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Ad hoc Cloud Computing (PhD Thesis)

TitleAd hoc Cloud Computing (PhD Thesis)
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMcGilvary, G
PublisherThe University of Edinburgh

Commercial and private cloud providers offer virtualized resources via a set of co-located and dedicated hosts that are exclusively reserved for the purpose of offering a cloud service. While both cloud models appeal to the mass market, there are many cases where outsourcing to a remote platform or procuring an in-house infrastructure may not be ideal or even possible.

To offer an attractive alternative, we introduce and develop an ad hoc cloud computing platform to transform spare resource capacity from an infrastructure owner's locally available, but non-exclusive and unreliable infrastructure, into an overlay cloud platform. The foundation of the ad hoc cloud relies on transferring and instantiating lightweight virtual machines on-demand upon near-optimal hosts while virtual machine checkpoints are distributed in a P2P fashion to other members of the ad hoc cloud. Virtual machines found to be non-operational are restored elsewhere ensuring the continuity of cloud jobs.

In this thesis we investigate the feasibility, reliability and performance of ad hoc cloud computing infrastructures. We firstly show that the combination of both volunteer computing and virtualization is the backbone of the ad hoc cloud. We outline the process of virtualizing the volunteer system BOINC to create V-BOINC. V-BOINC distributes virtual machines to volunteer hosts allowing volunteer applications to be executed in the sandbox environment to solve many of the downfalls of BOINC; this however also provides the basis for an ad hoc cloud computing platform to be developed.

We detail the challenges of transforming V-BOINC into an ad hoc cloud and outline the transformational process and integrated extensions. These include a BOINC job submission system, cloud job and virtual machine restoration schedulers and a periodic P2P checkpoint distribution component. Furthermore, as current monitoring tools are unable to cope with the dynamic nature of ad hoc clouds, a dynamic infrastructure monitoring and management tool called the Cloudlet Control Monitoring System is developed and presented.

We evaluate each of our individual contributions as well as the reliability, performance and overheads associated with an ad hoc cloud deployed on a realistically simulated unreliable infrastructure. We conclude that the ad hoc cloud is not only a feasible concept but also a viable computational alternative that offers high levels of reliability and can at least offer reasonable performance, which at times may exceed the performance of a commercial cloud infrastructure.

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