KDD Papers

Structural Event Detection from Log Messages

Fei Wu (penn state);Pranay Anchuri (NEC Labs America);Zhenhui Li (Penn State University)


A wide range of modern web applications are only possible because of the composable nature of the web services they are built upon. It is, therefore, often critical to ensure proper functioning of these web services. As often, the server-side of web services is not directly accessible, several log message based analysis have been developed to monitor the status of web services. Existing techniques focus on using clusters of messages (log patterns) to detect important system events. We argue that meaningful system events are often representable by groups of cohesive log messages and the relationships among these groups. We propose a novel method to mine structural events as directed workflow graphs (where nodes represent log patterns, and edges represent relations among patterns). The structural events are inclusive and correspond to interpretable episodes in the system. The problem is non-trivial due to the nature of log data: (i) Individual log messages contain limited information, and (ii) Log messages in a large scale web system are often interleaved even though the log messages from individual components are ordered. As a result, the patterns and relationships mined directly from the messages and their ordering can be errorenous and unreliable in practice. Our solution is based on the observation that meaningful log patterns and relations often form workflow structures that are connected. Our method directly models the overall quality of structural events. Through both qualitative and quantitative experiments on real world datasets, we demonstrate the effectiveness and the expressiveness of our event detection method.