Mobile phones and personal computers are getting more and more converging. However, on one hand the service/application access model on mobile phones has been designed to smooth this access to new users with free economic models, pay-as-you-go or one-use billing. On the other hand, for computers, we are still following an operational model where the user must manage his machine himself: configuring the operating system, buying software, installing and updating them with all the underlying consequences that may occur with a non-expert user. At work, help from a team of specialists can avoid this kind of situation, but requires a lot of human resources. This is favourable to the emergence of a new computing operational model, built on the achievements of mobile telephony like the new services and uses, the extensions to the access models for remote software resources (SAAS, cloud computing), the autonomic computing contributions for more responsiveness, and the development of virtual machines.
The objective of this project is to build a hybrid working model for consumers and professional computing, that takes benefit from a mix between local installation/management and remote access to software and services located in distant dedicated datacenters or even in other non-used consumers’ machines. For these uses, two cases will be considered:
For individual consumers subscribing to a DSL+machine+software package: they connect their terminal and choose the applications they want to access. For some of which they will have to pay for the related licenses, whereas others will be available for free.
For professionals, the principle is the same except that the software installed or accessed will be defined by the administrator and eventually a similar configuration model will be replicated for a group of machines.
After this selection phase, there will be either a software installation on the local machine, or a remote access to the software. The choice of these setup policies is based on the user, the machine (not powerful enough), the resource center (load, energy consumption, licenses), the software (not accessible remotely, bandwidth hog, multi-user), the desired quality of service (speed, privacy, redundancy), the energy consumption, etc.
Once the installation is finished, the software will be available transparently for the user with either: a remote access to a computer center, a local use, or even an access to unused resources of another individual for energy conservation purposes. The overall software architecture, including the operating systems is deployed, managed and optimized by the service provider in a fully transparent manner.
We suggest to study, design and implement a prototype for a machine + operating system + software package subscription. The project should result in an initial experiment with a panel of users, like students and related services used by this audience (software used in classrooms, sharing and communication tools, etc.) with a platform of about thirty machines connecting via a DSL service. In parallel, a simulator will be developed to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach for several hundreds of thousands or even millions of users.