Problem: Dynamic instrumentation of production systems to understand performance problems.
Solution: D-Trace provides on the order of 30,000 instrumentation points in the kernel alone. D-Trace provides an API to instrument both kernel and user level behavior, letting the same tracing program access both. The C-like control language for tracing scripts is a good contribution. D-Trace also provides easy access into kernel variables while keeping tracing code "safe".
DTrace’s primary difference from previous work is that it combines pieces of previous work into a single framework.
Future Influence: I would hope that other system builders develop their own tracing frameworks that contain key contributions from DTrace. This would be especially useful in large scale Linux deployments.