ESRO: Experience Assisted Service Reliability against Outages

Automated Software Engineering (ASE)

Publication date: September 14, 2023

Sarthak Chakraborty, Shubham Agarwal, Shaddy Garg, Abhimanyu Sethia, Udit Narayan Pandey, Videh Aggarwal, Shiv Saini

Modern cloud services are prone to failures due to their complex architecture, making diagnosis a critical process. Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) spend hours leveraging multiple sources of data, including the alerts, error logs, and domain expertise through past experiences to locate the root cause(s). These experiences are documented as natural language text in outage reports for previous outages. However, utilizing the raw yet rich semi-structured information in the reports systematically is time-consuming. Structured information, on the other hand, such as alerts that are often used during fault diagnosis, is voluminous and requires expert knowledge to discern. Several strategies have been proposed to use each source of data separately for root cause analysis. In this work, we build a diagnostic service called ESRO that recommends root causes and remediation for failures by utilizing structured as well as semi-structured sources of data systematically. ESRO constructs a causal graph using alerts and a knowledge graph using outage reports, and merges them in a novel way to form a unified graph during training. A retrieval-based mechanism is then used to search the unified graph and rank the likely root causes and remediation techniques based on the alerts fired during an outage at inference time. Not only the individual alerts, but their respective importance in predicting an outage group is taken into account during recommendation. We evaluated our model on several cloud service outages of a large SaaS enterprise over the course of ∼2 years, and obtained an average improvement of 27% in rouge scores after comparing the likely root causes against the ground truth over state-of-the-art baselines. We further establish the effectiveness of ESRO through qualitative analysis on multiple real outage examples.

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