Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Tactical Cloudlets: Research Focus (continued)

These are features of our baseline tactical cloudlets implementation that contribute to increased survivability of tactical mobile systems:

  • Capabilities as Services: Based on the definition of a service in the context of service orientation, each VM provides a self-contained capability and exposes a simple interface. Metadata in the form of keywords is used by the cloudlet discovery protocol to inform mobile devices of available capabilities.

  • Request-Response Nature of Interactions Between Mobile Devices and Cloudlets: In the case of computation offload, tactical cloudlets are best fit for applications based on stateless, request-response, client/server interactions.This type of interaction enables easy detection of failed communication between mobile devices and cloudlets as well as minimal effect on mobile devices if computation needs to be restarted or migrated.

  • Virtual machines as service containers: VMs can be started and stopped asneeded based on number of active users (which is typically bounded in edge environments because group size is known) therefore supporting scalability and elasticity.

  • Cloudlet Management Component: A lightweight, web-based interface to the Cloudlet Server and Service VM repository enables easy deployment and redeployment of capabilities.

  • Standard packaging of Service VMs: Service VMs can be easily installed from the cloudlet manager, an enterprise Service VM repository, a thumb drive, or the mobile device connected via USB to the cloudlet.

  • Optimal cloudlet selection: We extended the cloudlet discovery protocol to use metadata from the client app, Service VM, and the cloudlet so that in the case that there is more than one cloudlet in range, the mobile device can automatically select the cloudlet that maximizes a pluggable utility function. This function can be based on cloudlet load, signal strength, or any other parameter.

  • Manual and automated cloudlet handoff: We are adding VM migration capabilities to enable manual and automated handoff of data and computation between cloudlets that are within range of each other. Manual handoff would enable scenarios in which a user is migrating capabilities from a fixed cloudlet to a mobile cloudlet to support field operations, as well as reintegration back to the fixed cloudlet. Automated migration would enable load balancing, similar to what is done in cloud data centers for resource optimization.

Read about our future work with tactical cloudlets.