 operating systems and modern day application-centric programming languages, the Unikernel Systems team would bring to Docker a rich heritage in developing next-generation infrastructure technologies.

Unikernels are designed to eliminate complexity and reduce footprint by compiling source code into a custom operating system that includes only the functionality required by the application logic. Aspects of unikernel technology are already broadly in use today in leading networking and storage solutions, as much of the Internet has been built on the idea of single function appliance with minimal OS infrastructure. Unikernel Systems has been building on these technology foundations to make unikernels more broadly adaptable and the tooling around them more available to the entire systems makers community.

docker applications“We are honored to have the Unikernel Systems team, with its incredible pedigree, join the Docker family,” said Solomon Hykes, founder and CTO of Docker. “Our shared vision to take transformative technology and make it accessible to a much wider audience has made the union a natural fit and it aligns with one of our core tenets to separate applications from infrastructure constraints. Through the Docker platform, unikernels will be on a ‘continuum’ with Linux and Windows containers, enabling users to create truly hybrid applications across all formats with a uniform workflow.”

Hybrid Applications 

By combining the familiar tooling and portability of Docker with the efficiency and specialization of next-generation unikernel technology, organizations would have a flexible platform to build, ship and run distributed applications without being restricted to a particular infrastructure. As workloads that reach the data center today are on a spectrum from physical machine to container to hypervisor, the Docker platform is able to further widen the scope and provide more flexibility for orchestrating hybrid applications.

“We are excited to be part of an organization and a community like Docker that will have such a positive impact on the work that our team and the broader unikernel community have accomplished thus far,” said Anil Madhavapeddy, co-founder and CTO of Unikernel Systems. “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.”