California fault lines: Understanding the causes and impact of network failures

Daniel Turner, Kirill Levchenko, Alex C. Snoeren, Stefan Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Of the major factors affecting end-to-end service availability, network component failure is perhaps the least well understood. How often do failures occur, how long do they last, what are their causes, and how do they impact customers? Traditionally, answering questions such as these has required dedicated (and often expensive) instrumentation broadly deployed across a network. We propose an alternative approach: opportunistically mining "low-quality" data sources that are already available in modern network environments. We describe a methodology for recreating a succinct history of failure events in an IP network using a combination of structured data (router configurations and syslogs) and semi-structured data (email logs). Using this technique we analyze over five years of failure events in a large regional network consisting of over 200 routers; to our knowledge, this is the largest study of its kind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-326
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Communication Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • C.2.3 [computer-communication network]: Network operations
  • Measurement
  • Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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