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The `docker run unikernel` demo DockerCon EU (Nov 2015)
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DockerCon EU 2015: Unikernels, meet Docker!

This repository contains the source code for the unikernel demo presented at DockerCon EU 2015.


  • A Linux machine with KVM and Docker installed.
  • As part of the build process, genisoimage and makefs need to be installed on the host in order to generate the filesystems used by the unikernels. On Debian, apt-get install genisoimage makefs is sufficient.
  • docker-unikernel requires root access in order to be able to plumb networking into the unikernel/KVM container.
  • Optional: A kernel patched with macvtap.patch from this repository. (See Known issues below)

Minimal quick start

  1. make pull. This pulls mato/rumprun-packages-hw-x86_64 which will take a while. This image contains the prebuilt rumprun unikernels for mysql, nginx and php.
  2. make. This builds the unikernel containers.
  3. make rundns. Runs a DNS server on docker0, using mgood/resolvable.
  4. sudo ./docker-unikernel run -P --hostname nginx unikernel/nginx.
  5. Browse to http://nginx/.

This will start a container with an Nginx unikernel, serving static files.

Demo unikernels

The following unikernels were shown in the DockerCon demo:

MySQL, Nginx + PHP with Nibbleblog

  • mysql: A MySQL unikernel.
  • nginx-nibbleblog, php-nibbleblog: The Nginx+PHP unikernel cluster running Nibbleblog.

To run these, see After running unicluster_run, if you browse to http://blog/ you will get the Nibbleblog install page.

In addition to the unikernels shown in the DockerCon demo, this repository also includes some extra unikernels which we did not have time to show:

Nginx serving static files

Run with sudo ./docker-unikernel run -P --hostname nginx unikernel/nginx and browse to http://nginx/. This shows a standalone Nginx unikernel serving static files. Browse to http://nginx/root/ for extra fun!

Nginx + PHP "barebones" example

Run with:

sudo ./docker-unikernel run --hostname php unikernel/php
sudo ./docker-unikernel run -P --hostname nginx-fastcgi unikernel/nginx-fastcgi

Browse to http://nginx-fastcgi/. This shows a simplest possible PHP example, with phpinfo().

Known issues

  • Due to a kernel bug in the macvtap driver you will not be able to run more than one instance of docker-unikernel on a single host. There is a tentative workaround in macvtap.patch, refer there if feeling brave.
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