Unikernels, Unikernels, Unikernels ... DockerCon !!!

Cutting to rhe chase ... my DockerCon Unikernels talk video and slides are now available

It's the end of a series for me, a fairly tough 6 months of working holidays and weekends to advance on Container Orchestration and Unikernels by presenting in conferences, so finally a blog post or two.

After our Container Orchestration and labs (with Haikel Guemar, Mario Loriedo) at LinuxCon/ContainerCon in Berlin last October I decided to investigate Unikernels.

I was intrigued by reports of "7 Unikernel Projects to Take On Docker in 2015",
and then Dockers' "purchase of Unikernel Systems" in Jan 2016,
closely followed by Brian Cantrills' post "Unikernels are unfit for production"
and very interesting discussions on "Hacker News".

Bryan can be deliciously outspoken by the way ...

The culmination of this initial investigation was being able to present at DockerCon 2017 in Austin in April.
That was such an amazing opportunity for me and I have to say a big thanks to those who supported me on this (My long suffering wife, Paulina, of course !! Christian Schutz, Bruno Cornec, Patrick Masse at HPE, Jenny Burcio and Victor Coisne at Docker Inc) and thanks also to Amir Chaudhry, Mindy Preston and Heidi Howard of the MirageOS team for their encouragement at the event.

The talk video and slides are now available

There were a few steps along the road to DockerCon ...

From that initial interest in Unikernels I decided to respond to a few call for papers and was initially accepted at DevConf.cz, so to warm up I did a  "Docker Grenoble" Meetup to prepare.  Thanks to those who participated to that "alpha release" presentation ... and for the great comments and questions.

Slides at https://www.slideshare.net/MichaelBright3/2017-jan19-meetupunikernels.

Shortly after came DevConf.czhttps://devconf.cz/, at Brno in the Czech Republic close to RedHat's European center of engineering.  This was my first, but hopefully not last time attending or presenting at DevConf.cz.  The first day started with Mario and I running our Container Orchestration lab.  On the morning of my Unikernels presentation I was preparing in my hotel room when I started to see tweets about a Unikernels debate between Steve Pousty "OpenShift Developer Advocate" and Dan Walsh "Mr. SELinux".  The tweets had me thinking there was quite an anti-Unikernel sentiment at the conference which was a little worrying - in fact I've since watched the video and seen that Steve brilliantly argued that Unikernels are worth investigating ...

Slides at https://www.slideshare.net/MichaelBright3/2017-jan29-devconfczunikernels

I had the chance to present on NFV, and Docker tools presentations and Docker 101 ad Orchestration labs with Bruno Cornec at HPE TSS in Cannes in February ... but no Unikernels.  I was amazed one afternoon to check my e-mail to see a mail from Jenny Burcio and Victor Coisne telling me I'd been accepted to give a talk at DockerCon ... very important to me !

I scurried back to Grenoble on the Thursday evening just in time to be able to present on Unikernels at Snowcamp.iohttps://snowcamp.io/2017/en/welcome in Grenoble.  Thanks to the Snowcamp team for that opportunity.

Slides at here https://www.slideshare.net/MichaelBright3/2017-feb10-snowcampiounikernels

In March HPE TES (aka "HPE High Performance Computing and Open Source Linux Technical Excellence Symposium 2017") I had the chance to present on Unikernels,

The official slides are not available, but were based on this slide set on github

So after a series of quite different presentations, some with no demo, some with one demo and the Snowcamp.io presentation where I feverishly created some demos whilst watching the previous speaker session .... I was ready to present at DockerCon.

Despite the initial intention to show several Unikernel technologies, I decided that this wouldn't work in my 20 min slot (well no one was after me so I stole 29 mins in the end ...).

I decided to give an overview of the technologies and follow this with a demo of an example MirageOS unikernel for a DNS server (a modified version of the example https://github.com/mirage/mirage-skeleton/tree/master/applications/dns) showing
- how "mirage configure -t unix" could be used to build a standard Linux executable of the application
- how "mirage configure -t ukvm" could be used to build a bootable unikernel image (no OS folks !) of the application
- running the unikernel locally under ukvm
- running the unikernel under Google Compute Engine

Note: There is no currently available IaaS which is ideally suited to running Unikernels, with GCE it was necessary to create an image with 1Gby disk for example, but the point was to show that the Unikernel technology is there even if the IaaS aren't ready yet.

That's it folks, thanks to all those who contributed in different ways, it's really appreciated !

Next up is a Container Orchestration lab with Haikel, and a Jupyter-in-depth lab with Matthias Buissonier of the Jupyter core team at PyConUS next week in Portland, Oregon.

After that a bit of rest before reflecting on how to get to DockerCon Europe ...