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OSDI '04 — Abstract

Pp. 31–44 of the Proceedings

Microreboot—A Technique for Cheap Recovery

George Candea, Shinichi Kawamoto, Yuichi Fujiki, Greg Friedman, and Armando Fox, Stanford University


A significant fraction of software failures in large-scale Internet systems are cured by rebooting, even when the exact failure causes are unknown. However, rebooting can be expensive, causing nontrivial service disruption or downtime even when clusters and failover are employed. In this work we use separation of process recovery from data recovery to enable microrebooting—a fine-grain technique for surgically recovering faulty application components, without disturbing the rest of the application.

We evaluate microrebooting in an Internet auction system running on an application server. Microreboots recover most of the same failures as full reboots, but do so an order of magnitude faster and result in an order of magnitude savings in lost work. This cheap form of recovery engenders a new approach to high availability: microreboots can be employed at the slightest hint of failure, prior to node failover in multi-node clusters, even when mistakes in failure detection are likely; failure and recovery can be masked from end users through transparent call-level retries; and systems can be rejuvenated by parts, without ever being shut down.

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