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ZeroVM: Smaller, Lighter, Faster

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Developers have been buzzing lately about how virtualization containers can boost scale while lowering costs. We are big fans of containers and the ways that they simplify the deployment and management of cloud applications. We think the next step is containerizing and virtualizing the application, not just the machine.

Today, we acquired ZeroVM, a lightweight open-source hypervisor created by LiteStack and built to run cloud applications. ZeroVM breaks down the barriers between compute and storage. Where traditional cloud architectures have needed to move the data to the app for processing, ZeroVM flips that approach and moves the app to the data. This dramatically increases speed of access and decreases latency.

ZeroVM is efficient because it is made to virtualize applications, not machines. The runtime virtualizes only the server parts that do the actual work at hand – making it much faster. Today, the fastest virtual servers take at least two minutes to create, while ZeroVM takes less than 5 milliseconds – or 1/20,000th as long. ZeroVM is fast enough that you can put every request into its own mini-VM to spread horizontally.

Making things smaller, lighter and faster also provides greater security. ZeroVM is fast enough to isolate each individual user in a separate container, which delivers greater granularity of security and control.

An optimization expert once said something to the effect that “You can’t make computers go faster; you can only make them do less.” That’s the value of ZeroVM.

We believe the future of computing is smaller, lighter and faster. We see great potential in ZeroVM and the community around it, led by Camuel Gilyadov, Constantine Perespykin and their eight-member team. We are excited to welcome the ZeroVM team and community to the Rackspace family.

Stay tuned for a publicly accessible preview showing what a converged data and compute layer can do.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Van Lindberg.

Van Lindberg has worked professionally as an engineer, as a lawyer, and as an executive. He currently has a dual legal/technical role at Rackspace, and has worked out of both the legal department and the Office of the CTO. In April 2012, the American Bar Association Journal named Van as one of "America's Top 12 Techiest Attorneys."

On the legal side, Van leads Rackspace's Intellectual Property program, directing Rackspace's strategy and policy around patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, and open source matters. Van also heads Rackspace's lobbying efforts relative to patent reform.

On the technical side, Van runs Rackspace's technical leadership corps, known internally as the "TCT." Van also works in technical strategy and ecosystem engagement at Rackspace, identifying emerging technologies, separating out differentiating versus non-differentiating product elements, and using open source strategies to be more competitive.

Previously, Van worked at the law firm of Haynes and Boone, where he wrote "Intellectual Property and Open Source," published by O'Reilly and Associates, and grew an open source practice helping businesses with everything from open source compliance to business strategy.

In addition to Van's open source practice, he did IP transactional work, patent prosecution, litigation, and post-grant actions (ex parte and inter partes reexams/reviews).

Van currently serves as chairman of the board of the Python Software Foundation, on the board of the OpenStack Foundation, and was the first chair of the Docker Governance Advisory Board.


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  • Will Worthington

    wow…light-weight and speed VM? sign us up! we at http://opentray.com aggregate Big Data news and this is one of the most exciting announcement lately. keep up the good work!

  • geek42

    i used to have the similar ideas, except i think vm should have its own ins set and provide toolchain. and the pricing should be counted as the execution times of ins

    • Roman Gorodeckij

      +1 for execution time pricing! :)

  • Roman Gorodeckij

    now imagine a hybrid cloud, with zeroVM instances, where you pay only for execution time! 100000 request came in one second. 5ms and you have 100k instances on hybrid cloud to execute your video trans-coding, or whatever heavy procedure you have in there! and those vm’s would be started from one image, which would only contain runtimes and your piece of code! instant scaling, pay-as-you-use, marvelous!

  • http://girifox.com/ Giri Fox

    Now this is really interesting. I had missed this news.

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