JMX Monitoring

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Plugins Bullet_white Comments Comments

JMX Monitoring

One of the features Java Management Extensions provides is the ability to add instrumentation to an application. While this makes collecting metrics straightforward, it doesn’t address storage for these metrics. Enter David Dossot’s JMX Monitoring Scout Plugin.

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The Only Two Business Metrics That Matter

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

How do you spot a successful business? It’s easiest to think in terms of size: Google, Starbucks, and Berkshire Hathaway are successful.

If you’re a small business and fixate on size alone, you’ll drive yourself crazy. I will never run a Starbucks-scale company, nor do I want to. But do I want a successful company? Definitely!

Here are the two business metrics that matter at Scout:

  1. Income per employee
  2. Employee happiness

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Detect and Fix HAProxy+Apache+Passenger Queue Backlogs

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Development, HowTo Bullet_white Comments Comments

To inspire hard work, some young men hang a poster on their wall that includes: (1) an exotic sports car (2) a scantly clad lady and (3) a beach house. My inspirational poster would be much less attractive: a friendly butler who offers time-honored wisdom (with an accent because people with accents are smarter) and absolutely loves running errands for me.

I don’t like running errands because I don’t like waiting in lines. My nightmare: having to pickup groceries during a busy weekend afternoon. There are 3 queues at the grocery store that can cause a delay:

  • Finding a parking spot
  • Getting a shopping cart
  • Checking out

Modern web apps face the same queuing issues serving web requests under heavy traffic. For example, a web request served by Scout passes through several queues:

web_queues

That’s Apache (for SSL processing) to HAProxy on the load balancer, then Apache to Passenger to the Rails app on a web server.

A request can get stuck in any of those five spots. The worst part about queues? Time in queue is easy to miss. Most of the time, people look at the application log when they suspect a slowdown. However, a slowdown in any of the four earlier queues won’t show up in your application log. Just looking at your application and database activity for slowdowns is like recording the time it takes to get your groceries from the time you grab the first item on the shelf till you start waiting to checkout: you’re leaving out the time it takes to find a parking spot, get a cart, and checkout.

Now, before you start worrying about queues, take a deep breath. First, each of these systems are super reliable. For the most part, they just work. Second, it’s much more likely your application logic is the cause of a performance issue than a queuing problem. Look there first.

Third (and most importantly), each of these systems handles queues in remarkably similar ways. Understanding some basic queuing concepts will go a long way. Let’s take a look at some basics and then specific examples for Apache, HAProxy, and Passenger.

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Fullscreen Charts

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

Nothing says “I’m a professional and in charge of important things” more than a full screen chart on an external display. We’ve made it easier to look pro with Scout. You can now toggle Scout’s chart display between normal and fullscreen views:

Scout ~ Chart

Let us know if you run into any issues.

 

You Are Making Scout Even Better

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Plugins Bullet_white Comments Comments

A huge thank you to Scout users who have sent us plugin fixes and enhancements! It’s really a pleasure to see the plugin library grow and improve. Here are the latest updates:

Memory Profiler

Solaris Compatibility added by Ankur Bulsara

URL Monitoring

Better exception handling for bad hostnames and request timeouts – Eric Lindvall and Venu Keesari

Disk Usage

Cleaned up some metric parsing – Michael Grosser

MongoDB Slow Queries

Added ability to read from replicas and silenced warnings in older mongo gems (<1.1.5) - Niels Meersschaert and Chris Griego

RabbitMQ Queue Details

Compatibility updates for version 2.3 by Chris Griego and Doug Barth

Passenger Status

Hiding metric output for servers you aren’t using (Apache or Nginx). Added metrics on the largest Passenger process memory size. By Chris Griego.

MySQL Stats

Added connections and max used connections metrics – Eric Lindvall

Delayed Job

Fixed “Oldest waiting delayed job” metric – Eric Lindvall

Device I/O

Fixed warning – Valery Vishnyakov

Ruby on Rails Monitoring

Added compatibility for Request Log Analyzer 1.10.0 – Chris Griego

How to update your plugins.

From any server page, click Plugins, and see if any are listed with update available:

Click through on the “updates available link”, then click the “Update Code” button. You’ll get the latest code.

Got an update, or an issue?

Send us a plugin support request if you have any issues. Got an update or a fix? Send us a Github pull request!

Thanks again to this round of plugin contributors!

 

Tina Fey: go with the bran muffin on the white plate

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Development Bullet_white Comments Comments

First, Tina Fey needs to write more. Both of her New Yorker articles have been terrific. Second, her latest New Yorker piece had a great nugget on how producing is about discouraging creativity:

You may have an occasion where the script calls for a bran muffin on a white plate, and people from the props department show up with a bran cake in the shape of Santa Claus sitting on a silver platter that says “Welcome to Denmark” on it. “We just thought it would be funny”, they say. And you have to find a polite way to explain that the character is Jewish, so her eating Santa’s face might have negative connotations, and the silver tray, while beautiful, is creating a weird glare on camera, and maybe let’s just go with the brain muffin on the white plate.

It’s easy to get absorbed in code and build something that’s technically awesome yet far more than you need. In other words, that Redis-backed, OpenID-compatible, audible capatcha, two-factor identification login system idea of mine is creative, but wouldn’t a session cookie and that old-school relational database my grandpa talked about work for now?

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