Keith Adams has an intriguing post about VMWare vprobes:
VProbes attempts to provide a set of tools for answering the question, “What the heck is this computer doing?” It’s an open-ended question, so vprobes is accordingly open-ended, as well. In its current form, it provides an interactive, safe way of instrumenting a running VM at any level: from user- level processes down to the kernel, and even into VMware’s VMM and hypervisor, if need be.
First, we are aiming to provide a Dtrace-like tool for other commercially important operating systems than Solaris. Second, VProbes can combine with other virtualization-based techniques in powerful ways. For example, VProbes and deterministic replay combine to make the most potent tool that I’m aware of for debugging intermittent performance anomalies.