Application Virtualization as a Strategy for Cyber Foraging in Resource-Constrained Environments
Modern mobile devices create new opportunities to interact with their surrounding environment, but their computational power and battery capacity is limited. Code offloading to external servers located in clouds or data centers can help overcome these limitations. However, in hostile environments, it is not possible to guarantee reliable networks, and thus stable cloud accessibility is not available. Cyber foraging is a technique for offloading resource-intensive tasks from mobile devices to resource-rich surrogate machines in close wireless proximity. One type of such surrogate machines is a cloudlet-a generic server that runs one or more virtual machines (VMs) located in single-hop distance to the mobile device. Cloudlet-based cyber foraging can compensate for missing cloud access in the context of hostile environments. One strategy for cloudlet provisioning is VM synthesis. Unfortunately, it is time consuming and battery draining due to large file transfers. This technical note explores application virtualization as a more lightweight alternative to VM synthesis for cloudlet provisioning. A corresponding implementation is presented and evaluated. A quantitative analysis describes performance results in terms of time and energy consumption; a qualitative analysis compares implementation characteristics to VM synthesis. The evaluation shows that application virtualization is a valid strategy for cyber foraging in hostile environments.