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The Case for VM-Based Cloudlets in Mobile Computing

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4 Author(s)
Mahadev Satyanarayanan ; Comput. Sci., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Bahl, P. ; Caceres, R ; Davies, N.

Mobile computing continuously evolve through the sustained effort of many researchers. It seamlessly augments users' cognitive abilities via compute-intensive capabilities such as speech recognition, natural language processing, etc. By thus empowering mobile users, we could transform many areas of human activity. This article discusses the technical obstacles to these transformations and proposes a new architecture for overcoming them. In this architecture, a mobile user exploits virtual machine (VM) technology to rapidly instantiate customized service software on a nearby cloudlet and then uses that service over a wireless LAN; the mobile device typically functions as a thin client with respect to the service. A cloudlet is a trusted, resource-rich computer or cluster of computers that's well-connected to the Internet and available for use by nearby mobile devices. Our strategy of leveraging transiently customized proximate infrastructure as a mobile device moves with its user through the physical world is called cloudlet-based, resource-rich, mobile computing. Crisp interactive response, which is essential for seamless augmentation of human cognition, is easily achieved in this architecture because of the cloudlet's physical proximity and one-hop network latency. Using a cloudlet also simplifies the challenge of meeting the peak bandwidth demand of multiple users interactively generating and receiving media such as high-definition video and high-resolution images. Rapid customization of infrastructure for diverse applications emerges as a critical requirement, and our results from a proof-of-concept prototype suggest that VM technology can indeed help meet this requirement.

Published in:

Pervasive Computing, IEEE  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 4 )