Rackspace Adds ZeroVM to Its Cloud Portfolio

With a different approach to virtualization, Rackspace stakes its claim for speed, security, and compatibility.

Cloud hosting company Rackspace has acquired LightStack and its ZeroVM hypervisor. Built on the idea that traditional virtualization wasn't created for the cloud, ZeroVM approaches cloud-native applications from a different angle: virtualizing applications rather than machines.

Traditional cloud architectures move data to the app for processing, but ZeroVM merges the data and compute layers. As a result, only the server pieces required for a particular request are virtualized, promising faster processing times and decreased latency.

According to Rackspace, ZeroVM requires only 75 kilobytes of executable code, and can be spun up in less than five milliseconds. A lean executable means ZeroVM easily embeds into existing storage systems for local processing.

ZeroVM's speed allows an architecture in which each user can have a separate container, resulting in greater granularity of security and control. And, unlike Chroot/LXC/OpenVZ, ZeroVM doesn't expose host syscalls. Instead, it re-implements them as a part of the untrusted component of ZeroVM.

ZeroVM is host-OS neutral, decoupling VM abstraction from host-OS abstraction so it can run as an ordinary application on many unmodified OSes. It's also language-neutral. For example, with their native interpreter compiled to ZeroVM ISA, ZeroVM can run Python, Ruby, PHP, and Perl.

About the Author

Christa Ayer is a freelance technology writer based in Seattle, Wash.


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