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We advocate a novel approach to grid computing that is based on a combination of "classic" operating system level virtual machines (VMs) and middleware mechanisms to manage VMs in a distributed environment. The abstraction is that of dynamically instantiated and mobile VMs that are a combination of traditional OS processes (the VM monitors) and files (the VM state). We give qualitative arguments that justify our approach in terms of security, isolation, customization, legacy support and resource control, and we show quantitative results that demonstrate the feasibility of our approach front a performance perspective. Finally, we describe the middleware challenges implied by the approach and an architecture for grid computing using virtual machines.
Date of Conference: 19-22 May 2003