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Re: [Xen-devel] [Xen-API] [RFC] Unicore Subproject Proposal

On 11 Sep 2017, at 13:08, Simon Kuenzer <simon.kuenzer@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Just my 2 cents:
>> 1. Is this academic project, or it have specific goals and areas of 
>> application? Would be good to have some practical use-cases and well 
>> formulated list of problems (we all feel these by guts, but...), it aiming 
>> to solve. IMHO that will help to prioritize functionality and get usable 
>> result faster :)
> It is kind of both, however we aim a strong focus on real world problems: 
> IoT, Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), Automotive, Virtual Network Functions 
> (VNFs), and others.
> We have played with many Unikernels (ClickOS, Mirage, Rump, OSv, and others) 
> and tried to apply them in the several areas. While doing this, we noticed 
> that each area benefits differently from the properties that Unikernels give 
> - which is great (e.g., instant boot times for MEC, high performance for NFV, 
> resource efficiency for IoT). However, building and maintaining new 
> Unikernels (as we did with ClickOS, MiniCache, and Minipython) is currently 
> painful.
> Because of different focuses on properties and ported/implemented 
> applications, most Unikernel today are bound to their own OS layers (e.g., 
> ClickOS uses a different Mini-OS than Mirage). Each application requires a 
> different subset of OS layers but also enables different optimizations of 
> them.
> In order to solve this, we came up with the Unicore proposal. But I agree 
> with your suggestion at this point: It helps for the project start to focus 
> on some initial areas. For now, I hope this is driven by the first 
> contributors, and I have personally IoT in mind. Since the project goal is so 
> ambitious, we should keep the long-term goal in mind from the beginning.

Thanks very much for kicking off this initiative. Maintaining a forked MiniOS 
has been a multi-year source of a maintenance burden for MirageOS, and we would 
love to be more aligned with an upstream version and benefit from new features 
such as (e.g.) HVM booting.

From a MirageOS perspective, we'd be happy to switch to something that can give 
us just enough MiniOS for our ocaml-freestanding [1] code to boot on Xen.  One 
requirement from our side is that we need to strip down MiniOS to remove even 
the C xenstore implementation, since we have pure OCaml gnt, xenstore and 
device driver implementations.  We'd be happy to try out an alpha Unicore and 
let you know what is in excess to our needs as soon as you have something to 

So full support from MirageOS for this initiative!


[1] https://github.com/mirage/ocaml-freestanding/

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