In recent years we have witnessed the emergence of pervasive and mobile computing. Outdoors field operations, greater team collaboration, and flexibility demands have motivated the nurturing of pervasive solutions that provide ubiquitous access to internal networks and valuable data. However, the evolution of small-scale and mobile devices has only recently brought the idea of contributing mobile resources into the light. With a suitably lightweight service framework and a relevant middleware management platform, the efficient and meaningful exploitation of functionality not found in traditional distributed systems, can open up a whole new range of opportunities for efficient data gathering and dissemination. In this paper we briefly present the design and implementation of our middleware platform for collective and transparent management of mobile and small-scale devices based on the ‘Virtual Cluster’ approach. More importantly we describe and analyze an extended series of experiments that show the many benefits of this approach in exploiting mobile and limited devices for the purposes of mobile and pervasive computing.