• Thomas Graf
    About the speakerThomas Graf

    CTO & Co-Founder Isovalent, Co-Creator Cilium, Chair eBPF Governing Board

What is eBPF?

[01:39] In this quick tutorial, the CTO and Cofounder of Isovalent, Thomas Graf walks through how eBPF came to be, and how it can be utilized in various ways.


What is eBPF? eBPFis the most amazing technology that hit the Linux kernel in the last 15 years.

The biggest problem the Linux kernel has today is that innovation really slowed down. This is because Linux is running everywhere: from smartphones, servers, to embedded devices. Everywhere, Linux is now the default today. This situation has led many stakeholders to prioritize a stable Linux kernel. After all, you wouldn’t want your kernel crashing all the time. However, this emphasis on stability has also slowed down innovation.

eBPF is fundamentally changing this. It’s making the Linux kernel programmable in a safe and efficient manner. This means we can add code logic to the kernel and change its behavior. We can implement functionality that’s similar to what apps do on smartphones. Think about innovation before the smartphone era. Individual vendors released new phones, and while there was some innovation, it wasn’t groundbreaking. Then came smartphones, introducing the app model. This allowed millions of application developers to write apps and run them on smartphones, leading to an explosion of innovation.

The same transformation is happening with the Linux kernel and eBPF. What’s even better is that eBPF is no longer Linux-specific. It has been ported to Windows, making it an industry-wide technology.