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As more and more multi-tier services are developed from commercial off-the-shelf components or heterogeneous middleware without source code available, both developers and administrators need a request tracing tool to exactly know how a user request of interest travels through services of black boxes and obtain macro-level user request behaviors of services without manually analyzing massive logs. This need is further exacerbated by IT system "Agility", which mandates the tracing tool to provide on-line performance data since off-line approaches cannot reflect system changes in real time. Moreover, considering the large scale of deployed services, a pragmatic tracing approach should be scalable in terms of the cost in collecting and analyzing logs.
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