"Features" Posts

New Release: Memory Bloat Detection

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

When your app is experiencing memory bloat - a sharp increase in memory usage due to the allocation of many objects - it's a particularly stressful firefight.

Slow performance is one thing. Exhausting all of the memory on your host? That can bring your application down.

Memory bloat is a scary problem: our 2.0 release of the Scout agent aims to track down memory hotspots as easy as performance bottlenecks.

Read on: I'll share what's hard about memory bloat detection, Scout's approach, and some further reading.

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Rails App Monitoring (APM) with StatsD

By Mark Bullet_white Posted in HowTo, Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

Application monitoring doesn't have to be complicated. Introducing scout_statsd_rack, a drop-in Ruby gem for monitoring key performance metrics in your Rails app.

scout_statsd_rack leverages StatsD for lightweight Rails app monitoring via Rack middleware.

Lets see how fast we can go from no monitoring to a Rails performance dashboard plus alerting.

rails app monitoring

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Monitoring Docker with docker-scout

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

docker monitoring

When it comes to agent-based monitoring and Docker, you're typically choosing between two bad options: (1) install the agent and its dependencies directly on the host or (2) running an agent in every container.

  • Installing the agent on the host is bad: Docker is best when everything is containerized. It means your services will run as expected, anywhere, without dependencies. Why does monitoring get to break that rule?
  • Running an agent in every container is bad: lets say you have 30 containers on a host that need to be monitored. Do you really want 30 agents running (one in each container)? That's a considerable amount of overhead.

Enter docker-scout. docker-scout is the Scout monitoring agent distributed via a Docker image. It's zero-dependency Docker monitoring: just run our image and your host is monitored.

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Announcing the scoutd public BETA

By Dave Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

We've made our new monitoring agent, scoutd, publicly available. This new agent brings new capabilities to Scout's monitoring service - the most visible being seamless realtime charts on your dashboards. So what's different from the traditional scout agent, and what's in store for scoutd's future?


Some History, What's New?

Until now, our agent has been written in Ruby and distributed as a RubyGem. You'd install the gem and create a crontab entry so that it would run from cron every minute. While this is a reliable and easy way to report your system metrics to us, we want to lay the groundwork for some exciting things we have planned that only an always-running daemon could provide. So how does scoutd compare to the RubyGem agent?

  • Installed as a system package

    scoutd is installed by your system's package manager (yum/apt/etc). We also have a one-line install/upgrade command that makes new installs and upgrades from the old agent super simple: Install steps

  • No more cron entries - scoutd runs as a daemon

    scoutd is started by your server at boot and runs continuously. This allows instant communication between your server and Scout and lets us do things like instant realtime charts.

  • Simple config file, standard locations

    scoutd is easily configured via /etc/scout/scoutd.yml:

    account_key: abcd
    hostname: db1.scout.dev
    environment: development
    roles: database

    Local plugins, account key, etc are now located in /var/lib/scoutd

  • Written in Go

    While scoutd is written in Go, it doesn't introduce any new dependencies as we build distro-specific binaries. Scoutd still requires Ruby to be installed on the server, but our goal is to eventually drop this so you'll have a dependency-free monitoring agent that's guaranteed to work. Pretty cool, huh?


"The Future, Conan?"

Yes. The future, Andy.

The future of scoutd is full of good things. Some features that we are eyeing for scoutd in the future:

  • More platforms

    Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD

  • More "instantness"

    scoutd can already fire up instant realtime charts on demand. We'll be making other things instant, like plugin installs and plugin configuration updates.

  • Completely standalone

    scoutd will be able to report system metrics without needing Ruby or any other dependencies.

  • Multiple plugin languages

    Ability to write plugins in multiple languages. Ruby, Python, Javascript, etc.

  • External metrics

    Support for sending metrics to scoutd from the network, simple shell scripts, etc.

Our new scoutd agent is key in our effort to provide the best and most useful monitoring available.


Want to Know More?

What's under the hood? What did we encounter while building scoutd? What's our build process? What's the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? Glad you asked. We'll dig deep into scoutd in the coming weeks and talk about the details of building scoutd for MOAR.


BETA - "Live in the the now" with our new realtime charts

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

When your database server is under heavy load, an application server is running out of memory, or you are rolling out a major deploy, you want instant performance data. In these times, it's about the present, not the past.

We're happy to introduce in-place-on-your-dashboard, every-second-updating realtime charts.

It's a seamless transition from historical to now.

System Requirements

  • Our new scoutd monitoring agent. The new agent is a daemon (vs. running Scout via Cron).
  • Ruby 1.9.2+
  • Ubuntu 12.04+, Centos/Redhat 6+, or Fedora. We'll be adding support for more distros.

Email us for access

We're gradually rolling out the new realtime UI + scoutd to gather feedback. To try our new realtime charts, email support@scoutapp.com with your account name.


Introducing Chart Markers

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

We're happy to announce our first enhancement to v2 of our API: chart markers.

Use chart markers to note significant events like production deploys, infrastructure upgrades, performance enhancements, etc.

Creating a marker is simple:

curl -X POST --data "notes=deployed production"  https://scoutapp.com/api/v2/KEY/markers

Markers are applied to all charts on a dashboard.

Adding a marker after a Capistrano Deploy

Here's an example of a simple hook to create a marker after a deploy if you are using Capistrano:

after "deploy:restart", "deploy:mark_release_via_api"

task :mark_release_via_api, hosts:"app1.acme.com" do
  run_locally %Q(curl --data "notes=deployed production" https://scoutapp.com/api/v2/API_KEY/markers)

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