AcademicWorks' switch from New Relic to Scout

December 14 Bullet_white By Derek Bullet_white Posted in App Monitoring Bullet_white Comments Comments

academicworks

The engineering team at AcademicWorks, the leading provider of scholarship management solutions for public and private educational institutions, was frustrated. With over two million users and a datastore-heavy Rails app with hundreds of database instances, their ten-person development was feeling bogged down with the bloat of their existing application monitoring tool, New Relic.

AcademicWorks Infrastructure

AcademicWorks is a background job and datastore-heavy company. They have over 500 PostgreSQL instances, two Cassandra clusters, an ElasticSearch cluster, Redis, and Memcached all working together to securely warehouse, index, and process scholarship applications in a system used by over two million people.

Their entire infrastructure lives inside of multiple AWS VPC's. AcademicWorks relies heavily on ELBs, ASGs & Spot Instances to effectively operate at scale. They are currently in the process of transitioning their datastores to be AWS managed.

AcademicWorks Monitoring Stack

  • Scout for server monitoring
  • HostedGraphite for forensic metrics
  • Scout StatsD for actionable metrics (hooking up triggers is a game changer)
  • Marvel for ElasticSearch monitoring
  • CloudWatch for AWS hosted datastores
  • Sentry for Exception monitoring

The app monitoring problem

While New Relic has many features, their engineering team found that the feature set wasn't helping them fix performance issues faster. Enter Scout.

"Scout gives us unprecedented performance insights into our web apps: down to the slow line-of-code, associated database calls, the developer that wrote it, and when the code was changed. Putting the pieces together without Scout would take hours - we're able to do it in minutes," says Aaron Scruggs, VP of Engineering.

Life with Scout

Aaron and the team at AcademicWorks have been very happy with the switch to Scout from New Relic:

Scout application monitoring is feature complete, has a clean user experience, and has a fair and transparent pricing structure. Scout APM is a breath of fresh air in this space!

Final Word

Scout APM is a great fit for modern engineering teams like AcademicWorks: the growing use of outside services (ex: Amazon RDS for datastores) in their infrastructure means more attention needs to be placed on the pieces their engineering team controls (application code) and less on infrastructure (load balancers, database servers, etc).

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