Challenges and Opportunities of Mobile Cloud Computing - IEEE Xplore

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cloud computing [15]. The idea of offloading data processing to CC is proposed to solve the inevitable challenges in mobile computing. Other service providers ...

Challenges and Opportunities of Mobile Cloud Computing Mojtaba Alizadeh

Wan Haslina Hassan

Malaysian-Japan International Institute of Technology Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, UTM 54100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [email protected]

Malaysian-Japan International Institute of Technology Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, UTM 54100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [email protected]

Abstract— Cloud Computing (CC) is fast becoming well known in the computing world as the latest technology. CC enables users to use resources as and when they are required. Mobile Cloud Computing (MCC) is an integration of the concept of cloud computing within a mobile environment, which removes barriers linked to the mobile devices’ performance. Nevertheless, these new benefits are not problem-free entirely. Several common problems encountered by MCC are privacy, personal data management, identity authentication, and potential attacks. The security issues are a major hindrance in the mobile cloud computing’s adaptability. This study begins by presenting the background of MCC including the various definitions, infrastructures, and applications. In addition, the current challenges and opportunities will be presented including the different approaches that have been adapted in studying MCC. Keywords— Cloud Computing, Mobile Cloud Computing, Security and Performance.



Smartphones, tablet PCs, and PDAs are mobile devices that have become inseparables components in people daily lives given their convenience and being an effective way to communicate. Mobile users are able to use the many services offered by the mobile applications to make their lives easier. These applications can be retrieved from Google and special applications made especially for the iPhone. These applications are able to function on many mobile devices using wireless networks and remote servers. The fast growing mobile computing (MC) sector has been identifies as a strong trend in the development of the IT technology dealing with businesses and other related areas. However, there are some challenges in using these devices such as in resources with battery life, bandwidth and storage issues and in communication with mobility and security issues. These challenges are a barrier in developing the service quality of this technology [1]. There have been studies in the area of cloud computing (CC) and issues related to it in current years. Cloud computing can be describes as the integration of computing as a service and software as a service [2] where the applications can be taken from the Internet. The hardware and software systems in data centers provide the ability to conduct these services [3]. It is popularly referred to as ‘pay as you go computing’, ‘on demand computing’, and ‘utility computing’ where the cloud computing system can remotely reach the resource providers [4].

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The main advantage of CC is the different services offered by the service providers of cloud that include software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS) [5]. Many researches can be found on the area of cloud computing [6-18]; however, in this research, the focus will be on potential and the challenges faced by mobile cloud computing [15]. The idea of offloading data processing to CC is proposed to solve the inevitable challenges in mobile computing. Other service providers and the mobile devices are used to host the different mobile applications [15]. Mobile cloud computing [19] is a branch of cloud computing that provides mobility and convenience to users of mobile cloud computing. MCC is referred to as services in cloud computing that offered in a mobile environment. It involves the features of mobile networks and cloud computing which provides the users with an extensive number of services. In the MCC atmosphere, a high configuration is not needed by the mobile device such as high CPU speed or high memory capacity since all the data and multiple modules related to computing are managed in the cloud services [20]. In comparison to the old PC, a smartphone is able to utilize a network using various methods and maintain connection at all times. This ability also gives rise to the main threat faced by smartphone users. In addition, there is a possibility of misplacing or losing the phone which leads to the loss of critical data, private and business information [21]. At present, many users have pointed out their experiences of serious threats caused by malicious codes that include, device malfunction, information mishandling that is unfair and the potential spread of these issues to other devices that are connected to the same platform [22-24]. The following sections describe the various parts of cloud computing and mobile cloud computing. At first, an overview of cloud computing is presented, followed by mobile cloud computing as a branch of cloud computing. Lastly, the various opportunities and challenges of MCC are argued. II. OVERVIEW OF CLOUD COMPUTING Cloud computing is the current computing technology that provides a standardized approach to a huge area of resources based on demand [12]. In the recent years, the advancement of cloud computing has caused a tremendous impact on the ICT sector. Key global organizations such as Google, Microsoft,


and Amazon are trying to provide more robust, reliable and averagely priced cloud services; on the other hand, businesses are trying to reorganize their business processes so that they can make full use of the benefits of this latest technology [17]. A. Definitions According to NIST, cloud is a ubiquitous platform that is user friendly, allows on demand access to shared computing resources like storage, servers, networks, applications and services that are fast to launch and implement with minimum interference from management or service providers. The cloud model engages on the concept of availability which includes three service models, four deployment models and five key features [25]. B. Characteristics of Cloud Computing Cloud computing environment includes several features as described in the following:


1) On-demand Self-service: The user with an urgent requirement at a particular time for a specific computing resource that might involve network storage, software use, or CPU time, is able to automatically get these resources without having to go through a particular service provider [26]. 2) Broad Network Access: The resources can retrieved from a network easily by utilizing a set of standard tools that use heterogeneous platforms such as mobile phones, PDAs, and others [27]. 3) Resource Pooling: The infrastructure providers make available a lot of the utilities for computing that can be used in a robust manner by many users. This resource facility provides flexibility to the providers since they can manipulate the resources usage and manages operation costs. For instance, the provider for IaaS can leverage on the VM migration technology to obtain a high level of server consolidation which optimizes the usage of resources and decreases the expenditure on power usage and cooling systems [17]. 4) Rapid Elasticity: The offered capabilities are can be expanded and provisioned quickly, even automatically in some cases, to address the high demand. The users regard this offering of the provisions as unlimited and which can be purchased at any time in the quantity that is required [28]. 5) Measured Service: The usage of the services is measured and monitored continuously, which enables an optimized usage support, providing reports to the users and utilizing the ‘pay as you use’ model of business [29]. C. Cloud Computing Architecture The software and hardware in the cloud computing architecture are largely kept on servers on the web or ‘clouds’ and not in individual computers, through the Internet. An essential aspect of the cloud is availability of the different types of data on the cloud platform. The main feature of cloud computing is the capability of users to be able to keep a lot of confidential information and personal data there;

hence, the providers of the cloud service must be able to provide automation and security to the users. 1) Infrastructure as Service (IaaS): The infrastructure of the computer that is provided as a service is called IaaS. This allows the users to perform the task of processing, storage, networks, and other required resources for the purpose of computing that the user can run involving operating systems and applications. The users do not have control over the backend processes in the cloud infrastructure, however they can manage the OS, storage, deployed application, limited control of the networking sections such as hosting firewalls [30]. 2) Platform as Service (PaaS): Platform as a Service (PaaS) includes the design and development application, testing, deploying and hosting [31]. This service allows the memory, server, platforms and services to be utilized by the user within specific certain payment conditions. The combination of software and infrastructure with the application tools allows the hosting and building of web applications and services such as Google AppEngine and’s AppExchange [30]. 3) Software as a Service (SaaS): Software as a Service (SaaS) includes a comprehensive method to utilize the applications as per demand. Software is provided on the cloud and many users or organizations can access it at the same time period. It is a type of deployment of software where the services are designed to be accessible to users using the Internet. The SaaS eliminates the requirement to install and run the software on the computers of the users and decreases extra cost of software maintenance, operations and support. The user can just use the services provided. Some of the SaaS include, Gmail, and Google Docs [20]. D. Cloud Computing Deployment Model There are three kinds of deployment and usage models for the cloud application which the cloud computing architects must regard which are clouds that public, private, and hybrid. Each one has several benefits and disadvantages. Another type of cloud deployment is the community cloud [20]. 1) Public Cloud: service providers describe a cloud as the offered resources in the form of services to the users. Public clouds have several advantages from the service providers’ perspective such as not involving any capital investment and transferring the risk possibilities to the infrastructure provider [17]. 2) Private Cloud: Private clouds contain resources that are managed and utilized by one particular enterprise. For these kinds of cloud, the accessibility to resources is limited and confined to those who are from the enterprise. The advantage of the private cloud is it is able to provide better security and data privacy along with QoS and comply within the control of the enterprise [12, 32, 33]. 3) Hybrid Cloud: The combination of two clouds or more consisting of private, public, or community creates a cloud infrastructure as a separate entity but with the standardized


