CLOUD 2022
Conference paper

Detecting Layered Bottlenecks in Microservices

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We propose a method to detect both software and hardware bottlenecks in a web service consisting of microservices. A bottleneck is a resource that limits the maximum performance of the entire web service. Bottlenecks often include both software resources such as threads, locks, and channels, and hardware resources such as processors, memories, and disks. Bottlenecks form a layered structure since a single request can utilize multiple software resources and a hardware resource simultaneously. The microservice architecture makes the detection of layered bottlenecks challenging due to the lack of a uniform analysis perspective across languages, libraries, frameworks, and middle-ware.We detect layered bottlenecks in microservices by profiling numbers and status of working threads in each microservice and dependency among microservices via network connections. Our approach can be applied to various programming languages since it relies only on standard debugging tools. Nevertheless, our approach not only detects which microservice is a bottleneck but also enables us to understand why it becomes a bottleneck. This is enabled by a novel visualization method to show layered bottlenecks in microservices at a glance. We demonstrate that our approach successfully detects and visualizes layered bottlenecks in the state-of-the-art microservice benchmarks, DeathStarBench and Acme Air microservices. This enables us to optimize the microservices themselves to achieve a higher throughput per re-source utilization rate compared with simply scaling the number of replicas of microservices.