Turning down the LAMP: Software specialization for the cloud
Several years ago, a reading group I was in read about the Flux OSKit Project, which aimed to provide a modular basis for operating systems. One of the topics of discussion was the possibility of, and possible benefits of, an application-specific OS. (For example, the fearful spectre of EmacsOS was raised.)
Today, I ran across “Turning down the LAMP: Software specialization for the cloud“, which actually makes a pretty strong case for the idea on a virtual machine infrastructure,
…We instead view the cloud as a stable hardware platform, and present a programming framework which permits applications to be constructed to run directly on top of it without intervening software layers. Our prototype (dubbed Mirage) is unashamedly academic; it extends the Objective Caml language with storage extensions and a custom run-time to emit binaries that execute as a guest operating system under Xen. Mirage applications exhibit significant performance speedups for I/O and memory handling versus the same code running under Linux/Xen.
As one example,
Frameworks which currently use (for example) fork(2) on a host to spawn processes would benefit from using cloud management APIs to request resources and eliminate the distinction between cores and hosts.
On the other hand, I suspect that this “unashamedly academic” idea may already be advancing into the commercial arena, if I am correctly reading between the lines of the VMware vFabric tc ServerTM marketing material.