AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) refers to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to enhance and automate various aspects of IT operations. AIOps integrates advanced analytics, automation, and intelligent insights to improve the efficiency, scalability, and performance of IT systems and services. The goal is to enable IT teams to manage and respond to the complexities of modern IT environments more effectively.


MULAN: Multi-modal Causal Structure Learning and Root Cause Analysis for Microservice Systems

Effective root cause analysis (RCA) is vital for swiftly restoring services, minimizing losses, and ensuring the smooth operation and management of complex systems. Previous data-driven RCA methods, particularly those employing causal discovery techniques, have primarily focused on constructing dependency or causal graphs for backtracking the root causes. However, these methods often fall short as they rely solely on data from a single modality, thereby resulting in suboptimal solutions. In this work, we propose Mulan, a unified multi-modal causal structure learning method designed to identify root causes in microservice systems. We leverage a log-tailored language model to facilitate log representation learning, converting log sequences into time-series data. To explore intricate relationships across different modalities, we propose a contrastive learning-based approach to extract modality-invariant and modality-specific representations within a shared latent space. Additionally, we introduce a novel key performance indicator-aware attention mechanism for assessing modality reliability and co-learning a final causal graph. Finally, we employ random walk with restart to simulate system fault propagation and identify potential root causes. Extensive experiments on three real-world datasets validate the effectiveness of our proposed method.

Incremental Causal Graph Learning for Online Root Cause Localization

The task of root cause analysis (RCA) is to identify the root causes of system faults/failures by analyzing system monitoring data. Efficient RCA can greatly accelerate system failure recovery and mitigate system damages or financial losses. However, previous research has mostly focused on developing offline RCA algorithms, which often require manually initiating the RCA process, a significant amount of time and data to train a robust model, and then being retrained from scratch for a new system fault.In this paper, we propose CORAL, a novel online RCA framework that can automatically trigger the RCA process and incrementally update the RCA model. CORAL consists of Trigger Point Detection, Incremental Disentangled Causal Graph Learning, and Network Propagation-based Root Cause Localization. The Trigger Point Detection component aims to detect system state transitions automatically and in near-real-time. To achieve this, we develop an online trigger point detection approach based on multivariate singular spectrum analysis and cumulative sum statistics. To efficiently update the RCA model, we propose an incremental disentangled causal graph learning approach to decouple the state-invariant and state-dependent information. After that, CORAL applies a random walk with restarts to the updated causal graph to accurately identify root causes. The online RCA process terminates when the causal graph and the generated root cause list converge. Extensive experiments on three real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and superiority of the proposed framework.

Interdependent Causal Networks for Root Cause Localization

The goal of root cause analysis is to identify the underlying causes of system problems by discovering and analyzing the causal structure from system monitoring data. It is indispensable for maintaining the stability and robustness of large-scale complex systems. Existing methods mainly focus on the construction of a single effective isolated causal network, whereas many real-world systems are complex and exhibit interdependent structures (i.e., multiple networks of a system are interconnected by cross-network links). In interdependent networks, the malfunctioning effects of problematic system entities can propagate to other networks or different levels of system entities. Consequently, ignoring the interdependency results in suboptimal root cause analysis outcomes.In this paper, we propose REASON, a novel framework that enables the automatic discovery of both intra-level (i.e., within-network) and inter-level (i.e., across-network) causal relationships for root cause localization. REASON consists of Topological Causal Discovery (TCD) and Individual Causal Discovery (ICD). The TCD component aims to model the fault propagation in order to trace back to the root causes. To achieve this, we propose novel hierarchical graph neural networks to construct interdependent causal networks by modeling both intra-level and inter-level non-linear causal relations. Based on the learned interdependent causal networks, we then leverage random walk with restarts to model the network propagation of a system fault. The ICD component focuses on capturing abrupt change patterns of a single system entity. This component examines the temporal patterns of each entity’s metric data (i.e., time series), and estimates its likelihood of being a root cause based on the Extreme Value theory. Combining the topological and individual causal scores, the top K system entities are identified as root causes. Extensive experiments on three real-world datasets validate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.