If you are interested in future foward OS designs then you might find Akaros worth a look. It's an operating system designed for many-core architectures and large-scale SMP systems, with the goals of:
- Providing better support for parallel and high-performance applications
- Scaling the operating system to a large number of cores
A more indepth explanation of the motiviation behind Akaros can be found in Improving Per-Node Efﬁciency in the Datacenter with NewOS Abstractions by Barret Rhoden, Kevin Klues, David Zhu, and Eric Brewer.
We believe datacenters can beneﬁt from more focus on per-node efﬁciency, performance, and predictability, versus the more common focus so far on scalability to a large number of nodes. Improving per-node efﬁciency decreases costs and fault recovery because fewer nodes are required for the same amount of work. We believe that the use of complex, general-purpose operating systems is a key contributing factor to these inefﬁciencies.
Traditional operating system abstractions are ill-suited for high performance and parallel applications, especially on large-scale SMP and many-core architectures. Datacenter nodes ought to run customized operating systems to help applications to utilize the full potential of the underlying hardware. We propose four key ideas that help to overcome these limitations. These ideas are built on a philosophy of exposing as much information to applications as possible and giving them the tools necessary to take advantage of that information to run more efﬁciently. In short, high-performance applications need to be able to peer through layers of virtualization in the software stack to optimize their behavior. We explore abstractions based on these ideas and discuss how we build them in the context of a new operating system called Akaros.