EMC Bets on Unikernels with Open Source UniK

EMC has unveiled UniK, an open source orchestrator tool designed to simplify the creation of unikernels for cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) environments.

The company says UniK, which it announced on May 24, makes it easy for developers to compile applications into unikernels for deployment on the cloud or IoT devices.

UniK works by providing a command-line interface, with the goal of “making building unikernels as easy as building containers,” according to developers. The tool includes an API for integrating with open source build management systems and is designed to work with multiple types of architectures, programming languages, compilers and cloud environments, according to EMC.

With the UniK launch, it appears EMC hopes to make unikernels a more realistic solution for companies deploying apps in the cloud or for IoT devices.

“Unikernels are completely self-contained, have fewer layers of code and are much simpler to reason about,” said John Roese, CTO and senior vice president at EMC. “Developers are seeking to capture benefits that include lighter-weight code stacks and a reduced surface area for security intrusions—particularly important for developing apps in the cloud and for IoT devices.”

The company also says it is aiming to spur open source collaboration on the technology through the release of UniK, which is available on GitHub under an Apache 2.0 license.

“EMC is the first organization to make this possible by bringing UniK to the open source community, offering developers the ability to compile an operating system and run it on virtually any cloud platform,” Roese said. “We believe that offering UniK to the open source community will help accelerate innovation with unikernels.”

To be sure, unikernels have not yet become a big part of the DevOps or container conversation. Apart from Docker’s acquisition of Unikernel Systems in January, they have made few big headlines at all. But EMC is now entering this market in a real way, suggesting the technology soon will join containers as a key part of the solution for agile development and deployment within production environments.

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has covered technology and business news for nearly a decade, specializing in open source, containers, big data, networking and security. He is currently Senior Editor and DevOps Analyst with Fixate.io and Sweetcode.io.

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