A Discussion of The Operational Challenges With Unikernels


[from the original at: http://www.morethanseven.net/2015/08/21/operating-unikernel-challenges]

What are Unikernels
Most of this post assumes a basic understanding of what unikernels are so I’d recommend reading Unikernels – the rise of the virtual library operating system before moving on.

Why are Unikernels interesting
As a starting point: complexity. Managing infrastructure, and the software that runs on it, is too complicated. You can impose organisational rules to control this complexity (we only deploy on Debian, we only run JVM applications, the only allowed database is MySQL) but that limits you in other ways too, and in reality is nearly always broken somewhere in any non-trivial environment (this appliance uses Ubuntu, this software is only certified on Windows, PostgreSQL doesn’t run on the JVM). So you turn to software to manage that complexity; Puppet or Chef do a great job of allowing configuration complexity to be managed in code (where you can test it) and Docker allows for bundles of complexity to be isolated from other bundles of complexity. But there are still an awful lot of moving parts.

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