integrated technology that provides the transfer of data and application like cloud bursting for the purpose of loadbalancing. Companies use this hybrid cloud for their resources to develop their key performance areas by moving the nonessential business processes to the hybrid cloud while they still have control over the core processes using a private cloud. The main issue in hybrid clouds is the aspect of cloud standardization and interoperability [26]. 4) Community cloud: A group of people who have similar ideas and interests and share and work together on these matters are called a community. Likewise, a virtual community [34] is represented by people who share common IT technologies, purposes, and policies. The IT technology facilitates and supports this social link and gives the assurance of being a member of the same community [35]. The community cloud lets many companies work together using similar policies, resources and infrastructure. This reduces the operations costs and enables a better management of resources [36]. III. MOBILE CLOUD COMPUTING Mobile cloud computing (MCC) is the newest type of cloud computing and is fast developing as widely used technology. The main objective is using these techniques of cloud computing for data processing and storage in mobile devices. MCC has many advantages for enterprises and mobile device users. The mobile industry developed really quickly. The number of users of mobile devices has grown rapidly in considerably short time. These days almost everyone uses a smartphone or a type of mobile device. Considering the fact that internet usage has also reached a high usage level, it is anticipated that MCC will play a major role in the IT industry [37]. A. Definition The Open Gardens blog on the 5th of March 2010, referred to mobile cloud computing as “The availability of cloud computing services in a mobile ecosystem. This incorporates many elements, including consumer, enterprise, femtocells, transcoding, end-to-end security, home gateways, and mobile broadband-enabled services” [38]. However, mobile cloud computing can also be defined as the integration of mobile web and cloud computing [39, 40], which is a popular tool utilized by the mobile users community in engaging in Internet applications and services. In summary, MCC provides services on the cloud like data processing and storage services to the users. This service does not require the mobile device to have a high capacity of CPU speed and memory because all the more complex processes of computing are driven by the cloud [1]. Jason H Christensen [41] suggested three forms of archetype for developing the architecture for mobile applications using the next generations standards by integrating context enablement, smart mobile devices, and REST-based cloud computing. B. Architecture The operators of mobile network can provide services such as authentication, authorization, and calculating of the data of

the subscribers and home agents from the databases. The data are transferred to the cloud via the Internet service for the subscribers. Cloud controllers will manage the requests and provide the requested services accordingly. The cloud’s architectural details are different in a few ways. For instance, the four layers of the architecture is defined [42] compared to cloud computing and grid computing. On the other hand, Aneka, a service oriented architecture was designed to provide developers the ability to build continuously on applications like Microsoft .NET while providing support for the models of multiple programming [41] and application program interfaces (APIs). [16] Reveals an architecture that develops a cloud that is market-oriented and [43] proposes that services related to business are offered via the web utilizing this architecture. In this study, the aim is on creating a CC that is architecturally layered [44]. C. Advantages of Mobile Cloud Computing The advantages of MCC are linked to its specialty in strengthening the present mobile computing and evoking many possible areas in terms of applications that have been reported through current research studies. The applications are classified under sharing GPS, sensor data applications, natural language processing, image processing, querying, multimedia search, crowd computing, and sharing Internet access. However, as previously mentioned [45], these applications utilize computation that is spread out through various features with similarity such as data containing easily tracked boundaries and the duration used to integrate the unfinished outcome into smaller complete results. For example, string matching or manipulation, with group or word counters. Several different applications and setting available in current studies are shown in the following sections [15]: 1) Battery lifetime Can be Extended: One of the main issues to be considered for mobile devices is the battery lifetime. Some researches have been done to increase the CPU performance [46, 47] and to manage the disk and screen intelligently [48, 49] and to decrease the power consumption. However, the solutions provided require a change in the build-up of the mobile devices, or new hardware systems are needed which would expensive and not a viable option for the mobile devices. The computation technique of offloading is proposed with the objective of moving computations and complicating processes from the mobile devices with constrained resources to other tools that are more resourceful like the available servers in the clouds. This decreases the extended time used to run the applications on the mobile devices, which utilize a large amount of power. Smailagic, Ettus’s, and Rudenko et al [50, 51] research proves the success of the offloading techniques through the examination of several experiments. The outcome shows that the applications that remotely executed are largely able to preserve energy. According to Rudenko et al. [50] who examined computations of a numerical nature at a large scale, showed that energy consumption can be lowered by 45% for large matrix calculations. In addition, offloading the compiler maximization used for image processing [52] can bring down the energy consumption by 41% in the mobile devices. The usage of memory arithmetic unit or MAUI and transferring


