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S3 Lab - Software & Systems Security Laboratory

PerfGuard: Binary-Centric Application Performance Monitoring in Production Environments

Chung Hwan Kim, Junghwan Rhee, Kyu Hyung Lee, Xiangyu Zhang, and Dongyan Xu

Proceedings of the 24th ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (FSE) 2016.

Program Analysis, Binary Analysis & Instrumentation


Diagnosis of performance problems is an essential part of software development and maintenance. This is in particular a challenging problem to be solved in the production environment where only program binaries are available with limited or zero knowledge of the source code. This problem is compounded by the integration with a significant number of third-party software in most large-scale applications. Existing approaches either require source code to embed manually constructed logic to identify performance problems or support a limited scope of applications with prior manual analysis. This paper proposes an automated approach to analyze application binaries and instrument the binary code transparently to inject and apply performance assertions on application transactions. Our evaluation with a set of largescale application binaries without access to source code discovered 10 publicly known real world performance bugs automatically and shows that PerfGuard introduces very low overhead (less than 3% on Apache and MySQL server) to production systems.