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Today's trend towards network virtualization and software-defined networking enables flexible new distributed systems where resources can be dynamically allocated and migrated to locations where they are most useful. This paper proposes a competitive analysis approach to design and reason about online algorithms that find a good tradeoff between the benefits and costs of a migratable service. A competitive online algorithm provides worst-case performance guarantees under any demand dynamics, and without any information or statistical assumptions on the demand in the future. This is attractive especially in scenarios where the demand is hard to predict and can be subject to unexpected events.
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