Steel: Simplified Development and Deployment of Edge-Cloud Applications


Shadi A. Noghabi, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; John Kolb, University of California, Berkeley; Peter Bodik and Eduardo Cuervo, Microsoft Research


The rapid growth in both the number and variety of cloud services has led to the emergence of complex applications using multiple cloud services (typically > 5). Although building cloud-based applications is relatively simple, extending them to an edge-cloud environment is complicated, error-prone, and time-consuming. Effectively using the edge requires dynamic adaptation and movement of services between edges and the cloud, e.g., in presence of failures or load spikes. However, current platforms do not support this. We propose Steel, a high-level abstraction that simplifies development, enables transparent adaptation and migration, and automates deployment and monitoring across the entire edge-cloud environment. Additionally, Steel enables modular and pluggable optimizations, such as placement, load balancing, and dynamic communication, with minimal effort. Based on our evaluation, we reduce the initial development effort (1.7x – 3.5x reduction in lines of config), support dynamic moves with minimal changes (∼2 lines of config per move, reducing 95% of the overhead), and support easy development of optimizations (e.g., a placement optimizer requires ∼500 lines of code).

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@inproceedings {216825,
author = {Shadi A. Noghabi and John Kolb and Peter Bodik and Eduardo Cuervo},
title = {Steel: Simplified Development and Deployment of {Edge-Cloud} Applications},
booktitle = {10th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing (HotCloud 18)},
year = {2018},
address = {Boston, MA},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul