Archive for the ‘Structural Trace Patterns’ Category

Trace Analysis Patterns (Part 109)

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Message stream can be considered as a union of Message Spaces. A message space is an ordered set of messages preserving the structure of the overall trace. Such messages may be selected based on a memory space they came from or can be selected by some other general attribute, or a combination of attributes and facts. The differences from Message Set is that Message Space is usually much larger (with large scale structure) with various Message Sets extracted from it later for fine grained analysis. This pattern also fits nicely with Adjoint Spaces. Here’s an example of kernel and managed spaces in the same CDF / ETW trace from Windows platform where we see that kernel space messages came not only from System process but also from other process contexts:

In the context of general traces and logs such as debugger logs separate Message Space regions may be linked (or “surrounded”) by Interspace.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

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 DumpAnalysis.org. 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 @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

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:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/172771078

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

What is a Software Narrative?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

The previous definition of software narratology was restricted to software traces and logs (the top left quadrant on a software narrative square, also the part of Memoretics which studies memory snapshots). Now, with the broadening of the domain of software narratology to the whole world of software narrative stories including actor interactions with software in construction requirements use cases and post-construction incidents we give another definition:

Software narrative is a representation of software events and changes of state. Software Narratology is a discipline that studies such software narratives (software narrative science).

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Webinar Introduction to Software Narratology: An Applied Science of Software Stories

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Memory Dump Analysis Services (DumpAnalysis.com) organizes a free Webinar about software narratology: an application of ideas from narratology to software narrative stories.

Introduction to Software Narratology: An Applied Science of Software Stories Logo

Learn about this exciting new discipline and a field of research. 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.

Prerequisites: basic software troubleshooting and ability to read software generated logs.

Audience: anyone can benefit from this new perspective: from software users to software engineers and managers.

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/603136294

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

What is Software Trace and Memory Dump Analysis? A One Sentence Definition

Monday, December 12th, 2011

More than 4 years passed since I provided a longer structuralist definition. Recently I came to recognize a pattern-driven iterative and incremental nature of memory and software trace analysis and post-construction software problem solving in general and therefore a one sentence definition became necessary:

“Recognition and interpretation of patterns of software behavior”

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

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 @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

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 @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Trace Analysis Patterns (Part 40)

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Most of the time software trace messages coming from the same source code fragment (PLOT) contain invariant parts such as function and variable names, descriptions, and mutable parts such as pointer values and error codes. Message Invariant is a pattern useful for comparative analysis of several trace files where we are interested in message differences. For example, in one troubleshooting scenario certain objects were not created correctly for one user. We suspected a different object version was linked to a user profile. Separate application debug traces were recorded for each user and we could see version 0×4 for the problem user and 0×5 for all other normal users:

#    Module  PID  TID  Time         Message
[...]
2782 ModuleA 2124 5648 10:58:03.356 CreateObject: pObject 0×00A83D30 data ([…]) version 0×4
[…]

#    Module  PID  TID  Time         Message
[...]
4793 ModuleA 2376 8480 09:22:01.947 CreateObject: pObject 0×00BA4E20 data ([…]) version 0×5  
[…]

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Metadefect Template Library (Part 0)

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

To model software behavior at application and system levels, test generative debugging scenarious and construct software defects using metaprogramming I started working on MdTL (Metadefect Template Library). Its consists of C++ templates for structural and behavioral patterns. The simplest examples include Threads<Spike> and Spike<Thread>. The template classes can be more complex, of course, utilizing the full power of C++, STL, and existing libraries like Boost. The unique and novel feature of this library is the inclusion of dual classes of behaviour such as Leak<>, Deadlock<>, Overflow<>, Residue<>, Exception<>, Contention<>, etc. parameterized by various structural memory classes like Process<>, Thread<>, Heap<>, Stack<>, Region<>, Buffer<>, etc. MdTL also includes classes to model software tracing and this will be used for simultaneous software trace and memory dump analysis case study in the forthcoming presentation. I also plan to extend this metaprogramming approach in the future to model malware analysis patterns by introducing Metamalware Template Library (MmTL).

Forthcoming parts will introduce template classes and examples.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 5 is available for download

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I’m pleased to announce that MDAA, Volume 5 is available in PDF format:

www.dumpanalysis.org/Memory+Dump+Analysis+Anthology+Volume+5

It features:

- 25 new crash dump analysis patterns
- 11 new pattern interaction case studies (including software tracing)
- 16 new trace analysis patterns
- 7 structural memory patterns
- 4 modeling case studies for memory dump analysis patterns
- Discussion of 3 common analysis mistakes
- Malware analysis case study
- Computer independent architecture of crash analysis report service
- Expanded coverage of software narratology
- Metaphysical and theological implications of memory dump worldview
- More pictures of memory space and physicalist art
- Classification of memory visualization tools
- Memory visualization case studies
- Close reading of the stories of Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Watson’s observational patterns
- Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4

Its table of contents is available here:

www.dumpanalysis.org/MDAA/MDA-Anthology-V5-TOC.pdf

Paperback and hardcover versions should be available in a week or two. I also started working on Volume 6 that should be available in November-December.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Generative Debugging (Part 0)

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Followed by my search for a periodic table of software defects I came up with a novel approach called Generative Debugging partially borrowed from principles and parameters generative linguistics framework. For debugging and post-construction software problem solving purposes we have Behavioral Principles and Structural Parameters. The parameters allow us to describe existing and even generate new software defects (I’m also considering Structural Principles and Behavioural Parameters but whether this is fruitful needs to be explored and seen. We may also consider the name “generative debugging” as a “naming” counterpart to software construction problem solving called generative programming. So the former could also be used to generate problem solutions faster in automatic fashion. Both, in the future, may be combined into a unified generative software problem solving.

