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ZeroVM: Smaller, Lighter, Faster


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 is Vice President of Intellectual Property at Rackspace. He is trained as a computer engineer and lawyer, but what he does best is “translate” to help businesses, techies and attorneys understand each other.

Van likes working with both computer code and legal code. For the past several years, he has been using natural language processing and graph theory to help him digest and map the U.S. Patent Database.

Before becoming a lawyer, Van was a research and development engineer at NTT/Verio, where he built automation tools and distributed systems using mostly Python. He was also an IT administrator for the Harold B. Lee College of Education at his alma mater, Brigham Young University. Van has been involved with open source since 1994, when a friend introduced him to Linux.

In April 2012, the American Bar Association Journal named Van one of “America’s Top 12 Techiest Attorneys.” He is currently chairman of the board of the Python Software Foundation, as well as the author of “Intellectual Property and Open Source.”

  • Will Worthington

    wow…light-weight and speed VM? sign us up! we at 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!

  • Giri Fox

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

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