Xen Project’s MirageOS Expands its Ecosystem in Latest Release

The Xen Project, a project hosted at The Linux Foundation, has announced the release of MirageOS v3.0. The new version includes support and tooling that allows MirageOS unikernels to target additional hypervisors such as KVM and FreeBSD’s bhyve.

The current generation of cloud computing requires workloads that are efficient, fast and secure. Unikernels would allow developers to include only the bare minimum of traditional operating system components to create lean, efficient, and fast-to-boot applications, whether they are working with microservices, embedded devices, or IoT. The open source MirageOS ecosystem now consists of hundreds of these systems building blocks that can be combined with application code into single-purpose unikernels or be used as components.

Xen Project’s MirageOS 3.0 also provides building blocks that can be used within traditional applications for advanced features and capabilities like out-of-the-box VPN support in native applications.


xen project“Interest in unikernels continues to grow, and with the release of MirageOS v3.0, including the contribution of KVM support from IBM research, developers can enjoy an expanded set of target platforms,” said Fintan Ryan, industry analyst at RedMonk. “With MirageOS in widespread usage as a key component of Docker for Mac and Windows, and Docker Inc’s ongoing support of the project, the MirageOS ecosystem looks well placed for a strong future.”

MirageOS v3.0 adds new targets for virtio and ukvm via the Solo5 unikernel base contributed by IBM. The virtio target allows deployment of unikernels onto KVM/QEMU and FreeBSD’s bhyve. The new ukvm target extends the unikernel philosophy of modularity and “only what is required” to the next layer down, creating a monitor with thinner interfaces that are specialised to the guest unikernel.

MirageOS is an open source project led by Dr. Anil Madhavapeddy of the Systems Research Group at the University of Cambridge. Additional contributors include developers from Citrix, Docker, IBM, the FreeBSD Core Team, Galois, Jane Street, OCamlPro, and a growing number of individual contributors

“Unikernels are emerging in response to needs for an ever-more responsive and secure cloud,” said Giovanni Pacifici, Vice President of Cloud and Cognitive Platform, IBM Research. “This technology has the potential to influence cloud applications, serverless computing, network function virtualization, and Internet of Things, making these platforms more efficient and secure. IBM Research is excited to be part of the MirageOS 3.0 release. Through contributions like the Solo5 unikernel base and ‘ukvm’, we are helping lay the foundation for new ways of using the cloud in the cognitive era.”

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