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V-BOINC: The Virtualization of BOINC

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Abstract:

The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) is an open source client-server middleware system created to allow projects with large computational requirements, usually set in the scientific domain, to utilize a technically unlimited number of volunteer machines distributed over large physical distances. However various problems exist deploying applications over these heterogeneous machines using BOINC: applications must be ported to each machine architecture type, the project server must be trusted to supply authentic applications, applications that do not regularly checkpoint may lose execution progress upon volunteer machine termination and applications that have dependencies may find it difficult to run under BOINC. To solve such problems we introduce virtual BOINC, or V-BOINC, where virtual machines are used to run computations on volunteer machines. Application developers can then compile their applications on a single architecture, checkpointing issues are solved through virtualization API's and many security concerns are addressed via the virtual machine's sandbox environment. In this paper we focus on outlining a unique approach on how virtualization can be introduced into BOINC and demonstrate that V-BOINC offers acceptable computational performance when compared to regular BOINC. Finally we show that applications with dependencies can easily run under V-BOINC in turn increasing the computational potential volunteer computing offers to the general public and project developers.

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