MobiDesk: Mobile Virtual Desktop Computing

Ricardo Baratto, Shaya Potter, Gong Su, Jason Nieh

Proceedings of the 10th Annual ACM International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom 2004), Philadelphia, PA, September 26-October 1, 2004, pp. 1-15. (Best Student Paper Award)


We present MobiDesk, a mobile virtual desktop comput- ing hosting infrastructure that leverages continued improve- ments in network speed, cost, and ubiquity to address the complexity, cost, and mobility limitations of today’s per- sonal computing infrastructure. MobiDesk transparently virtualizes a user’s computing session by abstracting under- lying 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 particu- lar end-user device, and moves all application logic to host- ing providers. The virtualization layer decouples a user’s computing session from the underlying operating system and server instance, enabling high-availability service by trans- parently migrating sessions from one server to another dur- ing server maintenance or upgrades. We have implemented a prototype in Linux that works with existing unmodified ap- plications and operating system kernels. Our experimental results demonstrate that MobiDesk has very low virtualiza- tion 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.



Columbia University Department of Computer Science