VPath: Precise discovery of request processing paths from black-box observations of thread and network activities

Byung Chul Tak, Chunqiang Tang, Chun Zhang, Sriram Govindan, Bhuvan Urgaonkar, Rong N. Chang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

36 Citations (SciVal)


Discovering end-to-end request-processing paths is crucial in many modern IT environments for reasons varying from debugging and bottleneck analysis to billing and auditing. Existing solutions for this problem fall into two broad categories: statistical inference and intrusive instrumentation. The statistical approaches infer request-processing paths in a “most likely” way and their accuracy degrades as the workload increases. The instrumentation approaches can be accurate, but they are system dependent as they require knowledge (and often source code) of the application as well as time and effort from skilled programmers. We have developed a discovery technique called vPath that overcomes these shortcomings. Unlike techniques using statistical inference, vPath provides precise path discovery, by monitoring thread and network activities and reasoning about their causality. Unlike techniques using intrusive instrumentation, vPath is implemented in a virtual machine monitor, making it agnostic of the overlying middleware or application. Our evaluation using a diverse set of applications (TPC-W, RUBiS, MediaWiki, and the home-grown vApp) written in different programming languages (C, Java, and PHP) demonstrates the generality and accuracy of vPath as well as its low overhead. For example, turning on vPath affects the throughput and response time of TPC-W by only 6%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2009 USENIX Annual Technical Conference
PublisherUSENIX Association
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781931971683
StatePublished - 2019
Event2009 USENIX Annual Technical Conference - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2009Jun 19 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2009 USENIX Annual Technical Conference


Conference2009 USENIX Annual Technical Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)


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