Set the Configuration for the Heart of the OS: On the Practicality of Operating System Kernel Debloating

Hsuan Chi Kuo, Jianyan Chen, Sibin Mohan, Tianyin Xu

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

Abstract

This paper presents a study on the practicality of operating system (OS) kernel debloating-reducing kernel code that is not needed by the target applications-in real-world systems. Despite their significant benefits regarding security (attack surface reduction) and performance (fast boot times and reduced memory footprints), the state-of-the-art OS kernel debloating techniques are seldom adopted in practice, especially in production systems. We identify the limitations of existing kernel debloating techniques that hinder their practical adoption, including both accidental and essential limitations. To understand these limitations, we build an advanced debloating framework named Cozart which enables us to conduct a number of experiments on different types of OS kernels (including Linux and the L4 microkernel) with a wide variety of applications (including HTTPD, Memcached, MySQL, NGINX, PHP and Redis). Our experimental results reveal the challenges and opportunities towards making kernel debloating techniques practical for realworld systems. The main goal of this paper is to share these insights and our experiences to shed light on addressing the limitations of kernel debloating in future research and development efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAbstracts of the 2020 SIGMETRICS/Performance Joint International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages87-88
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781450379854
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 8 2020
Event2020 SIGMETRICS/Performance Joint International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems, SIGMETRICS 2020 - Boston, United States
Duration: Jun 8 2020Jun 12 2020

Conference

Conference2020 SIGMETRICS/Performance Joint International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems, SIGMETRICS 2020
CountryUnited States
CityBoston
Period6/8/206/12/20

Keywords

  • configuration
  • debloating
  • kernel
  • operating system
  • os
  • specialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

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  • Cite this

    Kuo, H. C., Chen, J., Mohan, S., & Xu, T. (2020). Set the Configuration for the Heart of the OS: On the Practicality of Operating System Kernel Debloating. In Abstracts of the 2020 SIGMETRICS/Performance Joint International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems (pp. 87-88). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3393691.3394215