Provisioning Converged Applications and Services via the Cloud

Provisioning Converged Applications and Services via the Cloud

Michael Adeyeye (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2833-5.ch010


The cloud is becoming an atmosphere to store huge data and deploy massive applications. Using virtualization technologies, it is economical and feasible to provide testbeds in the cloud. The convergence of Next Generation (NG) networks and Internet-based applications may result in the deployment of future rich Internet applications and services in the cloud. This chapter shows the migration of mobility-enabled services to the cloud. It presents a SIP-based hybrid architecture for Web session mobility that offers content sharing and session handoff between Web browsers. The implemented system has recently evolved to a framework for developing different kinds of converged services over the Internet, which are similar to services offered by Google Wave and existing telephony Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). In addition, the work in this chapter is compared with those similar technologies. Lastly, the authors show efforts to migrate the SIP/HTTP application server to the cloud, which was necessitated by the need to include more functionalities (i.e., QoS and rich media support) as well as to provide large-scale deployment in a multi-domain scenario.
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Convergence is taking place across numerous research, industrial, and application areas. Possible notable examples include network-convergence, service-convergence, and device-convergence. Network-layer convergence is taking place in networks with focus on technology convergence and integration of different heterogeneous solutions. While application-layer convergence is relevantly occurring in the provisioning of telecommunications and Internet services (e.g., for entertainment applications), device-layer convergence is manifestly taking place in hardware and software manufacturing, which has resulted into new handsets and computer equipments at relatively low cost (thus enabling a mass market of users). There are three main technology trends that are influencing the future of the converged telecommunications and Internet industries. They are: (1) IP-based networks; (2) the growth of Web 2.0; and (3) the rapid evolution of devices (with increasing local resources) (Sarin, 2007). These three trends have sequentially led to network convergence, service convergence, and device convergence in the last years. The interplay of the trends will determine the kind of services that will be available in the future. These services are anyway envisaged to be converged services, i.e., services offered over the above-converged provisioning scenario. Owing to this technological evolution, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) may soon no longer be the primary market drivers of communications services but increasingly drift towards a role of mediator and change-enabler (Saxtoft, 2008).

By delving into slightly finer details, the first major changes taking place in the communications industry can be seen in the variety of network technologies. These changes are faster network speeds or broadband access, introduction of mobility and development of IP-based architectures. The second major changes for CSPs can be noticed in the developments of Web 2.0. These developments have enabled CSPs to expose their services, telco-ICT enablers to bring together numerous applications, and people to produce and consume composite services. The combinations of potential new services are nearly limitless. The third major changes taking place in the communications industry are the advancement in devices, which has allowed customers to fully benefit from converged offerings.

In this scenario, standard solutions for session management in open environments, such as SIP (Rosenberg, et al., 2002; Handley, et al., 1999; Silvana & Schulzrinne, 2008) are crucial. Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), formerly known as Jabber Protocol, is also widely used to achieve interaction between User Agent Clients (UACs) (Saint-Andre, 2004). XMPP is commonly used for instant messaging and developing online games between two or more UACs. Although XMPP could be integrated into a Web browser to achieve content sharing and session handoff between Web browsers, using SIP in this work offers the advantage of having an adaptive UAC in which a Web browser could act as a SIP client for voice call and possibly be extended to support other SIP related functionalities. XMPP has however been used in Instant Messaging clients, such as Pidgin and GTALK.

In addition, the future converged scenario requires innovative concepts for networking and service evolution. Openness, self-organization, self-adaptation, improved flexibility, and hiding management/operation complexities to users and operators are features expected in the future Internet (Manzalini, 2008). Researchers and industry experts have recently started to provide some frameworks and service delivery platforms for converged services provisioning by adopting standard protocols, which are becoming reference points for the above scenario, such as XML, SIP, and XMPP. Only to mention a few notable examples, projects that take advantage of SIP extensibility include the Akogrimo Project (Mobile Grids, 2008), which involves embedding Web service data in messages exchanged via the Session Description Protocol (SDP). In addition, in an expired IETF Internet draft (Wu & Schulzrinne, 2001), two approaches are identified for transferring URLs between Web browsers for session mobility purposes: the first proposed approach is by sending the URL via a SIP MESSAGE method.

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