Database as a service or DaaS in CC [59], is described as letting the users a tool that is seamless to create, store and access their database; Some of these services are AMAZON SimpleDB [60] and Microsoft Azure™ [61]. Moving the 2) Processing Power and Data Storage Capacity Improvement: database information location in the mobile system to a cloud In the MCC scenario, the general management of resources is db is a critical function [62]. offered by the cloud for all the mobile devices to help in The cloud can be provisioned easily into a new setting for reaching over the limit of the devices particularly for processing power and data storage. The cloud acts as the agent computing in a short time frame as it runs on a virtual principle. for the devices. The mobile device can transmit with its agent Thus, the user need not worry about establishing the entire computer setting. When a computing environment needs to be for communication with others outside of the present domain changed, a customized infrastructure can be rented from the [54]. cloud as well [63]. Mahadev Satyanarayanan [55] who is a researcher first presented mobile computing that is resourceful and cloudlet- 6) Multi-tenancy: A cloud provider’s computing resources based. A user can utilize the virtual machine technology using are mixed together so that they can provide services to many this architecture, to customise the software service in the nearest users using the multi-tenancy or virtualization model which has cloudlet and use the service over the wireless LAN network; the various physical and virtual dynamic resources given according task of the mobile device is usually as a client to the service to user demand [28]. The pooled approach is taken for the offered. A cloudlet is highly dispersed and not centralized on computing paradigm due to two critical factors, which are the Internet architecture and its cycles for computing and economies of scale and specialization. The result of mixed storage space can be used by other close by mobile computers. model is that the computing physical resources are not visible The execution will increase the WiFi points as the memory, to the users who usually do not have control or knowledge of storage and processes will be connected to the mobile devices the location, formation, and originality of the resources being [54]. used such as database and CPU. For example, users do not Xinwen Zhang [56] is another researcher who designed an know the exact place in the cloud where their data is stored application that is flexible that raises the size of platforms that [26]. are resource-constrained. An application that is flexible has one 7) Ease of Integration: The Internet and the cloud can combine or multiple weblets that function on their own but is capable of a lot of services from different providers to give the users as communicating with other weblets. During the time when this application was launched, the elastic app’s manager can monitor there is demand [1]. The Cloud architecture offers integrated the requirements needed for the resource by the weblets and and distributed computer capabilities [64]. The system is able determine the time for launching. The computed weblets that to ease the combination of cross-domain abilities for energyare intensive usually limit the processors in the mobile device efficient, on demand, dependable access, and flexible, to the and can be launched on the cloud on more than one platform; emerging virtualization technology infrastructure [65]. the user interface components (UI) or those needing an extended D. Potential Barriers and Issues access point for local data launching on the device can be done As earlier mentioned, MCC has several advantages for at the same time [54]. mobile users and service providers. However, given the mixture 3) Improving Reliability: The data and applications are stored of two different fields, which include CC and mobile networks, in cloud servers, which also ensure that the data is backed up to MCC needs to address some technical issues. The following develop the reliability of the MCC. Furthermore, mobile users sections will present the issues found in the studies of MCC that can be given secure services remotely through the cloud by are linked to mobile communication and CC. way of malicious code detection, authentication, and virus 1) Resource Poverty of Mobile Device: One of the key issues detection [57]. in MCC is the limited resource of mobile devices. Generally, In addition, Mobile Cloud Computing can increase data the mobile devices have very low capacity in terms of security for users and service providers as a model for data computational power, storage, limited battery power and poor security. For instance, the cloud is able to save the visibility in comparison to a computer. A possible solution to copyrighted digital contents (music and video clips) from this problem is revealed in [66] by starting the offloading piracy and illegal distribution [58]. computation. Nevertheless, security, privacy, reliability and 4) Dynamic Provisioning: The main attraction of the CC is handling issues need to take into consideration the issue of cost that resources for computing can be retrieved while moving. In of energy as well. These challenges need a high amount of the traditional models, provisional resources act according to energy for the solution [37]. peak demands, while on the CC, dynamic resources 2) Network Bandwidth: MCC’s important requirement is for provisioning is accorded based on current demands which the communication to be continuous and consistent and this eventually lead to reduced operations costs [17]. depends on the design of innovative tools and further research. 5) Scalability: CC provides a large storage and scalability The networks that are wireless are aligned with lowcapability, which causes migration of data to outsourced bandwidth, intermittent, and less-reliable transmission space databases (ODB) in the cloud from the service providers. compared to networks that are wired. Several of the more components interface in mobile games to cloud servers can save battery energy usage by 27% for computer games, and 45% for chess games [53].


