The Xen Project Collaborative Project hosted at The Linux Foundation today announced a partnership with Hyper, a company offering an open source project that allows developers to run Docker images with Xen Project virtualization. Based in China, the company will be presenting “Hyper: Make VM Run Like Containers” at Xen Project Developer Summit, Aug. 17-18. The Hyper Project allows developers to run Docker images with any Xen hypervisor Xen 4.5 or later and is available for download here.

“Hyper offers the best of both worlds — VMs and containers,” said Xu Wang, Co-Founder at Hyper. “Our technology allows enterprises to leverage any mature, implemented virtualization infrastructure and eliminate unwanted complexity and also take advantage of container technology to easily package applications. We looking forward to partnering with Xen more closely, helping developers get more out of their hypervisor, while also enjoying the benefits of container technology.”

As a bronze sponsor for The Linux Foundation’s new ContainerCon event, Hyper will also gather in Seattle with leading contributors in Linux containers, the Linux kernel, and related projects to forge a path to continued innovation and education.

Enabling the Next-Generation Container-as-a-Service
Caas (Container-as-a-Service) is gaining traction in cloud computing by leveraging the portability of Docker to avoid various technical limitations in a Platform-as-a-Service. However, the shared kernel approach introduces unnecessary complexity, overcapacity and security insecurity.

To eliminate these problems, Hyper uses virtualization to achieve hardware-enforced isolation. Unlike a VM + container approach, Hyper does not employ a GuestOS in the VM instance. Instead a HyperKernel, a customized Linux Kernel which includes Docker functionality, is loaded to host the Docker images. Hyper guests also does not require any Linux Container technology: in other words in Hyper guests do not require LXC, cgroups, namespace and Docker daemon to run; they only require MOUNT namespace to support pods of Docker images.

This minimalist approach offers the following features and benefits:

  • Sub-second Boot: it takes milliseconds to launch a new Hyper VM with a pod of Docker images.
  • Enhanced Security: much leaner and smaller attack surfaces for each VM minimizes potential flaws that can be exploited.
  • Minimal Resource Footprint and Overheads: leading to higher VM density per server.
  • Production Ready: virtualization like Xen is mature and proven with features like Live Migration, SDN, SDS, and has been battle-tested for years. With Hyper, developers can just plug-and-play and can use existing hypervisor functionality such as SDN support out-of-the box.
  • Immutable VM: by eliminating the need for Guest Operating Systems, there are no moving parts inside of a HyperVM to manage and configure, since the entire stack is fixed.
  • Rapid ROI: instead of rebuilding everything with containers, Hyper provides a seamless migration path from existing virtual infrastructure to containers.

“Continuous innovation is the lifeblood of any project. Xen Project is fortunate to have an extremely active and growing community,” said Lars Kurth, Xen Project Advisory Board Chairman. “By partnering with Hyper, Xen is looking ahead to the growing security, performance and scalability demands developers are facing as cloud and computing infrastructure evolves. It’s exciting to see Hyper deliver Xen support and improve upon existing container technologies in the market.”