Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


One-Click Time Travel

Mahadev Satyanarayanan, Gloriana St. Clair*,
Benjamin Gilbert, Yoshihisa Abe, Jan Harkes, Dan Ryan, Erika Linke*, Keith Webster*

June 2015


Keywords: Scientific reproducibility, virtual machines, demand paging, caching, prefetching, software archiving, software obsolescence, software maintenance, software forensics

We describe a system called Olive that freezes and precisely reproduces the environment necessary to execute software long after its creation. It uses virtual machine (VM) technology to encapsulate legacy software, complete with all its software dependencies. This legacy world can be completely closed-source: there is no requirement for availability of source code, nor a requirement for recompilation or relinking. The user experience is similar to viewing a YouTube video. A click on a web page launches the VM at an edge node on the Internet. As the VM executes, its contents are demand-paged from an unmodified web server. History-based prefetching is able to sustain acceptable user experience even over last-mile networks.

15 pages

*Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

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