NanoVMs Let You Run Your Apps Faster and Safer with Unikernels

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In this episode of Running in Production, Ian Eyberg goes over creating a Unikernel with C as well as host a few sites supporting his tool with Go. It’s hosted on Google Cloud and their own data center. Nanos has been available since 2020.

Ian talks about what a Unikernel is, their open source tools and how they manage their own services. This episode has a healthy mix between background knowledge on Unikernels and how they (as a company) set up their infrastructure.

It’s worth pointing out you can run your existing applications in a Unikernel without having to change how it’s written and they support running them on most major hosting providers (AWS, GCP, Azure, DigitalOcean, your own hardware, etc.).

Topics Include

  • 1:44 – What is a Unikernel? How is it different than a traditional VM or container?
  • 7:58 – There’s a free and open source tool and an optional SAAS offering
  • 10:07 – How it’s possible to build a new deployable golden image in 2 minutes
  • 12:12 – Motivation to use Go for building the surrounding sites and services
  • 16:51 – Certain organizations are pushing decent traffic through their Unikernel driven apps
  • 19:02 – How you can run a multi-service app with Nanos (web + worker + db + cache, etc.)
  • 22:59 – and are a single Go binary / 1 Unikernel driven app
  • 25:37 – The site is a bit more involved and has Stripe integration
  • 28:08 – I never heard of the term Unikernel until today
  • 30:20 – nginx isn’t sitting in front of the Go app and how Unikernels can be so fast
  • 40:29 – With a Unikernel approach you can easily move between hosting providers
  • 44:23 – SSL certs are handled directly by the Go app for their sites
  • 49:56 – and use GCP and is on their own hardware
  • 54:26 – Why they went with their own data center for hosting and their server specs / costs
  • 1:02:02 – Terraform, Ansible and similar tools aren’t being used to set up anything
  • 1:04:21 – What the deployment process looks like for their services
  • 1:10:40 – You can run all of this on a Raspberry Pi 4
  • 1:13:15 – What does the development process look like with a Unikernel driven app?
  • 1:16:21 – Dealing with secrets in production
  • 1:17:55 – Databases are backed up regularly and how logs are handled
  • 1:23:52 – Getting notified of errors and up-time reports from
  • 1:25:52 – Mailgun is used for sending out transactional emails
  • 1:26:45 – Best tips? Keep it simple (seriously)
  • 1:30:05 – Thoughts on the Plan9 operating system
  • 1:34:06 – You don’t need to change how you write your apps to run them in a Unikernel
  • 1:40:07 – The code for Nanos is open source on GitHub
📄 References
⚙️ Tech Stack
🛠 Libraries Used

Support the Show

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Apr 19, 2021

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