Human-Computer Interaction Institute
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Virtual Machines for Remote Computing:
Measuring the User Experience

Brandon Taylor, Yoshihisa Abe, Anind Dey,
Mahadev Satyanarayanan, Dan Siewiorek, Asim Smailagic

July 2015


Also appears as Computer Science Technical Report

Keywords: User experience, virtual machines, demand paging, caching, prefetching

Virtual Machine (VM) encapsulation provides a way to provision existing software over the Internet without any code modifications. However, distributing software introduces performance costs that vary in complex ways. Our study provides empirical evidence of how network conditions, software interfaces and VM provisioning techniques impact user experience. Using these results, designers seeking to provision existing applications can better understand the usability impacts of their design choices. Additionally, our study highlights the limitations of existing system response time guidelines derived from HCI research conducted using text-based terminal applications. In particular, we were able to identify how various, common aspects of GUI application interactions are impacted by system delays and relate these effects to decreases in user satisfaction.

22 pages

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