Linux Was Never Designed for the Cloud, but DBOS Was – and You Can Try it for Free

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Linux has been responsible for powering servers in the cloud for years, but given the exponential growth of the cloud and the fact that Linux wasn’t designed specifically for the cloud, it became clear that something had to change.

Also: The best Linux distributions for beginners in 2024: Tested and rated by experts

This change could be made by Michael Stonebraker (Ingres, PostgreSQL and VoltDB) and Matei Zaharia (Apache Spark and co-founder/CTO of Databrisk), who worked with a team from MIT to develop a revolutionary operating system called DBOS database operating system.

Work on DBOS began in 2022. In an initial blog post, DBOS Inc. co-founders Peter Craft and Qian Li stated: “We believe that the next generation of operating systems should be database-oriented because databases are designed to solve the difficult problems of to solve modern computing.” . Databases today can manage petabytes of data, are distributed and increasingly cloud-native, and can secure and manage data with fine-grained access control and lineage tracking. Equally important, modern distributed in-memory data stores such as VoltDB and FoundationDB are becoming fast, and we show later that they are fast enough to efficiently run many operating system services that traditional disk-based RDBMSs could not.”

They then proposed building a database-oriented operating system based on two principles:

  • All applications and operating system states are stored in tables in a distributed database.
  • States could only be accessed through database transactions.

Their operating system consisted of four levels:

  • User Applications
  • File system/scheduler/IPC/other operating system services
  • Distributed DBMS
  • Microkernel Services

Also: Are you thinking about switching to Linux? 10 things you need to know

With DBOS, operating system services are encoded in SQL on the distributed DBMS, which is quite different from the traditional method of running the database management system in user space on top of the operating system.

After creating a successful DBOS prototype, they secured funding for DBOS, Inc., and now the operating system is available for free testing or you can contact sales for a custom plan. You can create a new account by signing in with your Google Account. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see a Getting Started page that will tell you:

You can install the DBOS SDK on Ubuntu Linux, MacOS or Windows (WSL). It requires Node.js 20 or later and then uses Docker to deploy the app to the operating system.

Also: Why I use multiple operating systems to get my work done

One of the biggest advantages of DBOS is its reliable execution. If an application is interrupted, it will automatically resume from where it left off.

The big question is: Will enterprises be interested in shaking off their reliance on Linux for a radical new approach to cloud-centric operating systems?

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