PhD students Tom Goethals, Merlijn Sebrechts and Ankita Atrey receive Best Paper Award at SC2 2018

(29-01-2019) The 8th IEEE International Symposium on Cloud and Services Computing (SC2) took place from 19 to 22 November 2018 in Paris. Researchers of the Department of Information technology (EA05) won the Best Paper Award for their work on unikernels.

The work with title 'Unikernels vs Containers: An In-Depth Benchmarking Study in the context of Microservice Applications' of Tom Goethals, Merlijn Sebrechts, Ankita Atrey, Prof. Bruno Volckaert and Prof. Filip De Turck was selected for the Best Paper Award at SC2 2018.

Prof. Bruno Volckaert: Unikernels are a relatively recent way to create and quickly deploy extremely small virtual machines that do not require as much functional and operational software overhead as containers or virtual machines by leaving out unnecessary parts. This paradigm aims to replace bulky virtual machines on one hand, and to open up new classes of hardware for virtualization and networking applications on the other. In recent years, the tool chains used to create unikernels have grown from proof of concept to platforms that can run both new and existing software written in various programming languages. This work studies the performance (both execution time and memory footprint) of unikernels versus Docker containers in the context of REST services and heavy processing workloads, written in Java, Go, and Python. The results show that depending on the scenario, unikernel speed is equal to or much higher than that of containers, at the cost of more memory consumption. However, unikernel performance is far below that of containers in multithreaded applications, and they suffer from minor instabilities. Overall, the results are very promising, but these issues will need to be addressed for unikernels to become widely adopted.
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