The Search for the Killer App of Unikernels

When a radically different technology comes along it usually takes time before we figure out how to apply it. When we had steam engines running factories there was one engine in each factory with a giant driveshaft running through the whole factory. When the electric engine came along people started replacing the giant steam engine with a giant electric motor. It took time before people understood that they could deploy several small motors in different parts of the factory and connect electric cables rather than having a common driveshaft. It takes time to understand the technology and its applicability.

The situation with unikernels is similar. We have this new thing and to some extent we’re using it to replace some general purpose operating system workloads. But we’re still very much limited by how we think about operating systems and computers.