DATE: Thursday, January 22, 2015
TIME: 12:00 - 1:00 pm
PLACE: RMCIC 4th Floor Panther Hollow Room

SPEAKER: Raja Sambasivan, CMU

TITLE: Toward Principled End-to-end Tracing of Distributed Systems

End-to-end tracing captures the workflow of causally-related activity within and among the components of a distributed system. As distributed systems grow in complexity, such tracing has the potential to become a critical tool for management tasks, such as diagnosis and resource accounting. But, today, there is a lack of clarity with regards to how to design tracing infrastructures for its various use cases. This has led to a proliferation of tracing designs that ignore past efforts, an insidious belief that a single tracing design can be a "one-size-fits-all" solution for a variety of management tasks, and tracing infrastructures that are less useful than originally envisioned. It is clear that end-to-end tracing will not reach its full potential without efforts to clarify its design space. In this work, we use our experiences building and using tracing infrastructures to distill the key design axes of end-to-end tracing. We describe which management tasks require different design choices. We find that certain innocuous design choices can lead to unexpectedly poor outcomes when used together.

Raja is a postdoctoral researcher at CMU, working on inter-domain networking research. His PhD work focused on diagnosis in cloud-computing environments.

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