Explain different type of kernel structure in detail with suitable diagram and advantages and disadvantages.


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Types of Kernel

In general, there are five types of Kernel. They are:

1. Monolithic Kernels

Monolithic Kernels are those Kernels where the user services and the kernel services are implemented in the same memory space i.e. different memory for user services and kernel services are not used in this case. By doing so, the size of the Kernel is increased and this, in turn, increases the size of the Operating System. As there is no separate User Space and Kernel Space, so the execution of the process will be faster in Monolithic Kernels.

- Hamro CSIT


  • It provides CPU scheduling, memory scheduling, file management through System calls only.
  • Execution of the process is fast because there is no separate memory space for user and kernel.


  • If any service fails, then it leads to system failure.
  • If new services are to be added then the entire Operating System needs to be modified.

2. Microkernel

A Microkernel is different from Monolithic kernel because in a Microkernel, the user services and kernel services are implemented into different spaces i.e. we use User Space and Kernel Space in case of Microkernels. As we are using User Space and Kernel Space separately, so it reduces the size of the Kernel and this, in turn, reduces the size of Operating System.

- Hamro CSIT

As we are using different spaces for user services and kernel service, so the communication between application and services is done with the help of message parsing and this, in turn, reduces the speed of execution.


  • If new services are to be added then it can be easily added.


  • Since we are using User Space and Kernel Space separately, so the communication between these can reduce the overall execution time.

3. Hybrid Kernel

A Hybrid Kernel is a combination of both Monolithic Kernel and Microkernel. It makes the use of the speed of Monolithic Kernel and the modularity of Microkernel.

Hybrid kernels are micro kernels that have some “non-essential” code in kernel-space in order for the code to run more quickly than it would be in user-space. So, some services such as network stack or filesystem are run in Kernel space to reduce the performance overhead, but still, it runs kernel code as servers in the user-space.

4. Nanokernel

In a Nanokrnel, as the name suggests, the whole code of the kernel is very small i.e. the code executing in the privileged mode of the hardware is very small. The term nanokernel is used to describe a kernel that supports a nanosecond clock resolution.

5. Exokernel

Exokernel is an Operating System kernel that is developed by the MIT parallel and the Distributed Operating Systems group. Here in this type of kernel, the resource protection is separated from the management and this, in turn, results in allowing us to perform application-specific customization.

In the Exokernel, the idea is not to implement all the abstractions. But the idea is to impose as few abstractions as possible and by doing so the abstraction should be used only when needed. So, no force abstraction will be there in Exokernel and this is the feature that makes it different from a Monolithic Kernel and Microkernel. But the drawback of this is the complex design. The design of the Exokernel is very complex.

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