Clotho: Directed Test Generation for Weakly Consistent Database Systems

Kia Rahmani, Kartik Nagar, Benjamin Delaware, and Suresh Jagannathan

abstract

Relational database applications are notoriously difficult to test and debug. Concurrent execution of database transactions may violate complex structural invariants that constraint how changes to the contents of one (shared) table affect the contents of another. Simplifying the underlying concurrency model is one way to ameliorate the difficulty of understanding how concurrent accesses and updates can affect database state with respect to these sophisticated properties. Enforcing serializable execution of all transactions achieves this simplification, but it comes at a significant price in performance, especially at scale, where database state is often replicated to improve latency and availability.

To address these challenges, this paper presents a novel testing framework for detecting serializability violations in (SQL) database-backed Java applications executing on weakly-consistent storage systems. We manifest our approach in a tool (\tool) that combines a static analyzer and model checker to generate abstract executions, discover serializability violations in these executions, and translate them back into concrete test inputs suitable for deployment in a test environment. To the best of our knowledge, \tool\, is the first automated test generation facility for identifying serializability anomalies of Java applications intended to operate in geo-replicated distributed environments. An experimental evaluation on a set of industry-standard benchmarks demonstrates the utility of our approach.