Unikernel monitors: Extending minimalism outside of the box
Recently, unikernels have emerged as an exploration of minimalist software stacks to improve the security of applications in the cloud. In this paper, we propose extending the notion of minimalism beyond an individual virtual machine to include the underlying monitor and the interface it exposes. We propose unikernel monitors. Each unikernel is bundled with a tiny, specialized monitor that only contains what the unikernel needs both in terms of interface and implementation. Unikernel monitors improve isolation through minimal interfaces, reduce complexity, and boot unikernels quickly. Our initial prototype, ukvm, is less than 5% the code size of a traditional monitor, and boots MirageOS unikernels in as little as 10ms (8× faster than a traditional monitor).