Unikernels to Optimise your Cloud Applications

Unikernels to Optimise your Cloud Applications

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By Wisse Hettinga

The technology startup Unikraft, conceived and incubated by NEC Laboratories Europe, optimizes cloud applications transparently, lowering cloud spend by up to 50%

Unikraft technology separates an operating system into elementary pieces; these can then be individually selected to build lightweight, specialized images called unikernels that are tailored to the needs of specific cloud applications. Dr. Felipe Huici, former Chief Researcher at NEC Laboratories Europe and now CEO and Co-Founder of Unikraft explains: “The potential of unikernels has been known for a while, but they have also been infamously difficult to use, and have had very poor support for mainstream applications. With Unikraft we are building extremely accelerated stacks that can run unmodified applications, leading to significant reduction in cloud spend. We’re also working on transparent integration with cloud ecosystem tools such as Kubernetes, so that clients do not have to change anything in their build/deploy pipelines – essentially Unikraft works as a drop-in replacement that transparently accelerates cloud workloads.”

Started in 2017 as a NEC Laboratories Europe project, Unikraft was developed with the support of The Linux Foundation and has established a large, open source community. Huici adds, “Unikraft operates under an open core model, and so the Unikraft Linux Foundation project is essential to our company. As of today, the Unikraft project has more than 1.2K stargazers and over 700 Discord members, and these numbers are constantly growing.”

Unikraft is the first graduate of NEC Laboratories Europe’s technology spin-off incubation and acceleration program. The program is designed to bring high-potential technology to market that falls outside the core business of NEC. Conceived by NEC Laboratories Europe, the program is a springboard for inventors who want to pursue their technology aspirations as entrepreneurs outside of NEC.

Roberto Baldessari, General Manager of Administration at NEC Laboratories Europe and head of its technology spin-off acceleration program said: “I am delighted that our program has already generated a successful technology startup. This demonstrates the top-notch value and commitment of Unikraft’s founders but also that NEC Laboratories Europe is home to world-class scientists developing original technology who are capable of generating new business opportunities. We are proud to support inventors that want to pursue their technology ambitions and create business impact, either through a large corporation like the NEC Group or as entrepreneurs

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