Opportunistic Overlays: Efficient Content Delivery in Mobile Environments
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Middleware has become a key enabler for the development of distributed applications. Unfortunately, conventional middleware technologies do not yet offer sufficient functionality to make them suitable for mobile environments. This dissertation proposes a novel middleware approach termed opportunistic overlays and its dynamically reconfigurable support framework for building efficient mobile applications. Specifically, we address the inefficiency of content delivery introduced by node mobility and by dynamically changing system loads, in the context of publish/subscribe systems. In response to changes in physical network topology, in nodes' physical locations, and in network node behaviors, the opportunistic overlay approach dynamically adapts event dissemination structures (i.e., broker overlays) with the goal of optimizing end-to-end delays in event delivery. Adaptation techniques include the dynamic construction of broker overlay networks, runtime changes of mobile clients' assignments to brokers, and dynamic broker load balancing. Essentially, opportunistic overlays implement a middleware-level analogue of the networking routing protocols used in wireless communications (i.e., Mobile IP, AODV, DSR and DSDV). By thus coordinating network- with middleware-level routing, opportunistic overlays can attain substantial performance improvements over non-adaptive event systems. Such improvements are due to their use of shorter network paths and better balancing of loads across event brokers. Opportunistic overlays and the adaptive methods they use are realized by a set of distributed protocols implemented in a Java-based publish/subscribe infrastructure. Comprehensive performance evaluations are performed via simulation, emulation, and with two representative applications on actual networks. Experimental results demonstrate that the opportunistic overlay approach is practically applicable and that the performance advantages attained from the use of opportunistic overlays can be substantial, in both infrastructure-based mobile environments and mobile ad hoc networks.