As a first example, consider an application functional hang with a thread blocked by a pending I/O request packet (IRP). It is composed from general behavioral principle of blocked (or unresponsive) activity and structural parameters including Thread and IRP.

In the following parts many software incidents will be explored from this generative perspective.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Presentation from Webinar: Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

The presentation materials from the webinar (25th of March, 2011) are available for download:

http://www.dumpanalysis.com/PDSPSI-materials

Thanks to everyone who registered and attended!

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Forthcoming Webinar: Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving Logo

The first Webinar to start an in-depth discussion of pattern-driven software troubleshooting, debugging and maintenance:

Date: 25th of March 2011
Time: 18:30 (GMT) 14:30 (EST) 11:30 (PST)
Duration: 60 minutes

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/448268158

Topics include:

  • A Short History of DumpAnalysis.org
  • Memory Dump Analysis Patterns
  • Troubleshooting and Debugging Tools (Debugware) Patterns
  • Software Trace Analysis Patterns
  • From Software Defects to Software Behavior
  • Workaround Patterns
  • Structural Memory Patterns
  • Memory Analysis Domain Pattern Hierarchy
  • New Directions

Prerequisites: experience in software troubleshooting and/or debugging.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

No Longer Seeing Nothing: The Advantage of Patterns

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Software trace analysis is difficult and it is very common to hear “couldn’t see anything …”. One of advantages of software trace analysis patterns is that we can use that pattern language to write analysis reports. Here I provide an example for an analysis of a CDF trace from Citrix XenApp server. Instead of replying “didn’t find anything suspicious …” an engineer identified the following patterns:

Seeing the list of patterns it was much easier to ask questions to aid in further troubleshooting.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

The New School of Debugging

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

With the new year starts the new initiative to integrate traditional multidisciplinary debugging approaches and methodologies with multiplatform pattern-driven software problem solving, unified debugging patterns, best practices in memory dump analysis and software tracing, computer security, economics, and the new emerging trends I’m going to write about during this year.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Debugging in 2021: Trends for the Next Decade (Part 1)

Friday, December 17th, 2010

As the new decade is approaching (2011-2020) we would like to make a few previews and predictions:

- Increased complexity of software will bring more methods from biological, social sciences and humanities in addition to existing methods of automated debugging and computer science techniques

- Focus on first fault software problem solving (when aspect)

- Focus on pattern-driven software problem solving (how aspect)

- Fusion of debugging and malware analysis into a unified structural and behavioral pattern framework

- Visual debugging, memory and software trace visualization techniques

- Software maintenance certification

- Focus on domain-driven troubleshooting and debugging tools as a service (debugware TaaS)

- Focus on security issues related to memory dumps and software traces

- New scripting languages and programming language extensions for debugging

- The maturation of the science of memory snapshots and software traces (memoretics)

Imagining is not not limited to the above and more to come and explain in the forthcoming parts.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Memory Analysis as a Service

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

MAaaS includes 2 complementary DA+TA services:

1. Dump Analysis as a Service (DAaaS)
2. Trace Analysis as a Service (TAaaS)

Memory Dump Analysis Services is the first organization to provide such a service at an audit and certification levels.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Forthcoming Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 5

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Five volumes of cross-disciplinary Anthology (dubbed by the author “The Summa Memorianica”) lay the foundation of the scientific discipline of Memoretics (study of computer memory snapshots and their evolution in time) that is also called Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis.ca

The 5th volume contains revised, edited, cross-referenced, and thematically organized selected DumpAnalysis.org blog posts about crash dump, software trace analysis and debugging written in February 2010 - October 2010 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 fifth volume features:

- 25 new crash dump analysis patterns
- 11 new pattern interaction case studies (including software tracing)
- 16 new trace analysis patterns
- 7 structural memory patterns
- 4 modeling case studies for memory dump analysis patterns
- Discussion of 3 common analysis mistakes
- Malware analysis case study
- Computer independent architecture of crash analysis report service
- Expanded coverage of software narratology
- Metaphysical and theological implications of memory dump worldview
- More pictures of memory space and physicalist art
- Classification of memory visualization tools
- Memory visualization case studies
- Close reading of the stories of Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Watson’s observational patterns
- Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4

Product information:

  • Title: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 5
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (10 December 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-96-4
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (10 December 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-97-1

Back cover features memory space art image Hot Computation: Memory on Fire.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

A Periodic Table of Software Defects (Part 0)

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

I have discovered rules that make it possible to devise a memory dump and software trace analysis equivalent of the Periodic Table of Elements in Chemistry. It allows prediction of abnormal software behaviour and structural defects and what patterns to look for after deploying software and collecting its artifacts. More on this is in the next part of these series.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -