Omnibus Tutorial: Package a standalone Ruby gem

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in HowTo Bullet_white Comments Comments

stack o pancakes

A couple of years ago I visited Argentina. I have trouble enough pronouncing my limited English vocabulary and I don't speak Spanish, but after a bit of time, it was pretty easy to order food, buy groceries, and use a taxi. However, occasional hangups that happen during my regular life in the states would throw me out of sorts in Spanish: a taxi driver trying to explain he doesn't have enough change would send me off the rails.

Ruby is my English when it comes to writing software, so when I hit hangups installing something Ruby-related, I can usually work my way out of them. Our monitoring agent at Scout is a Ruby gem, and while most of our customers already have Ruby installed, for those that don't a seemingly small hangup to me can be frustrating for them.

Now, thanks to Omnibus, there's an easy way to distribute your Ruby gems as standalone, full-stack program. This means folks without Ruby can have as smooth of an experience with your hip new gem as a hardened Rubyist.

Here's how I've built a full-stack installer for our scout Ruby Gem.

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RVM, Bundler and Cron in Production: Round 2

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in HowTo Bullet_white Comments Comments

Back in 2010, we suggested using /bin/bash -l -c to run scout via Cron when using RVM. However, this was a brute approach: /bin/bash -l -c tells bash to behave as a login, interactive process. However, as Daniel Szmulewicz elequently stated in the comments for the original blog post, "Cron jobs are by nature non-login, non-interactive processes".

Fast-forward to today: RVM usage is continuing in production, and to make things more complicated, Cron jobs often need to account for both RVM and Bundler. So, what's our preferred approach when running Ruby executables via Cron in an RVM, RVM+Bundler, or Bundler environment? A shell script.

Cron Shell Script: RVM + Bundler

Lets say we want to run a Ruby executable (scout [KEY]) via Cron with (1) Ruby 1.9.2 and (2) my Rails App's Gem bundle:

Make the shell script executable: chmod +x FILE.sh.

Add the Cron job:

* * * * * shell_script.sh

But that's a lot of typing...

It's tempting to use /bin/bash -l -c when you are busy/lazy. To get around this, the scout install [KEY] command will detect if you are using (1) RVM and/or (2) Bundler. If so, we generate the shell script for you and make it executable.

scout install BNrIneEBMwE8h6VlhO4Bw4WmOVSLmnygSFZEPCfi
=== Scout Installation Wizard ===

It looks like you've installed Scout under RVM and/or Bundler. 
We've generated a shell script for you.

Run `crontab -e`, pasting the line below into your Crontab file:

* * * * * /Users/dlite/.scout/scout_cron.sh

How do we detect RVM and Bundler? We've encapsulated it into an Environment class:

 

The winding path to server roles

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Development Bullet_white Comments Comments

roles timeline

We're overjoyed with the reaction to server roles, our new feature that makes monitoring many servers as easy as monitoring a few. The end result hits our favorite sweet spot: it makes something that used to be painful into something fun.

Server Roles was the biggest release since the launch of Scout and the path to the release was anything but a smooth, rolling path. It's a story of fast-changing deployment environments, tangents, a failed experiment, listening, first-hand experience, and finally, something we were happy with.

Here's the story of Scout's evolution to roles.

Oct 2007: Before AWS

first account

Scout started as an internal tool at Highgroove Studios (now Big Nerd Ranch) in 2007, or, roughly one year before AWS exited Beta status. For you young chicks out there, this was a time when you couldn't click a button to provision a server.

Since it wasn't as easy to provision servers, there was less churn in the size of environments. When you wanted to monitor a new server in Scout, you'd create it in our UI and then use the provided locally in your Crontab entry. The manual step of copying the key to to the server didn't feel tedious (and was way easier than configuring Nagios, Munin, etc) since our customers weren't provisioning servers frequently.

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Debugging request bottlenecks with realtime charts

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Examples Bullet_white Comments Comments

Last week, one of our application servers died. We have four app servers, so in theory, the death of one app server shouldn't bring the entire platoon down. However, real-life had other plans: 95% of requests were handled fine, but around 5% were being dropped. Here's the story of how we diagnosed and fixed the issue with our realtime charts.

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RailsConf 2013!

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

I’m sitting in the Denver Airport – in a couple of minutes, I’ll board the plane to RailsConf in Portland, Oregon. I’m already getting amped for Voodoo Donuts, Stumpdown Coffee, well-trimmed beards, and of-course, lots of Rails-related chats.

I’m bringing a fresh load of Scout T-Shirts. These aren’t your normal heavy-weight, poor-fitting shirts. They are tastefully designed, American Apparel – Tri-Blend (otherwise known as the most comfortable shirt you’ll own). If you’re attending RailsConf, shoot us an email so we can meetup and improve your wordrobe at the same time. Or, just look for us (Andre and Derek). We don’t always rest our arms on each other, but when we do, we look like this:

 

Three weeks with roles: by the numbers

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

It's been three weeks since the launch of the largest feature enhancement in Scout's existence: roles. Haven't heard of roles? Nutshell: roles let you monitor many serves with fewer clicks and more joy. Roles were driven by your feedback and it's showing in the fast adoption numbers below.

roles infographic

Time to give an awkward nerd high-five of thanks:

  • Customers on our Roles BETA program - your feedback and willingness to try new things helped us iron out the edges for the public rollout.
  • Contributors to our Chef recipe - we've already had six authors commit to our Chef recipe for deploying Scout. It's great to see a hardened Chef recipe based on real-world usage.
  • Feedback since the launch - we built roles because of your feedback, and we've enjoyed reading your suggestions post-launch.

Haven't tried roles yet? To get started, see the "Roles" dropdown on your account, and read the FAQ on roles.

 

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