VPath: Precise Discovery of Request Processing Paths From Black-Box Observations of Thread and Network Activities

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Executive Summary

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. The authors have developed a discovery technique called vPath that overcomes these shortcomings.

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