NEC Laboratories Europe recently demonstrated the effectiveness of its Unikraft technology by doubling the data throughput on a NGINX web server while running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This is compared to the same web server running on a Linux-based image. The result is equivalent to reducing server resource costs by half, as it enables the same data throughput (requests/sec.) with a smaller and cheaper instance.
Unikraft, a Linux Foundation open source project, achieves such rates through specialization; easily allowing users to build a custom operating system and software stack tailored to the needs of a specific application, and ready to deploy as an AWS image. Such unikernels have shown great promise and performance numbers (e.g., boot times of a few milliseconds, memory consumption of only a few MBs and high throughput), but their Achilles heel has been that they often require substantial expert work to create them, and that at least part of the work has to be redone for each additional application.
In stark contrast to other unikernel projects, Unikraft has developed a truly modular unikernel common code base. This makes building tailored-made (uni)kernels much faster than before.