EMC has announced the release of UniK (pronounced you-neek), an open source orchestration tool designed to bring unikernel functionality to application platforms. The new tool would allows applications to be deployed securely and with minimal footprint across a variety of cloud providers, embedded devices (IoT), as well as a developer laptop or workstation.
By releasing UniK as a collaborative open source project, EMC expects the tool to help bring customers closer to cloud native application platforms through the choice of running applications with containers or unikernels.
The release of UniK is the latest project in a series of EMC contributions to the open source community designed to help accelerate collaboration on and adoption of key infrastructure technologies for the modern data center.
Unikernels are specialized, lightweight kernels and bootable operating system images that are tuned specifically to running applications. The unikernel represents the smallest subset of code required to run the application, enabling application portability with smaller footprints, less overhead, smaller attack surfaces and faster boot times than traditional operating systems.
These single-purpose images can be deployed for production on hypervisors, cloud platforms and embedded devices. Unikernels as discrete virtual machines embrace innate advantages of reliability, availability and security that virtualization provides. Additionally, the efficiencies of unikernels are complimentary to running applications on IoT devices.
Application and container platforms including Cloud Foundry, Docker and Kubernetes are enabling organizations to build and operate applications in new ways. These emerging platforms all focus on container technology to encapsulate applications. Unikernels through its efficiencies brings a compelling set of capabilities for these applications. UniK bridges the gap between these modern application platforms and unikernels.
The EMC UniK key features would include:
- Ability to integrate with multiple back-end open source platforms to compile, package and deploy applications
- Brings efficiency and security to applications on modern platforms and IoT devices
- Simplification of development and operation of applications that employ unikernels
- Supports developing and operating applications with hypervisors running locally and in data centers
- Support for common hypervisor and cloud providers
“Unikernels are completely self-contained, have fewer layers of code and are much simpler to reason about,” said John Roese, CTO and Senior Vice President, EMC Corporation. “With unikernels picking up steam in the community thanks to attention from Docker and others, developers are seeking to capture benefits that include lighter weight code stacks and a reduced surface area for security intrusions—particularly important for developing apps in the cloud and for IoT devices. EMC is the first organization to make this possible by bringing UniK to the open source community, offering developers the ability to compile an operating system and run it on virtually any cloud platform. We believe that offering UniK to the open source community will help accelerate innovation with unikernels.”