Making Use Of Systemd Portable Services
Written by Michael Larabel in systemd on 27 June 2018 at 05:02 PM EDT. 60 Comments
SYSTEMD --
With last week's release of systemd 239 one of the key new features is the introduction of Portable Services. Systemd Portable Services is a new concept that is akin to Linux containers while at this stage is considered still a preview/experimental feature.

Systemd lead developer Lennart Poettering has written a new blog post providing an extensive look at utilizing systemd Portable Services.The Portable Services build upon existing systemd technology like the RootDirectory and RootImage features to allow for resource bundling and isolation/sandboxing.

As far as what Portable Services are good for when chroot and containers already exist:
Portable Services are primarily intended to cover use-cases where code should more feel like "extensions" to the host system rather than live in disconnected, separate worlds. The profile concept is supposed to be tunable to the exact right amount of integration or isolation needed for an application.
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Because portable services are just a relatively small extension to the way system services are otherwise managed, they can be treated like regular service for almost all use-cases: they will appear along regular services in all tools that can introspect systemd unit data, and can be managed the same way when it comes to logging, resource management, runtime life-cycles and so on.

Portable services are a very generic concept. While the original use-case is OS extensions, it's of course entirely up to you and other users to use them in a suitable way of your choice.

If you would like to learn how to begin making use of Portable Services, stop by Lennart's blog for the complete walk-through.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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