Tactical Cloudlets: Moving Cloud Computing to the Edge
Soldiers and front-line personnel operating in tactical environments increasingly make use of handheld devices to help with tasks such as face recognition, language translation, decision-making, and mission planning. These resource-constrained edge environments are characterized by dynamic context, limited computing resources, high levels of stress, and intermittent network connectivity. Cyber-foraging is the leverage of external resource-rich surrogates to augment the capabilities of resource-limited devices. In cloudlet-based cyber-foraging,resource-intensive computation and data is offloaded to cloudlets. Forward-deployed, discoverable, virtual-machine-based tactical cloudlets can be hosted on vehicles or other platforms to provide infrastructure to offload computation, provide forward data staging for a mission, perform data filtering to remove unnecessary data from streams intended for dismounted users, and serve as collection points for data heading for enterprise repositories. This paper describes tactical cloudlets and presents experimentation results for five different cloudlet provisioning mechanisms. The goal is to demonstrate that cyber-foraging in tactical environments is possible by moving cloud computing concepts and technologies closer to the edge so that tactical cloudlets, even if disconnected from the enterprise, can provide capabilities that can lead to enhanced situational awareness and decision making at the edge. This paper first appeared in Proceedings of the 2014 Military Communications Conference (MilCom 2014).