Lightweight Mirage OS maximizes features for secure, cost-effective and high-performance cloud and mobile services
SAN FRANCISCO, December 9, 2013 – The Xen Project, a Collaborative Project hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced the first release of Mirage OS. Mirage OS v1.0 is a unikernel for constructing secure, cost-effective and high-performance network applications that run across a variety of cloud computing and mobile platforms. The Xen Project today is also announcing that ARM is joining the project.
Most applications running in the cloud are not optimized to do so. They inherently carry assumptions about the underlying operating system, which results in larger footprints with increased costs and risks. Mirage OS represents a new approach where only the necessary components of the operating system are included and compiled along with the application code into a unikernel, or single-purpose appliance. While users still need a complete operating system for their hypervisor, they can use Mirage OS to create virtual instances to support efficient and lean applications that can be quickly deployed directly to the cloud and embedded devices.
Mirage OS runs directly on the Xen Project hypervisor, which allows unikernel appliances to be deployed to many leading cloud platforms and makes applications run faster and more efficiently than ever. Since many public clouds like Amazon EC2, Rackspace Cloud, and many others run on Xen Project, Mirage lets servers run more cost-effectively, securely and faster in any Xen Project based cloud or hosting service. Mirage OS is open source and is currently a Xen ”incubated project” and is expected to graduate next year. It is an open source project led by Dr. Anil Madhavapeddy of the Systems Research Group at the University of Cambridge. Additional contributors include developers from Citrix, the FreeBSD Core Team, Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, RCUK and OCamlPro.
“Mirage OS will accelerate the deployment of new cloud and mobile applications, allowing for a whole new set of services to be introduced that are lightweight, scalable and secure,” said Dr. Anil Madhavapeddy. “We’re excited about this work and the collaboration with Xen Project.”
“Mirage OS is an important component of the Xen Project. It addresses the efficiency and scalability required to support the latest cloud and mobile applications,” said Lars Kurth, community manager, The Xen Project. “With the release of Mirage OS v1.0, we expect a flurry of innovation in the area of new cloud and mobile services.”
"Because of its conceptual simplicity, efficiency, type-safe security, and especially its small footprint, the usefulness of Mirage OS in cloud and mobile apps is enormous," said Dr. Peter G. Neumann, Fellow and Senior Principal Scientist at the not-for-profit SRI International. "I'd predict that developers will be beating down the door to explore and deploy this important technology."
Example use cases for Mirage OS include hosting a high-performance website appliance running directly on the Xen Project hypervisor instead of a full operating system or enabling administrators to simply and securely deploy network traffic monitors or isolated virtual switches into lightweight virtual machines. Mirage OS will run on x86 and ARM systems and users can deploy projects to any of the leading cloud platforms running the Xen Project hypervisor.
The Xen Project today is also announcing that ARM Holdings is joining the project as a member.
ARM designs the technology that is at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive semiconductor IP portfolio, together with the company’s broad partner community, provides a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies.
“The Xen Project is built from the ground up with open source best practices and is increasingly deployed in applications targeted by our customers, including servers, networking infrastructure and embedded,” said Casey Axe, director, Software Alliances, ARM. “We’re looking forward to contributing to the Xen Project and working with other industry leaders.”
About Xen Project
The Xen Project is an open source virtualization platform licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel. Designed from the start for cloud computing, the project has more than a decade of development and is being used by more than 10 million users. Collaborative Project at The Linux Foundation, the Xen Project is focused on advancing virtualization in a number of different commercial and open source applications including server virtualization, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), desktop virtualization, security applications, embedded and hardware appliances. It counts many industry and open source community leaders among its members including: Amazon Web Services, AMD, ARM, Bromium, Calxeda, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix, Google, Intel, Oracle, Samsung and Verizon. For more information about the Xen Project and participate, please visit http://xenproject.org.