Multiscale not Multicore-Efficient Heterogeneous Cloud Computing

In this paper, we present a vision of the future of heterogeneous cloud computing. Ours is a cleanslate approach, sweeping away decades of accreted system software. We believe the advent of the latest technology discontinuity—the move to the virtual cloud—makes this a necessary step to take, but one capable of delivering significant benefits in the security, reliability and efficiency of our digital infrastructure at all scales. We motivate this vision by presenting two challenges arising in different fields yet with fundamental commonalities best addressed by a unifying software platform supporting devices ranging from virtual servers in the cloud, through desktops, to mobile smartphones. After drawing out this common ground, we describe our solution and its benefits. We then describe the initial steps we have taken toward our solution,
the Mirage framework, as well as ongoing future work.

The Internet has experienced huge growth in the last decade, and hundreds of millions of users now depend on it for daily news, entertainment and commerce. Thousands of large datacenters have sprung up to fuel the demand for compute power to drive these Internet sites, fundamentally changing the economics of hosting in recent years. Cloud computing (x1.1) means that software infrastructure now runs on virtual machines, and usage is charged “by the second” as resources are consumed. Simultaneously, we have seen mobile devices and