Publication
USENIX ATC 2009
Conference paper

VPath: Precise discovery of request processing paths from black-box observations of thread and network activities

Abstract

Discovering end-to-end request-processing paths is crucial in many modern IT environments for reasons varying from debugging and bottleneck analysis to billing and auditing. Existing solutions for this problem fall into two broad categories: statistical inference and intrusive instrumentation. The statistical approaches infer request-processing paths in a “most likely” way and their accuracy degrades as the workload increases. The instrumentation approaches can be accurate, but they are system dependent as they require knowledge (and often source code) of the application as well as time and effort from skilled programmers. We have developed a discovery technique called vPath that overcomes these shortcomings. Unlike techniques using statistical inference, vPath provides precise path discovery, by monitoring thread and network activities and reasoning about their causality. Unlike techniques using intrusive instrumentation, vPath is implemented in a virtual machine monitor, making it agnostic of the overlying middleware or application. Our evaluation using a diverse set of applications (TPC-W, RUBiS, MediaWiki, and the home-grown vApp) written in different programming languages (C, Java, and PHP) demonstrates the generality and accuracy of vPath as well as its low overhead. For example, turning on vPath affects the throughput and response time of TPC-W by only 6%.

Date

14 Jun 2009

Publication

USENIX ATC 2009

Authors

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