fore the cloud was a thing, the idea of a
utility model of computing is more important than ever. For practitioners of
today, OceanStore demonstrates that
it is possible to create a utility-provider
model of computing even with a widely
distributed infrastructure controlled
by a number of administrative entities.
Because edge computing is a rapidly
evolving field with a large number of
potential applications, it should be
on every practitioner’s radar. While a
number of existing applications can
benefit immediately from edge computing resources, a whole new set of
applications will emerge as a result of
having access to such infrastructures.
The emergence of edge computing
does not mean cloud computing will
vanish or become obsolete, as there
will always be applications that are better suited to being run in the cloud.
This article merely scratches the
surface of a vast collection of knowledge. A key lesson, however, is that
creating familiar gateways and providing API uniformity are merely facades; infrastructures and services are
needed to address the core challenges
of edge computing in a more fundamental way.
Tackling management complexity and heterogeneity will probably
be the biggest hurdle in the future of
edge computing. The other big challenge for edge computing will be data
management. As data becomes more
valuable than ever, security and privacy concerns will play an important
role in how edge computing architectures and applications evolve. In theory, edge computing makes it possible
to restrict data to specific domains of
trust for better information control.
What happens in practice remains to
Cloud computing taught practitioners
how to scale resources within a single administrative domain. Edge computing requires learning how to scale in the number of administrative domains.
Nitesh Mor is a Ph. D. candidate in computer science at the
University of California, Berkeley. He is currently part of the
Global Data Plane project at the Ubiquitous Swarm Lab
at UC Berkeley, where he focuses on secure Internetwide
infrastructures for data storage and communication.
Copyright held by author/owner.
Publication rights licensed to ACM.
storage. Note that while many aspects
of the vision may seem like a trivial task
with the cloud computing resources of
today, this paper predates the cloud by
almost a decade.
OceanStore: An Architecture for Global-Scale Persistent Storage
J. Kubiatowicz et al.
ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review 34,
5 (2000), 190–201; https://dl.acm.org/citation.
OceanStore assumes a fundamentally
untrusted infrastructure composed
of geographically distributed servers
and provides storage as a service. Data
is named by globally unique identifiers (GUIDs) and is portrayed as nomadic (that is, it can flow freely and
can be cached anywhere, anytime).
The underlying network is essentially
a structured P2P (peer-to-peer) network that routes data based on the
GUIDs. The routing is performed using a locality-aware, distributed routing algorithm.
Updates to the objects are cryptographically signed and are associated
with predicates that are evaluated by
a replica. Based on such evaluation,
an update can be either committed or
aborted. Further, these updates are
serialized by the infrastructure using
a primary tier of replicas running a
Byzantine agreement protocol, thus removing the trust in any single physical
server or provider. A larger number of
secondary replicas are used to enhance
durability. In addition, data is replicated widely for archival storage by using
While OceanStore has a custom API
to the system, it provides “facades” that
could offer familiar interfaces—such
as a filesystem—to legacy applications.
This is a vision paper with enough details to convince readers that such a
system can actually be built.
In fact, OceanStore had a follow-up prototype implementation named
Pond ( https://bit.ly/2SAlJie). In a way,
OceanStore can be considered a two-part system: An information-centric
network underneath and a storage layer on top that provides update semantics on objects. Combined with the
secure execution of Intel SGX-like solutions, it should be possible, in theory,
to run end-to-end secure applications.
Although OceanStore appeared be-
While using familiar
interfaces has some
benefits, it is time
to move away from
a “trust based on