Problem: Current network diagnostic tools only focus on one particular protocol layer, and the insights they provide on the application cannot be shared between the user, service, and network operators.
Solution: The authors propose X-Trace, a cross-layer, cross-application tracing framework designed to reconstruct the user’s task tree.
While these tools are undoubtedly useful, they are also typically unable to diagnose subtle interactions between protocols or provide a comprehensive view of the system’s behavior.
X-Trace has signiﬁcant limitations, such as implementing X-Trace requires modiﬁcations to clients, servers, and network devices and when X-Trace is only partially deployed the ability to trace those parts of the network is impaired, sometimes entirely.
The authors analyzed X-Trace in three deployed scenarios: DNS resolution, a three-tiered photo-hosting website, and a service accessed through an overlay network.
Future Impact: Looking beyond just one protocol layer is important for the direction systems are moving in; the multilayered, component approach. The need for modification in many places and that it is fully deployed will mean that you must build your own system or be locked into one provider.