Tolerating Hardware Device Failures in Software

Date Added: Aug 2009
Format: PDF

Hardware devices can fail, but many drivers assume they do not. When confronted with real devices that misbehave, these assumptions can lead to driver or system failures. While major operating system and device vendors recommend that drivers detect and recover from hardware failures, the authors find that there are many drivers that will crash or hang when a device fails. Such bugs cannot easily be detected by regular stress testing because the failures are induced by the device and not the software load. This paper describes Carburizer, a code-manipulation tool and associated runtime that improves system reliability in the presence of faulty devices. Carburizer analyzes driver source code to find locations where the driver incorrectly trusts the hardware to behave.