Taken from Ricardo A. Baratto, Shaya Potter, Gong Su, and Jason Nieh,Department of Computer Science,Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
MobiDesk transparentlyvirtualizes a user’s computing session by abstracting underlying system resources in three key areas: display, operating system, and network. It provides a thin virtualization layer that decouples a user’s computing session from any particularend-user device, and moves all application logic to hosting providers. The virtualization layer decouples a user’scomputing session from the underlying operating system and server instance, enabling high-availability service by transparently migrating sessions from one server to another during server maintenance or upgrades. We have implemented a prototype in Linux that works with existing unmodified applications and operating system kernels. Our experimental results demonstrate that MobiDesk has very low virtualization overhead, can provide a full featured desktop experience including full-motion video support, and is able to migrate users’ sessions efficiently and reliably for high-availability, while maintaining existing network connections.
MobiDesk provides a mobile virtual desktop computing environment by introducing a thin virtualization layer between a user’s computing environment and the underlying system. MobiDesk focuses on virtualizing three key system resources: display, operating system, and network. MobiDesk virtualizes display resources by providing a virtual
display driver that efficiently encodes and redirects display updates from the server to an end-user device. MobiDesk virtualizes operating system resources by providing a virtual private namespace for each desktop computing session. The namespace offers a host independent virtualized view of an operating system, enabling the session to be transparently migrated from one server to another. MobiDesk virtualizes network resources by providing virtual address identifiers for connections, and a transport-independent proxy mechanism. Together, they preserve all network connections associated with a user’s computing session, even if it is migrated from one server to another inside the MobiDesk server infrastructure.
MobiDesk is architected as a proxy-based server cluster system, comparable to systems deployed today by application service providers. MobiDesk is composed of a proxy, a group of back-end session servers connected in a LAN, a storage server infrastructure, and a number of external, heterogeneous clients through which users access the system. The proxy acts as a front-end that admits service requests rom clients across the Internet, and dispatches the requests to the appropriate back-end application servers. The proxy, operating at layer 7, exposes a single entry point to the clients, and employs suitable admission and service dispatching policies. The back-end compute servers host completely virtualized environments within which the computing sessions of MobiDesk’s users run. The network storage server infrastructure is used for all persistent file storage. The clients are merely inputing and outputting devices connected to the servers across the Internet.
Users interact with their MobiDesk sessions through a thin-client session viewer, a simple device or application that relays the user’s input and the session’s output between the client and the server through a secure channel. Each user in the system is assigned a username and password. Upon the first login, the proxy performs appropriate authentication, and connects the user to a MobiDesk session server. The session server creates a virtual private environment that is populated with a complete set of operating system resources and desktop applications. In contrast to the traditional centralized computing model where users are aware of each others’ presence and activities, MobiDesk’s sessions are isolated from one another and the underlying server environment. To the user, the session appears no different than a private computer, even though the user’s session may coexist with many other sessions on a shared server. When the client disconnects, the session continues to run on the MobiDesk server, unless the user explicitly logs out. On future connections, the session will be in the same state it was when the user last disconnected
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