Online / 6 & 7 February 2021


Severely Debloating Cloud Images with Unikraft

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way we think about IT infrastructure: Another web server? More database capacity? Resources for your artificial intelligence use case? Just spin-up another instance and you are good to go. While most cloud images (e.g., AMIs on Amazon EC2) are meant to run a single service (e.g., nginx), for convenience these tend to be built on top of general-purpose OSes and full distributions, often resulting in GB-sized images that sometimes only need to perform a simple task such as serving static web pages. One of the main contributing factors to this status quo is the myriad kernel inter-dependencies, rendering debloating of a Linux kernel image far from trivial. In this talk we will show results from a proof-of-concept deployment on Amazon EC2 using Unikraft, a fully modular library OS that makes it easy to remove unneeded components, and to optimize the remaining ones. On EC2, a Unikraft nginx image is able to outperform an nginx Debian image by 2x in terms of requests/sec when serving static content, all the while consuming 1/6 of the memory (we will show a brief Unikraft demo). Unikraft is an open source Xen Project incubator under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.


Photo of Simon Kuenzer Simon Kuenzer