A Linux in unikernel clothing

Hsuan Chi Kuo, Dan Williams, Ricardo Koller, Sibin Mohan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Unikernels leverage library OS architectures to run isolated workloads on the cloud. They have garnered attention in part due to their promised performance characteristics such as small image size, fast boot time, low memory footprint and application performance. However, those that aimed at generality fall short of the application compatibility, robustness and, more importantly, community that is available for Linux. In this paper, we describe and evaluate Lupine Linux, a standard Linux system that-Through kernel configuration specialization and system call overhead elimination-Achieves unikernel-like performance, in fact outperforming at least one reference unikernel in all of the above dimensions. At the same time, Lupine can run any application (since it is Linux) when faced with more general workloads, whereas many unikernels simply crash. We demonstrate a graceful degradation of unikernel-like performance properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2020
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450368827
StatePublished - Apr 15 2020
Event15th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2020 - Heraklion, Greece
Duration: Apr 27 2020Apr 30 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 15th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2020


Conference15th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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