In the first part of this post I explained what a cloudlet is and how mobile applications can benefit from using this model. Now let’s discuss how application providers can take advantage of virtual application patterns to make sure their services can reach cloudlet users.
A virtual application pattern (VAP) defines components, links and policies that represent the installation, configuration and integration of middleware, along with the configuration of an application or group of applications that run together. In other words, a VAP defines the required resources and instructions for a service to be deployed autonomously on an application-centric cloud platform.
Application providers use patterns to offer users the possibility to easily set up a complex environment for an application, plus the application itself, as the VAP not only contains software but the application provider expertise on setting up the solution on a cloud.
If the cloudlet has the ability to deploy a VAP, resources could then be easily provisioned to support services as needed based on the same patterns that application providers use to deliver solutions on other cloud platforms, thus ensuring consistency among service providers.
For the pattern-powered cloudlet environment to be complete, two more requirements need to be met:
- The cloudlet needs to be able to accept requests from mobile devices to find out which application to deploy on demand.
- Mobile applications need to be location aware, so that latency-sensitive functions are enabled only when served from a local cloudlet.
IBM PureApplication System could be a good starting point for a pattern-powered cloudlet:
- It’s integrated by design, so it comes with all the infrastructure components and provisioning mechanisms required for an optimized platform as a service (PaaS) environment in one box.
- Offers a simplified experience by integrating management of the entire system in a single console. A good step toward (but still far from) unsupervised management.
- Supports VAP to define application workloads, allowing the deployment of applications using the same patterns created for a public cloud service like SmartCloud Application Services.
- Access to platform management functions using the provided REST API makes it possible to create a service for mobile applications to request on demand application provisioning.
A pattern-powered cloudlet seems to be a viable way to encourage the development of resource-intensive, latency-sensitive mobile applications to provide an enhanced user experience. It will be interesting to see how application developers are going to use these capabilities.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.