Revelio: ML-Generated Debugging Queries for Finding Root Causes in Distributed Systems

Part of Proceedings of Machine Learning and Systems 4 pre-proceedings (MLSys 2022)


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Pradeep Dogga, Karthik Narasimhan, Anirudh Sivaraman, Shiv Saini, George Varghese, Ravi Netravali


A major difficulty in debugging distributed systems lies in manually determining which of the many available debugging tools to use and how to query that tool’s logs. Our own study of a production debugging workflow confirms the magnitude of this burden. This paper explores whether a deep neural network trained on past bug reports and debugging logs can assist developers in distributed systems debugging. We present Revelio, a debugging assistant which takes user reports and system logs as input, and outputs debugging queries that developers can use to find a bug’s root cause. The key challenges lie in (1) combining inputs of different types (e.g., natural language reports and quantitative logs) and (2) generalizing to unseen faults. Revelio addresses these by employ-ing deep neural networks to uniformly embed diverse input sources and potential queries into a high-dimensional vector space. In addition, it exploits observations from production systems to factorize query generation into two computationally and statistically simpler learning tasks. To evaluate Revelio, we built a testbed with multiple distributed applications and debugging tools. By injecting faults and training on logs and reports from 800 Mechanical Turkers, we show that Revelio includes the most helpful query in its predicted list of top-3 relevant queries 96% of the time. Our developer study confirms the utility of Revelio.