Rake: Semantics assisted network-based tracing framework

Yao Zhao*, Yinzhi Cao, Yan Chen, Ming Zhang, Anup Goyal

*Corresponding author for this work

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


The ability to trace request execution paths is critical for diagnosing performance faults in large-scale distributed systems. Previous black-box and white-box approaches are either inaccurate or invasive. We present a novel semantics-assisted gray-box tracing approach, called Rake, which can accurately trace individual request by observing network traffic. Rake infers the causality between messages by identifying polymorphic IDs in messages according to application semantics. To make Rake universally applicable, we design a Rake language so that users can easily describe necessary semantics of their applications while reusing the core Rake component. We evaluate Rake using a few popular distributed applications, including web search, distributed computing cluster, content provider network, and online chatting. Our results demonstrate Rake is much more accurate than the black-box approaches while requiring no modification to OS/applications. In the CoralCDN (a content distributed network) experiments, Rake links messages with much higher accuracy than WAP5, a state-of-the-art black-box approach. In the Hadoop (a distributed computing cluster platform) experiments, Rake helps reveal several previously unknown issues that may lead to performance degradation, including a RPC (Remote Procedure Call) abusing problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2011 IEEE 19th International Workshop on Quality of Service, IWQoS 2011
StatePublished - 2011
Event2011 IEEE 19th International Workshop on Quality of Service, IWQoS 2011 - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 6 2011Jun 7 2011

Publication series

NameIEEE International Workshop on Quality of Service, IWQoS
ISSN (Print)1548-615X


Other2011 IEEE 19th International Workshop on Quality of Service, IWQoS 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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