Zooming in on Wide-area Latencies to a Global Cloud Provider


The network communications between the cloud and the client have become the weak link for global cloud services that aim to provide low latency services to their clients. In this paper, we first characterize WAN latency from the viewpoint of a large cloud provider Azure, whose network edges serve hundreds of billions of TCP connections a day across hundreds of locations worldwide. In particular, we focus on instances of latency degradation and design a tool, BlameIt, that enables cloud operators to localize the cause (i.e., faulty AS) of such degradation. BlameIt uses passive diagnosis, using measurements of existing connections between clients and the cloud locations, to localize the cause to one of cloud, middle, or client segments. Then it invokes selective active probing (within a probing budget) to localize the cause more precisely. We validate BlameIt by comparing its automatic fault localization results with that arrived at by network engineers manually, and observe that BlameIt correctly localized the problem in all the 88 incidents. Further, BlameIt issues 72× fewer active probes than a solution relying on active probing alone, and is deployed in production at Azure.