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An active approach to characterizing dynamic dependencies for problem determination in a distributed environment

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3 Author(s)
Brown, A. ; Div. of Comput. Sci., California Univ., Berkeley, CA, USA ; Kar, G. ; Keller, A.

We describe a methodology for identifying and characterizing dynamic dependencies between system components in distributed application environments such as e-commerce systems. The methodology relies on active perturbation of the system to identify dependencies and the use of statistical modeling to compute dependency strengths. Unlike more traditional passive techniques, our active approach requires little initial knowledge of the implementation details of the system and has the potential to provide greater coverage and more direct evidence of causality for the dependencies it identifies. We experimentally demonstrate the efficacy of our approach by applying it to a prototypical e-commerce system based on the TPC-W Web commerce benchmark, for which the active approach correctly identifies and characterizes 41 of 42 true dependencies out of a potential space of 140 dependencies. Finally, we consider how the dependencies computed by our approach can be used to simplify and guide the task of root-cause analysis, an important part of problem determination

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Integrated Network Management Proceedings, 2001 IEEE/IFIP International Symposium on

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