What is Protocol Buffers?

Overview of a Google's language-neutral, platform-neutral, extensible mechanism for serializing structured data
27 October 2017   1788

What is Protocol Buffers?

Protocol Buffers (a.k.a., protobuf) are Google's language-neutral, platform-neutral, extensible mechanism for serializing structured data. Protocol buffers are a flexible, efficient, automated mechanism for serializing structured data – think XML, but smaller, faster, and simpler. You define how you want your data to be structured once, then you can use special generated source code to easily write and read your structured data to and from a variety of data streams and using a variety of languages. You can even update your data structure without breaking deployed programs that are compiled against the "old" format.

Why not just use XML?

Protocol buffers have many advantages over XML for serializing structured data. Protocol buffers:

  • are simpler
  • are 3 to 10 times smaller
  • are 20 to 100 times faster
  • are less ambiguous
  • generate data access classes that are easier to use programmatically

 

Canonical to Represent Minimal Ubuntu

New version of Ubuntu is created for servers, isolated containers based on Docker and cloud systems
12 July 2018   105

Ubuntu team presented a simplified version of the base image - Minimal Ubuntu. It is designed for servers, isolated containers based on Docker and cloud systems. The release features high performance, minimal load time and automation of applications in the cloud.

The small footprint of Minimal Ubuntu, when deployed with fast VM provisioning from GCE, helps deliver drastically improved boot times, making them a great choice for developers looking to build their applications on Google Cloud Platform.
 

Paul Nash

Group Product Manager, Google Cloud

The authors of the project emphasize the size of the distribution kit, which "weighs" 157 MB, and also supports the main cloud systems like Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine (GCE), LXD and KVM / OpenStack, each of which has its own optimized version of the package. In addition, the OS-based image for operating with containers based on the Docker platform, compatible with the Kubernetes.

Minimal Ubuntu is designed for automated execution, so it includes only a minimal set of tools. The distribution can be upgraded to a set of Ubuntu Server packages using the special utility "unminimize", which returns components that are convenient for interactive management.

According to Canonical representatives, the deletion of the manual control functions resulted in the acceleration of the load time by 40% and the reduction of the occupied disk space by 50%. At the same time, this release remained completely compatible with all the packages from standard Ubuntu repositories. Required packages can be installed using the standard package manager apt or using snapd, which are included in the distribution by default.

Two assemblies are available for download, based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS. You can download them on the official website.