critical issues that cause QoS degradation are nonproportionate delay in execution of application, the dismissal of always-on connectivity, and excess utilization of limited mobile resources. The intra-system signals handoff strategies, dependable inter-systems and inter-connectivity of heterogeneous wired and wireless networks are the fundamental attributes of a seamless ubiquitous architecture in a robust environment. However, to address these challenges, next generation wireless networks [67] provides several potential solutions in MCC [68]. 3) Latency: This is a fundamental barrier that constraints the solutions for MCC into a low-latency approach. Energy use that is efficient [69] and interactive response-time [70] are two key metrics in remote applications processing that are adversely influenced by latency in the MCC setting. For lowering the lengthened WAN latency, the potential usage of WLAN and not the HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet Access) to operate complex tacks in nearby computing systems known as “cloudlet” have been proposed [55]. However, trust and security matters are the most important factors that hinder the proposed solution to gain the user’s confidence in the use of the cloudlet’s outsourced infrastructure. Thus, further research is needed to develop systems that offer quick responses and trustworthy. The Nokia Research group [69] in a current study, revealed that the data transfer’s bit-rate imposed relatively additional concentration on efficient usage of energy of cellular networks in comparison to WLAN. The higher bit-rate result transmission results to the efficiency of energy usage in the transmission. Hence, the conclusion is that a robust atmosphere will generate a more intelligent and scalable context-aware system in the MCC [68]. 4) Network Availability: The MCC should ensure that there is fast and continuous Internet connectivity. The mobile device is always linked to the cloud from any place and time that the user needs to be in the fold. A new technology that offers a solution for data caching utilizing a mobile device is the HTML5; this lets the cloud application to continue performing even if there is some interruption in the connection [37]. 5) Heterogeneity: MCC is used in highly heterogeneous networks based on the interfaces on the wireless network. Different nodes in the mobile device can link to the cloud environment through different wireless technologies such as WiMAX, GPRS, WLAN, CDMA2000 and WCDMA. This causes the problem of managing the wireless connections and as well as addressing the MCC’s needs such as being efficient in energy use of mobile devices, always being connected, and scalability of on-demand wireless connection [1]. 6) Computing Offloading: One of the key features of MCC is offloading which increase battery life and improves performance of the applications. Nevertheless, this concept cannot be regarded as an effective method to conserve energy and increase mobile devices performance based on prior researches [50]. 7) Data Access Efficiency: Data access is an important element in cloud computing as the cloud services quantity is

increasing on a daily basis. There are major concerns regarding how to manipulate the data resources on the cloud with the resources limitations, low bandwidth and mobile devices mobility. Cloud providers utilized commercial tools such as the Amazon S3, in which each I/O process (copy, place, list, and cut) is managed. The communication over the network and cost of service are becoming more for mobile users since the I/O performance are normally provided at the file-level [1]. 8) Data Ownership: The issues are derived from the knowledge that MCC is connected to the purchased digital media ownership. There is a possibility to store the media files (audio, video, database or e-books) that are bought, within the cloud remotely and store them locally. Nevertheless, this gives rise to the issue of true ownership of the concerned files. When a given service is utilized to buy the media and is kept remotely, there is a potential of losing access of the bought media. The service providers can bankrupt for example and may not give back access to users for any possible reasons [71]. 9) Elastic Application Models: CC services can be scaled since the robust resources provision is clearly aligned, self-service based on almost real-time, without regarding users peal loads. This requirement is very critical in the MCC environment. Mobile apps can be initiated on the device or cloud, and can be moved between the two platforms according to the robust changes of the user demands or context of computing. Furthermore, resource limitations of mobile device will increase limits of the application’s processes. Thus, the flexible application models should be proposed to solve the issues of basic processing [54]. 10) Security and Privacy: The boundary of the security aspects realizes the hidden parts in the security of the mobile app models in the MCC environment. These security aspects involve issues related to data security, data integrity, identity privacy, location privacy, risk management, authentication, secure data access management or secure routing [72]. Several applications in cloud computing services take care of private personal data like credit card details. Thus, it would be very risk if the providers of the cloud services could provide a high level of security as well [30]. Challenges presented above have made some analysts to suggest that may be MCC is just a trend that will soon go out of fashion [15]. It is critical that these issues are discussed appropriately if MCC is to be used successfully by business people in the business environment [71]. IV. CONCLUSIONS This study introduced mobile cloud computing as the latest emerging technology. Given the nature of mobile devices, there are several critical drawbacks in devices, which include resource poverty, and battery lifetime, which have been highlighted in mobile cloud computing. Besides the various benefits of mobile cloud computing, there are several main drawbacks that hinder the advancement of this technology in terms of privacy and security issues. In the mobile cloud environment, data and application are store in cloud servers that


raise the security issues for the users of mobile computing and this issue is a key barrier in the development of this new technology. This research paper presents a comprehensive study on the key concepts, infrastructure and challenges arising with mobile cloud computing. ACKNOWLEDGMENT This work was supported by Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT) center at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. REFERENCES [1]


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