Replay Debugging for the Datacenter

Gautam Altekar

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2012-216
December 1, 2012

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-216.pdf

Debugging large-scale, data-intensive, distributed applications running in a datacenter (“datacenter applications”) is complex and time-consuming. The key obstacle is non-deterministic failures—hard-to-reproduce program misbehaviors that are immune to traditional cyclic debugging techniques. Datacenter applications are rife with such failures because they operate in highly non-deterministic environments: a typical setup employs thousands of nodes, spread across multiple datacenters, to process terabytes of data per day. In these environments, existing methods for debugging non-deterministic failures are of limited use. They either incur excessive production overheads or don’t scale to multi-node, terabyte-scale processing.

To help remedy the situation, we have built a new deterministic replay tool. Our tool, called DCR, enables the reproduction and debugging of non-deterministic failures in production datacenter runs. The key observation behind DCR is that debugging does not always require a precise replica of the original datacenter run. Instead, it often suffices to produce some run that exhibits the original behavior of the control-plane—the most error-prone component of datacenter applications. DCR leverages this observation to relax the determinism guarantees offered by the system, and consequently, to address key requirements of production datacenter applications: lightweight recording of long running programs, causally consistent replay of large-scale clusters, and out-of-the box operation with existing, real world applications running on commodity multiprocessors.

Advisor: Ion Stoica


BibTeX citation:

@phdthesis{Altekar:EECS-2012-216,
    Author = {Altekar, Gautam},
    Title = {Replay Debugging for the Datacenter},
    School = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2012},
    Month = {Dec},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-216.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2012-216},
    Abstract = {Debugging large-scale, data-intensive, distributed applications running in a datacenter (“datacenter applications”) is complex and time-consuming. The key obstacle is non-deterministic failures—hard-to-reproduce program misbehaviors that are immune to traditional cyclic debugging techniques. Datacenter applications are rife with such failures because they operate in highly non-deterministic environments: a typical setup employs thousands of nodes, spread across multiple datacenters, to process terabytes of data per day. In these environments, existing methods for debugging non-deterministic failures are of limited use. They either incur excessive production overheads or don’t scale to multi-node, terabyte-scale processing.

To help remedy the situation, we have built a new deterministic replay tool. Our tool, called DCR, enables the reproduction and debugging of non-deterministic failures in production datacenter runs. The key observation behind DCR is that debugging does not always require a precise replica of the original datacenter run. Instead, it often suffices to produce some run that exhibits the original behavior of the control-plane—the most error-prone component of datacenter applications. DCR leverages this observation to relax the determinism guarantees offered by the system, and consequently, to address key requirements of production datacenter applications: lightweight recording of long running programs, causally consistent replay of large-scale clusters, and out-of-the box operation with existing, real world applications running on commodity multiprocessors.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Thesis
%A Altekar, Gautam
%T Replay Debugging for the Datacenter
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2012
%8 December 1
%@ UCB/EECS-2012-216
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2012/EECS-2012-216.html
%F Altekar:EECS-2012-216