The Curious Case of the StatsD Timer

By Mark Bullet_white Posted in HowTo Bullet_white Comments Comments


Instrumenting our application with StatsD is easy, especially when we just stick to Counters and Gauges. These metrics return just a single value when implemented. When you get to Timers, however, StatsD steps up it's game and returns eight metrics.

So let's explore the curious case of the timing metric. What do all these metrics mean? How can we use this for instrumenting our application?

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New Dog in the Scout Kennel

By Mark Bullet_white Comments Comments

Please join us in welcoming Chris Schneider to the Scout team!

We've had our eye on Chris for awhile now, and we couldn't be more excited about him joining the team. Nearly a Fort Collins native (rare around these parts), Chris joins us with over 15 years of development experience - with the majority of his time spent in mission critical Rails apps. He's a programmer's programmer. Chris has hosted the Coding Hangout in Fort Collins for over a year now. Chris loves to teach and we're all blown away by his mad VIM skills.

Chris will be our lead-developer on our new Scout Application Monitoring service,. His insight and experience will be invaluable in making this product a world-class application monitoring solution.

In his free time, Chris can normally be found crushing trivia at a local tavern, banging out some Haskell or playing games with friends.

We all look forward to working with Chris!


Hugging it Out @ Boulder DevOps w/StatsD

By Mark Bullet_white Comments Comments

Last night, at DevOps Boulder, I presented the StatsD basics: key concepts, metric types & implementation strategies - and dug a little deeper. My mission was to talk about StatsD and how it made me a better developer by giving me a simple, repeatable tool that I could use to instrument my code.

Here are my slides.

During the Q&A session after the presentation, the group started a lively discussion around StatsD. We discovered:

  • Using StatsD to generate custom metrics is great - but there is a deeper value in developer engagement.

  • StatsD can help make us better team members by encouraging cooperation, collaboration and advancing DevOps CAMS (Culture, Automation, Measurement & Sharing) in an organization.

  • Logging still has a place, but StatsD provides a more immediate feedback mechanism.

It was great to hear specific examples of how StatsD had already helped organizations and their DevOps process.

If you haven't had the chance to check out StatsD, here's a post and some code samples to help get you started:

If you have any StatsD stories about how it has helped your organization, we'd love to hear them! Please leave a comment below.

Questions about StatsD and/or Scout? Send us an email here. For more information on StatsD - follow us here.


Kafka: "git branch" for production streams

By Mark Bullet_white Comments Comments

I switched from SVN to Git for version control years back largely because it made experimenting a blast. Creating branches, viewing diffs, stashing - it was fun to veer off the highway and explore dirt roads.

Making it easy to experiment on my dev box is great, but rolling those changes to production is scary. Is there a way to compare the performance of application 1.4 (the steady workhorse) vs. application 2.0 (the silky smooth refactor) against live data?

Yes, there is. Lets explore.

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DevOpsDays Minneapolis

By Mark Bullet_white Comments Comments

Some of the best things about summer are BBQ, baseball and roadtrips. As part of my summer celebration, I'm hitting the open road and heading up to Minneapolis, MN for DevOpsDays MSP.

DevOpsDays MSP is a 2 day event on July 8th & 9th in downtown Minneapolis. This is their second year organizing and they are expecting over 450+ DevOps Professionals in attendance. The organizers have done a great job in lining up speakers and Scout is proud to be one of many sponsors.

I'm really excited to be attending, and for the first time presenting! Scout added StatsD support a couple months ago, we're seeing a lot of interest in custom metrics. I'll present an Ignite style talk on what StatsD is and how to get started.

For the record, yes, there will be baseball - Twins Vs. Tigers on Friday Night.

Any recommendations on a great BBQ spot in the twin cities?


An intro to the Docker Stats API

By Mark Bullet_white Posted in Examples Bullet_white Comments Comments

If I was teaching Server Health 101, I'd start with four key metrics:

  • CPU Usage
  • Memory Usage
  • Network I/O
  • Disk Utilization

The approach for fetching these metrics on Linux hosts is tried-and-true (hint: look in the /proc folder). However, I was curious about Docker Containers: where do I access these critical metrics? What tools does Docker provide? Are there any gotchas?

Read on for what I found.

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