Archive for the ‘Root Cause Analysis’ Category

Trace Analysis Patterns (Part 137)

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Recently we found a correlation between software trace with high Statement Density and Current of Periodic Error with uniform Error Distribution and process heap Memory Leak suspected from  memory dump analysis. If we metaphorically view periodic errors as “frequency” and the size of a heap as “mass” we may see that the growth of “frequency” correlates with the growth of “mass” and vice versa. Since frequency is inversely proportional to wave length we see a metaphorical analog to Louis de Broglie’s wave-particle duality. In general, as we already pointed in the discussion of narrativity and spatiality of software execution artifacts (see also Software Trace and Memory Dump Analysis seminar), software traces / logs and memory dumps can be seen as “dual” to each other according (metaphorically again) to de Broglie’s “duality of the laws of nature”. So we name this analysis pattern De Broglie Trace Duality since some memory dump regions can be considered of a general trace nature. Our correlation can be depicted in this diagram:

Practically, when we see Memory Consumption Patterns (but don’t know their source / root cause yet) we can ask for traces and logs, and in the case of frequent Periodic Errors found there we can suggest troubleshooting steps that may serve as a resolution or workaround.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Trace Analysis Patterns (Part 125)

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Sometimes we have trace and log messages that appear with certain time frequency throughout all log or specific Thread of Activity. Such frequencies may fluctuate reflecting varying system or process performance. Analyzing trace areas where such messages have different Time Deltas may point to additional diagnostic log messages useful for root cause analysis. The following minimal trace graph depicts the recent log analysis for proprietary file copy operation where the frequency of internal communication channel entry/exit Opposition Messages was decreasing from time to time. Such periods were correlating with increased time intervals between “entry” and “exit” messages. Analysis of messages between them revealed additional diagnostic statements missing in periods of higher frequency and corresponding Timeouts adding up to overall performance degradation and slowness of copy operation.

Additional analysis of Data Association in a different message type between available communication buffers and the total number of such buffers revealed significant frequency drop during constant Data Flow of zero available communication buffers:

We call this analysis pattern Fourier Activity by analogy with Fourier series in mathematics. This pattern is for individual message types and can also be considered a fine-grained example of Statement Current and Trace Acceleration analysis patterns which can be used to detect areas of different frequencies in individual Fibers (Adjoint Threads of Activities formed from the same Thread of Activity).

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Webinar: Introduction to Philosophy of Software Diagnostics

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Learn from this Webinar about phenomenological, hermeneutical and analytical approaches to software diagnostics and its knowledge, foundations, norms, theories, logic, methodology, language, ontology, nature and truth. This seminar is hosted by Software Diagnostics Services.

 Introduction to Philosophy of Software Diagnostics Logo

Title: Introduction to Philosophy of Software Diagnostics
Date: 17th of December, 2012
Time: 19:00 GMT
Duration: 60 minutes

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Software Diagnostics Services

Friday, July 13th, 2012

For some time I was struggling with finding a good name for memory dump and software trace analysis activities. The name Memoretics I use for the science of memory dump analysis (that also incorporates software traces) seems not so good to describe the whole practical activity that should be transparent to everyone in IT. Fortunately, I timely understood that all these activities constitute the essence of software diagnostics that previously lacked any solid foundation. Thus, Software Diagnostics Institute was reborn from the previous Crash Dump Analysis Portal. This institute does pure and applied research and scientific activities and in recent years was funded mainly from OpenTask publisher and recently from Memory Dump Analysis Services. The latter company also recognized that the broadening of its commercial activities requires a new name. So, Software Diagnostics Services was reborn:

The First Comprehensive Software Diagnostics Service

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming 2nd edition of Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 1

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

After 4 years in print this bestselling title needs an update to address minor changes, include extra examples and reference additional research published in Volumes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

  • Title: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 1
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Publisher: OpenTask (Summer 2012)
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-908043-35-1
  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-908043-36-8

The cover for both paperback and hardcover titles will also have a matte finish. We used A Memory Window artwork for the back cover.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming Transcript of Introduction to Software Narratology Webinar

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

In a week this short full color book should appear in online bookstores:

  • Title: Software Narratology: An Introduction to the Applied Science of Software Stories
  • Authors: Dmitry Vostokov, Memory Dump Analysis Services
  • Description: This is a transcript of Memory Dump Analysis Services Webinar about Software Narratology: an exciting new discipline and a field of research founded by When software executes it gives us its stories in the form of UI events, software traces and logs. Such stories can be analyzed for their structure and patterns for troubleshooting, debugging and problem resolution purposes. Topics also include software narremes and their types, anticipatory software construction and software diagnostics.
  • Publisher: OpenTask (April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 28.0 x 21.6
  • Paperback: 26 pages
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908043078

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Diagnostics

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Memory Dump Analysis Services organizes a free Webinar on Unified Software Diagnostics (USD) and the new scalable cost-effective software support model called Pattern-Driven Software Support devised to address various shortcomings in existing tiered software support organizations. Examples cover Windows, Mac OS  and Linux.

 Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Diagnostics Logo

Date: 22nd of June, 2012
Time: 17:00 (BST) 12:00 (EST) 09:00 (PST)
Duration: 60 minutes

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

The Design of Memory Dump Analysis: 7 Steps of Highly Successful Analysts

Monday, February 20th, 2012

I was recently asked by a group of trainees to outline a simple approach to proceed after opening a memory dump. So I came up with these 7 steps:

1. !analyze -v [-hang]
2. Exception (Bugcheck): stack trace analysis with d* and lmv
3. !locks
4. !runaway f (!running)
5. Dump all (processes and) thread stack traces [with 32-bit] ~*kv (!process 0 ff)
6. Search for signs/patterns of abnormal behavior (exceptions, wait chains, message boxes [, from your custom checklist])
7. Narrow analysis down to a specific thread and dump raw stack data if needed [repeat*]

(commands/options in brackets denote kernel/complete dump variation)
[notes in square brackets denote additional options, such as x64 specifics, your product details, etc.]

What are your steps? I would be interested to hear about alternative analysis steps, techniques, etc.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming Volume 6 of Memory Dump Analysis Anthology

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

The new 6th volume contains revised, edited, cross-referenced, and thematically organized selected blog posts about memory dump and software trace analysis, software troubleshooting and debugging written in November 2010 - October 2011 for software engineers developing and maintaining products on Windows platforms, quality assurance engineers testing software on Windows platforms, technical support and escalation engineers dealing with complex software issues, and security researchers, malware analysts and reverse engineers. The sixth volume features:

  • 56 new crash dump analysis patterns including 14 new .NET memory dump analysis patterns
  • 4 new pattern interaction case studies
  • 11 new trace analysis patterns
  • New Debugware pattern
  • Introduction to UI problem analysis patterns
  • Introduction to intelligence analysis patterns
  • Introduction to unified debugging pattern language
  • Introduction to generative debugging, metadefect template library and DNA of software behaviour
  • The new school of debugging and trends
  • .NET memory dump analysis checklist
  • Software trace analysis checklist
  • Introduction to close and deconstructive readings of a software trace
  • Memory dump analysis compass
  • Computical and Stack Trace Art
  • The abductive reasoning of Philip Marlowe
  • Orbifold memory space and cloud computing
  • Memory worldview
  • Interpretation of cyberspace
  • Relationship of memory dumps to religion
  • Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, and Volume 5

Product information:

  • Title: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 6
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (December 2011)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-908043-19-1
  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (January 2012)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-908043-20-7

Back cover features 3d memory space visualization image created with ParaView.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Uses of Memoretics

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Memoretics promotes pattern-driven memory dump and software trace analysis which has many uses but not limited to:

  • Software and site reliability
  • Software Debugging
  • QA and Software Testing
  • Computer Security
  • Software Troubleshooting
  • Malware Research and Analysis
  • Tools as a Service (TaaS)
  • Supportability
  • Software Diagnostics

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Crossdisciplinary Memoretics as Interdisciplinary Science

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Memoretics as a science of memory snapshots borrows many ideas from the following disciplines (the list is not exhaustive):

  • Troubleshooting and Debugging
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Critical Thinking
  • Forensics
  • Linguistics
  • Archaeology
  • Psychoanalysis
  • History
  • Mathematics: Sets and Categories
  • Literary Criticism and Narratology

It also contributes many ideas back. The following diagram depicts such an interaction:

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Advanced Windows Memory Dump Analysis with Data Structures Training Course

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Due to the need to extend existing basic and intermediate Accelerated Windows Memory Dump Analysis training Memory Dump Analysis Services organises advanced training course. Here is the description and registration information:

Learn how to navigate through memory dump space and Windows data structures to troubleshoot and debug complex software incidents. We use a unique and innovative pattern-driven analysis approach to speed up the learning curve. The training consists of practical step-by-step exercises using WinDbg to diagnose structural and behavioral patterns in 32-bit and 64-bit process, kernel and complete memory dumps.

Advanced Windows Memory Dump Analysis Logo

If you are registered you are allowed to optionally submit your memory dumps before the training. This will allow us in addition to the carefully constructed problems tailor extra examples to the needs of the attendees.

The training consists of one four-hour session and additional homework exercises. When you finish the training you additionally get:

  1. A full transcript in PDF format (retail price $200)
  2. 5 volumes of Memory Dump Analysis Anthology in PDF format (retail price $100)
  3. A personalized attendance certificate with unique CID (PDF format)

Prerequisites: Basic and intermediate level Windows memory dump analysis: ability to list processors, processes, threads, modules, apply symbols, walk through stack traces and raw stack data, diagnose patterns such as heap corruption, CPU spike, memory and handle leaks, access violation, stack overflow, critical section and resource wait chains and deadlocks. If you don’t feel comfortable with prerequisites then Accelerated Windows Memory Dump Analysis training is recommended to take (or purchase a corresponding book) before attending this course.

Audience: Software developers, software technical support and escalation engineers.

Session: December 9, 2011 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM GMT

Price: 210 USD

Space is limited.
Reserve your remote training seat now at:

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Pattern-Driven Software Trace Analysis

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Presentation Software Trace and Memory Dump Analysis: Patterns, Tools, Processes and Best Practices from E2E Virtualization Conference (13th of May, 2011) is available for download:

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

A.C.P. Root Cause Analysis Methodology

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Very simple methodology summarized in just 3 words applicable to any problem solving domain and its activities including software troubleshooting and debugging:

Artifacts. Checklists. Patterns.

As an example of checklists and patterns please see these 3 presentations related to memory dump and software trace artifacts:

Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving

Fundamentals of Complete Crash and Hang Memory Dump Analysis

Pattern-Driven Memory Dump Analysis 

I’m now working on a detailed presentation of this methodology. 

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -