NSDI '06 Abstract
Pp. 115128 of the Proceedings
Pip: Detecting the Unexpected in Distributed Systems
Patrick Reynolds, Duke University; Charles Killian, University of California, San Diego; Janet L. Wiener, Jeffrey C. Mogul, and Mehul A. Shah, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Palo Alto; Amin Vahdat, University of California, San Diego
Bugs in distributed systems are often hard to find. Many bugs reflect
discrepancies between a system's behavior and the programmer's assumptions
about that behavior. We present Pip,
an infrastructure for comparing
actual behavior and expected behavior to expose structural errors and
performance problems in distributed systems. Pip allows programmers to
express, in a declarative language, expectations about the system's
communications structure, timing, and resource consumption. Pip includes
system instrumentation and annotation tools to log actual system behavior,
and visualization and query tools for exploring expected and unexpected
Pip allows a developer to quickly understand and debug both
familiar and unfamiliar systems.
We applied Pip to several applications, including FAB, SplitStream,
Bullet, and RanSub. We generated most of the instrumentation for all four
applications automatically. We found the needed expectations easy to
write, starting in each case with automatically generated
expectations. Pip found unexpected behavior in each application, and helped to
isolate the causes of poor performance and incorrect behavior.
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