Researchers at Intel have come up with an interesting approach for blending cloud computing with smartphonery. The idea is to 'clone' a device like a smartphone in the datacentre cloud and then have it support the phone, and its user, out in the field. By Ian Scales.
In a world of cheap datacentre storage and processing power (cheap enough for Google, for instance, to fund a gratis 7GB per user for its cloud apps through advertising) the idea is that a complete online copy of a smartphone's apps and data (up to several GB per smartphone) could be kept in the cloud and synchronised with the mobile device.
Such an arrangement would enable the processor-hungry tasks generated by the smartphone's onboard applications to be offloaded to the data centre and the results then returned to the smartphone. That approach would speed up complex graphics processing tasks, for instance, since the relatively low-powered (in both senses) mobile processesors aren't always up to the job.
Under CloneCloud the processing tasks could be dynamically allocated, depending (once data transfer cost and latency is taken into account) which is faster.
It's an approach which would also help reduce on-board power consumption, an increasing problem on the smartest phones now.
Obviously security is an issue, but then, keeping personal data on a tiny mobile device with a persistent broadband connection is not intrinsically secure either.
On the security plus side, nasties such as viruses could be detected on the clone by heavy-duty security software and, of course, the cloned copy of the apps and data means that should the smartphone be lost, stolen or strayed, the clone is ready to be downloaded onto the replacement device.
The Clonecloud concept is to be laid out in more detail at the upcoming HotOS XII conference in Switzerland.
This approach seems to make a lot of sense, especially when you consider that the 'clone' would in effect become a device-independent personal apps and data store and probably take on a life of its own as THE primary location (the stem cell, as it were), with the mobile devices essentially becoming clones of it.
That progression becomes even more thrilling were the mobile environment such as Android - upon which the prototype has been built - to become a general-purpose OS used on netbooks, settop boxes and so on - the clone (or maybe multiple clones) could be the central repository and the various compatible devices could all become up-to-date versions of it.
Surely this is a concept with legs.. have your say below.
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