Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Fault Management and Causal Analysis

Participants : Gregor Goessler, Jean-Bernard Stefani, Sihem Cherrared, Thomas Mari, Martin Vassor.

Fault Ascription in Concurrent Systems

Fault ascription is a precise form of fault diagnosis that relies on counterfactual analysis for pinpointing the causes of system failures. Research on counterfactual causality has been marked, until today, by a succession of definitions of causation that are informally validated against human intuition on mostly simple examples. This approach suffers from its dependence on the tiny number and incompleteness of examples in the literature, and from the lack of objective correctness criteria  [52].

We have defined in [28] a set of expected properties for counterfactual analysis, and presented a refined analysis that conforms to our requirements. As an early study of the behavior of our analysis under abstraction we have established its monotony under refinement.

Causal Explanations in Discrete Event Systems

Model-Based Diagnosis of discrete event systems (DES) usually aims at detecting failures and isolating faulty event occurrences based on a behavioural model of the system and an observable execution log. The strength of a diagnostic process is to determine what happened that is consistent with the observations. In order to go a step further and explain why the observed outcome occurred, we borrow techniques from causal analysis.

In [21] we have presented two constructions of explanations that are able to extract the relevant part of a property violation that can be understood by a human operator. Both support partial observability of events. The first construction is based on minimal sub-sequences of the traces of the log that entail a violation of the property. The second approach is based on a construction of layers similar to [56], in which the explanation is constructed from the choices that definitely move the system closer to the violation of the property. Both approaches are complementary: while subsequence-based explanations are well suited to “condense” the execution trace in sequential portions of the model but are prone to keep non-pertinent parts such as initialisation sequences in the explanation, effective choice explanations highlight the “fateful” choices in an execution, as well as alternative events that would have helped avoid the outcome. Effective choice explanations are therefore able to explain failures stemming from non-deterministic choices, such as concurrency bugs.

Fault Management in Virtualized Networks

From a more applied point of view we have been investigating, in the context of Sihem Cherrared's PhD thesis, approaches for fault explanation and localization in virtualized networks. In essence, Network Function Virtualization (NFV), widely adopted by the industry and the standardization bodies, is about running network functions as software workloads on commodity hardware to optimize deployment costs and simplify the life-cycle management of network functions. However, it introduces new fault management challenges including dynamic topology and multi-tenant fault isolation.

In [29] we have proposed a model-based root cause analysis framework called Sakura . In order to overcome the lack of accurate previous knowledge, Sakura features a self-modeling algorithm that models the dependencies within and between layers of virtual networks, including auto-recovery and elasticity aspects. Model-based diagnosis is performed using constraint solving on the previous and acquired knowledge. As an illustration we have applied Sakura to the virtual IpMultimedia Subsystem (vIMS).

Finally, in our survey on fault management in network virtualization environments [11] we have addressed the impact of virtualization on fault management, proposed a new classification of the recent fault management research achievements in network virtualization environments, and compared their major contributions and shortcomings.