ASSURE: Automatic Software Self-healing Using REscue points

Stelios Sidiroglou, Oren Laadan, Carlos R. Pérez, Nicolas Viennot, Jason Nieh, Angelos D. Keromytis

Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS 2009), Washington, DC, March 7-11, 2009, pp. 37-48


Software failures in server applications are a significant problem for preserving system availability. We present AS- SURE, a system that introduces rescue points that recover software from unknown faults while maintaining both sys- tem integrity and availability, by mimicking system behav- ior under known error conditions. Rescue points are loca- tions in existing application code for handling a given set of programmer-anticipated failures, which are automatically repurposed and tested for safely enabling fault recovery from a larger class of (unanticipated) faults. When a fault occurs at an arbitrary location in the program, ASSURE restores execution to an appropriate rescue point and in- duces the program to recover execution by virtualizing the program’s existing error-handling facilities. Rescue points are identified using fuzzing, implemented using a fast co- ordinated checkpoint-restart mechanism that handles multi- process and multi-threaded applications, and, after testing, are injected into production code using binary patching. We have implemented an ASSURE Linux prototype that oper- ates without application source code and without base op- erating system kernel changes. Our experimental results on a set of real-world server applications and bugs show that ASSURE enabled recovery for all of the bugs tested with fast recovery times, has modest performance overhead, and provides automatic self-healing orders of magnitude faster than current human-driven patch deployment methods.



Columbia University Department of Computer Science