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.

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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?

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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.

 

From MySQL full-text search to Elasticsearch

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Development Bullet_white Comments Comments

Migrating backend search technologies on a high-throughput production site is no easy task, but Vector Media Group was recently faced with this decision. With a popular client site struggling under the load of complex MySQL full-text search queries, they recently switched to Elasticsearch.

I spoke with Matt Weinberg to learn how the migration went. Was the switch to Elaticsearch worth the effort?

How did you handle search before Elasticsearch?

We created a custom search using MySQL queries and implemented it into our CMS for the project, ExpressionEngine.

What were the problems with this approach?

To support full-text search, we needed to use the MySQL MyISAM storage engine. This has major downsides, the primary one being full table locks: when a table is updated, no other changes to that table can be performed.

Our tables have considerable update activity, so this would result in sometimes-significant performance issues.

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