Plugin Authors: Use Inline Options

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

This info is for Scout plugin authors. The Scout Agent version 5+ supports options inline in the code. If you're not using inline options, you should. Here's an example from the awesome new Redis monitor plugin:

    class RedisMonitor < Scout::Plugin
      OPTIONS = <<-EOS
        name: Port
        notes: Redis port to pass to the client library.
        default: 6379
        name: Database
        notes: Redis database ID to pass to the client library.
        default: 0
        name: Password
        notes: If you're using Redis' password authentication.

Using inline options makes the plugin easier to test and troubleshoot, since the Scout agent knows about the options and can utilize the defaults in test mode:

$ scout test redis-info.rb 
== Plugin options: 
1. 'client_port' Default: 6379. Redis port to pass to the client library.
2. 'client_password' If you're using Redis' password authentication.
3. 'client_db' Default: 0. Redis database ID to pass to the client library.
== Running plugin with: client_port=6379; client_db=0

By the way, if you want to test the plugin with something other than the default values, just include them like so:

$ scout test redis-info.rb client_password=seekret

Finally, if you're thinking about a new plugin for Scout, we'd love to hear about it. We're always happy to get you started or point you in the right direction. Read more on plugin development here.


When tech startups == closed restaurants

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

Bootstrapped tech startups are a lot like restaurants started by quality chefs. It’s easy to find restaurants serving award-winning food that fail. There are lots of self-funded startups started by smart developers that either never launch or die a painful death. Writing quality software – just like serving good food – is the foundation, but it’s not going to make you profitable.

Like chefs who take pride in their food and constantly strive to improve it, developers like us are never done making our software better. There is an unlimited list of things we’d like to improve. Better scheduling and planning won’t shrink the todo list – it’s a leaking todo list that spawns another todo when one is completed.

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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.


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