Experience Report: An Application-specific Checkpointing Technique for Minimizing Checkpoint Corruption

Guanpeng Li, Karthik Pattabiraman, Chen-Yong Cher and Pradip Bose, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE), 2015. (Accept Rate: 32%). [ PDF | Talk ]

Abstract: Checkpointing is widely deployed in computer systems to recover from failures due to both hardware and software errors. However, as faults propagate, checkpoints may become corrupted by saving erroneous states and make errors unrecoverable, especially at aggressive checkpoint frequencies. In this paper, we proposed a technique that automatically analyzes a given program to guide checkpoint strategies in order to minimize checkpoint corruptions.

To understand checkpoint corruptions, we first perform a large-scale fault injection study across ten benchmark applications. We then classify checkpoint corruptions, and comprehensively characterize the fault propagations leading to these corruptions. Leveraging these findings, we build RECOV, a tool that automatically identifies the program locations that have lowest density of fault propagation for placing checkpoints, and combines it with low-overhead protection techniques. Our experimental results shows that RECOV can eliminate nearly 92% checkpoint corruptions with about 5% performance overhead. RECOV reduces the unavailability of the system by 8.25 times even at very aggressive checkpoint frequencies, showing that it is effective in practice.