Yuanyuan Zhou, University of California, San Diego – July 2011

YY Zhou.jpgUnderstanding and Detecting Misconfigurations

Misconfigurations cause severe problem to system availability. For example, a recent misconfiguration caused a long outage at a major social networking site, which made its 500 million users unable to access its service for several hours. Last year, a misconfiguration brought down the whole “.se” domain which contains almost 1 million addresses for more than one hour.

After analyzing several 1000 cases in a enterprise system providers’ customer support database, we found that 25% of support cases are directly due to misconfigurations. This number is far higher than software bugs which account for 5% of all cases. Current research is now focused on using the results of the characterestic study to come up with techniques to automatically detect and prevent misconfigurations.