IncludeOS: A minimal, resource efficient unikernel for cloud services


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IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing Technology and Science;2015



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The emergence of cloud computing as a ubiquitous platform for elastically scaling services has generated need and opportunity for new types of operating systems. A service that needs to be both elastic and resource efficient needs A) highly specialized components, and B) to run with minimal resource overhead. Classical general purpose operating systems designed for extensive hardware support are by design far from meeting these requirements. In this paper we present IncludeOS, a single tasking library operating system for cloud services, written from scratch in C++. Key features include: extremely small disk-and memory footprint, efficient asynchronous I/O, OS-library where only what your service needs gets included, and only one device driver by default (virtio). As a test case a bootable disk image consisting of a simple DNS server with OS included is shown to require only 158 kb of disk space and to require 5-20% less CPU-time, depending on hardware, compared to the same binary running on Linux.


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