Meet Mark Morris, Scout's New Team Member

By Mark Bullet_white Posted in Updates Bullet_white Comments Comments

Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?

Hi. My name is Mark Morris, and I just joined the Scout team as the new Dev Evangelist.

Whoa. I already like Scout, I don't need to be preached to.

In my first two weeks, I've already had the chance to talk with some of you. It's been great hearing how many customers already like Scout. But what about all those other people who are missing out on Scout? I need to help spread the word.

Scout is a bunch of developers who would much rather be heads down and work on awesome new features. While I enjoy digging into code as well, I'm unusually social for a geek, don't consider myself too disruptive around "normal" folks and I don't mind occasionally talking in front of a few people. Seems to be a good fit.

Ok, but what sort of skills do you bring to Scout?

Well, I think I bring initiative. When knocked down, I picked myself up and took the initiative to make a major career transition. I'm not likely to settle for "good enough" and just like the rest of the team, I want Scout to be the best monitoring solution in the world.

What else?

I spent some time at a Ruby on Rails/Javascript consulting firm, so I guess I've got a few codez skillz. I've also got life experience, er, a nice way of saying that I rolled around in the corporate world for 20 years or so. More importantly, I believe I bring a "Let's solve this problem together" attitude. I look forward to working with all of our customers.

I'm so excited to be joining team Scout! Feel free to contact me or check me out on Twitter.

 

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.

Read More →

 

Twilio for SMS

By Andre Bullet_white Comments Comments

Scout has long offered email-to-SMS alert delivery for free. Free is good, but there are a couple downsides:

  1. email-to-SMS doesn't work some places outside the US. Some foreign carriers don't enable it by default, and in some countries email-to-SMS just doesn't work well.
  2. with email-to-SMS, texts don't always come from the same number. This depends on the carrier and/or phone. It's annoying because your alerts don't appear in a single thread.

Given how critical Scout's alerts are, it was time to level-up our SMS deliverability.

Today we're offering Twilio integration for text notifications as an alternative to email-to-SMS. Details are here in the docs, but the gist is:

  • Twilio's super-reliable infrastructure delivers your texts
  • if you don't have a Twilio account already, one will be created for you if you enable the integration
  • Twilio bills you separately for texts sent from Scout

But, what about FREE?

Email-to-SMS is still available, and still free. Use whichever suits your needs - now you have the choice.

 

Understanding Linux CPU stats

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in HowTo Bullet_white Comments Comments

Your Linux server is running slow, so you follow standard procedure and run top. You see the CPU metrics:



But what do all of those 2-letter abbreviations mean?

Read More →

 

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?

History

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?

Future

"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.

MOAR

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.

 

The year at Scout - 2014 edition

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Updates Bullet_white Comments Comments

2014 was a year of major updates to Scout. Some stats on what’s been a fun year:

infographic

Product Highlights

  • Scout Realtime - In January, we released our open-source standalone realtime monitoring agent. Scout Realtime was the second most popular repository on Github during its release week (trailing Popcorn - we'll take the runner-up spot behind free movie streaming).
  • New Server View UI - In February, we released our new d3-powered server view interface and introduced automatic process monitoring. We think there's no better single-page view of your server's health.
  • New Dashboards UI - July brought our new dashboards UI. From quick ad-hoc charts to a persistent display on an external monitor, we think there's no better way to view your key metrics than your new dashboards.
  • New API - in September we debuted our new RESTful API.
  • New Realtime Charts BETA - in December we announced our new realtime charts experience. Viewing every-second-updating charts has never been easier.

Blog Post Highlights

2015

Thanks for all of your support, feedback, and hard-earned money in 2014. Our mission of lightweight, non-enterprisey server monitoring continues next year.

 

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