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Published on Aug 27, 2015
Richard Mortier, PhD, Systems Research Group at the Cambridge University Computer Lab
The Mirage OS is an open-source library operating system that compiles code written in the OCaml functional language into a variety of hardware backends, most notably specialized unikernels that run directly on the Xen hypervisor. Mirage is particularly useful for building safe, reliable OS components such as storage or networked daemons. Instead of having to manage complex deployments such as a LAMP stack (with the associated security headaches), Mirage offers the opportunity to "compile your own cloud" from a set of protocol libraries. For example, the Mirage website is provided using DNS and HTTP servers running as distinct cloud-hosted unikernels, coordinated via the Irminsule storage stack which uses Git as its communications protocol. Deployment relies uses the Travis continuous integration tool to commit the entire compiled images to (e.g.,) Github from which they can be automatically deployed. In this talk I will describe the architecture of Mirage, present some benchmark results comparing the performance of our unikernels to traditional applications such as Apache, BIND and OpenSSH, run through the deployment workflow benefits it brings, and present our latest results using Mirage for low-latency deployments to low-power small form-factor ARM boards.
Richard Mortier is a member of faculty in the Systems Research Group at the Cambridge University Computer Lab. Past work includes Internet routing, distributed system performance analysis, network management, aesthetic designable machine-readable codes, and home networking. He works in the intersection of systems and networking with human-computer interaction, and is currently focused on how to build user-centric systems infrastructure that enables people to better support themselves in a ubiquitous computing world through Human-Data Interaction.