Microsoft researcher: Why "micro data centers" really matter to mobile's future

And why enterprise IT pros should be getting ready for them

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Microsoft Research distinguished scientist Victor Bahl has been spreading the word about micro-data centers (mDCs), also known by the adorable name "cloudlets," as a key concept for optimizing the performance and usefulness of mobile and other networked devices via the cloud. Service providers have embraced this vision most strongly from the start, but it won't be long before enterprise IT pros will likely do the same, Bahl says.

Here's a more in-depth look at the What, Why and When of mDCs:

victor bahl bio Microsoft

I notice that a lot of the research you’re involved in includes not just mobility, but the cloud. Are the two inextricably linked going forward?

Yes, absolutely. We expect more and more from our mobile devices but despite major advances in technology, resource poverty continues to limit the type of applications we are able to run on these devices. Constraints such as battery life and bandwidth are fundamental and not simply a temporary limitation of current technology. To break free of such perennial problems, we must build technology that enables mobile users to seamlessly use nearby computing resources, which have a persistent high-quality connection to the cloud. This way, users can get the benefits of cloud computing without incurring the wide area network delays and jitter that are common in today’s Internet. If we do this, crisp interactive response from immersive mobile applications that augment human cognition will be easier to achieve.

You delivered a keynote address at IEEE WCNC earlier this year titled “Cloud 2020: The Emergence of Micro Datacenters for Mobile Computing.” 2020’s not that far off: What are Micro Datacenters and why should enterprise IT pros care about them?

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