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How to Keep Your Head Above Water While Detecting Errors

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Executive Summary

Today's distributed systems need runtime error detection to catch errors arising from software bugs, hardware errors, or unexpected operating conditions. A prominent class of error detection techniques operates in a stateful manner, i.e., it keeps track of the state of the application being monitored and then matches state-based rules. Large-scale distributed applications generate a high volume of messages that can overwhelm the capacity of a stateful detection system. An existing approach to handle this is to randomly sample the messages and process a subset. However, this approach, leads to non-determinism with respect to the detection system's view of what state the application is in. This in turn leads to degradation in the quality of detection.

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