ACT now: Aggregate Comparison of Traces for Incident Localization

Kamala Ramasubramanian, Ashutosh Raina,Jonathan Mace,Peter Alvaro


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Incidents in production systems are common and downtime is expensive. Applying an appropriate mitigating action quickly, such as changing a specific firewall rule, reverting a change, or diverting traffic to a different availability zone, saves money. Incident localization is time-consuming since a single failure can have many effects, extending far from the site of failure. Knowing how different system events relate to each other is necessary to quickly identify \emph{where} to mitigate. Our approach, Aggregate Comparison of Traces (ACT), localizes incidents by comparing sets of traces (which capture events and their relationships for individual requests) sampled from the most recent steady-state operation and during an incident. In our quantitative experiments, we show that ACT is able to effectively localize more than 99% of incidents.
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