Rollbar+Scout: a legit New Relic alternative

March 15 Bullet_white By Jason Bullet_white Comments Comments

The New Relic price tag goes up dramatically as your server footprint grows. This might not be an issue if you are utilizing New Relic’s full product suite, but what if you just care about error and performance monitoring?

In that case, there's a solution that offers richer features as an alternative to New Relic. When you combine Rollbar (errors) and Scout (performance), you're choosing two best-of-breed, focused products that actually play well together.

First, let’s see what’s special about Rollbar’s error monitoring capabilities. Then, we’ll show how to combine Rollbar and Scout to give a unified app stability experience.

Purpose-built error monitoring with Rollbar

rollbar screen

Rollbar is a purpose-built error monitoring solution that offers richer features than New Relic’s error monitoring. Besides having an approachable UI, the Rollbar feature set goes far beyond New Relic’s error monitoring.

For example, you can drill down into local variable values to help troubleshoot exceptions faster, correlate new errors to deploys, and see errors in real-time with one-second resolution. With Rollbar, you also gain confidence you’re seeing everything: New Relic caps error events at 100 per-minute. Rollbar’s event ingestion architecture extends far beyond this limit.

In short, having all that information quickly accessible saves you a lot of time during your most stressful moments. Here’s a checklist rundown of Rollbar vs. New Relic:

rollbar features

You can switch to Rollbar’s error monitoring by adding the SDK for your app’s language. Each SDK includes instructions on how to configure your application. Rollbar has 100% coverage for the languages supported by Scout (Ruby, Python, and Elixir) along with support for many more languages. You can find a full list in Rollbar’s SDK documentation.

Integrating Rollbar with Scout

Errors can also impact your application performance and give insight into problems. For example, you might see an unexpectedly low response time on some requests, and trace it to errors from an upstream REST service dependency. When you enable the Rollbar integration within Scout, you’ll see active Rollbar items alongside Scout’s performance insights on both your app dashboard and on respective web endpoint and background job screens.

You can easily distinguish between new and recurring items: when a new item appears, the item count is filled with an orange background and Scout indicate the new item with a special annotation.

rollbar_scout

Clicking on an error takes you to Rollbar.

Integrating the two solutions is straightforward. In Rollbar, you can retrieve your Project Access Token in the application settings. This token has read-only permissions. Then, paste the token in your Scout settings. That’s it!

DRY-ing up monitoring code with Rollbar and Scout

Both Rollbar and Scout place significant value on contextual data surrounding requests. It’s becoming far more common for errors and performance issues to be isolated to specific users or accounts.

Scout automatically captures some details (like IPs and request paths) and allows you to add custom context via their API. Rollbar automatically captures metadata on the request parameters, browser and IPs. Like Scout, you can also add custom fields tracking the scope of requests or transactions.

Wouldn’t it be great to use a single code path to ensure this request context is consistently applied to both your Rollbar and Scout data? No problem! Here’s an example with Ruby:

Getting started with Rollbar+Scout is easy

Check out Rollbar’s full set of features and learn more about Scout’s Rollbar integration in our docs.

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