InfoQ Scout Interview

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

Robert Bazinet, Community Editor for InfoQ and owner of expens’d recently interviewed my co-founder Andre Lewis. You can find the Q&A below:

Scout – Extensible Server and Application Monitoring

Andre talks about data security with hosted monitoring, remodeling his bathroom, how Scout fits in with existing tools like Nagios and Munin, our secret open-source sauce for data storage, and smoke detectors.

On his blog article regarding the interview, Robert says of Scout:

I have had the opportunity to use Scout and witness the power of the application. One of the most impressive aspects I see is the plugin system. Scout offers a bunch of plugins, all open source. Developers can also freely develop their own plugins for their own purposes and are welcome to contribute them as open source. An all around win.

Thanks for your feedback: Faster Graphing

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

We made a small improvement on the graphing interface, thanks to your feedback. It's now a lot faster to select multiple metrics to graph. You can select metrics via checkboxes like so:

As always, if you have an idea for us, visit Scout's UserVoice page.


Instrument Your Business

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

Instrument your business. It's like instrumenting your code, but profitable.

If you're a developer or a sysadmin, periodic optimization is a fact of life. As more people use your code, you'll see performance issues. Unoptimized use cases bubble up. Systems get strained by continued or heavy use.

On the technical front, there are a lots of instrumentation tools available. We've used ruby-prof, Request Log Analyzer, Scout (of course), MySQL Tuner, httperf, and Rack::Debug. Not to mention low-level tools like top, vmstat, iostat, etc.

The point is this: anything that gets used a lot can be optimized. To optimize you need visibility. To get visibility, you need tools.

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Deploy Scout to your entire cluster in minutes with Chef

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

Seth Chisamore has created a Chef cookbook for installing and configuring Scout across your entire server cluster.

If you haven’t heard of Chef, Seth provides a great overview in this blog post. To quote Seth:

Chef is a state-based, configuration management tool written entirely in Ruby. It is scalable and completely open-source. The 37 Signal’s team describes it as “Rails for sysadmins”! With Chef you don’t write scripts to configure your infrastructure you write code that programs it.

If you’d like to learn more about Chef and live in the Atlanta area (or have a private plane), Seth will be presenting at tomorrow’s Atlanta Ruby Meetup Group meetup. Joshua Timberman of Opscode, the open source company behind Chef, will be presenting with Seth.


Delayed::Job Monitoring Plugin

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Plugins Bullet_white Comments Comments

Lukas Rieder and Alexander Lang (with updates from Eric Lindvall) have created a Delayed::Job Monitoring Plugin for Scout. Just install the plugin through and your crucial proceessing jobs no longer fail in silence.

Delayed::Job is a widely used database-backed asynchronous priority queue extracted from Shopify. Need to send massive newsletters? Handle batch imports? Using Ruby on Rails? Take a look at Delayed::Job for these types of long-running scheduled tasks.

Lukas and Alex originally developed the plugin during a pairing session while working on PaperC, an online book platform specializing in textbooks. PaperC processes PDFs using Delayed::Job. Eric made several additions to the plugin based on his work at Cloudvox, an easy-to-use open phone API platform. Cloudvox even supports conferencing and activating phone numbers.

View the directory entry for more information.


Production Server Sysadmin Essentials

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in HowTo Bullet_white Comments Comments

~ or ~
Sysadmin Eye for the Dev Guy

Developers! You can churn out a Rails or Sinatra app in no time. What about putting it out there in production? Occasionally forget the syntax for crontab or logrotate? Yeah, me too.

That's why I wrote up a few essential notes for a serviceable production environment.

This article covers Centos/Red Hat and Ubuntu, which is what I always end up on. My approach is to get some minimal configurations working quickly so I can see some results. From there, I can go back and refine the configurations.

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