This is the blog for Scout, Enterprise-grade server monitoring without the bloat.
70+ plugins, realtime charts, alerts, and Chef/Puppet-friendly configuration.

Team BFF

Posted in Development | Comments Comments

Startup Lessions from CCP - EVE Online Style:

Another great example was the formation of “Team Best Friends Forever” (“BFF” is an inside EVE joke). This team is a group of CCP developers whose sole mission is not to work on major features and improvements, but rather to fix all those annoying “little things” that bother their customers. Too many times, product managers and development teams are focused on the big-ticket items – and that’s fine, but TBFF is a great approach that again proves that CCP listens to their customers.

 
 

Notifcation groups coming Jan 15th

Posted in Features | Comments Comments

On Jan 15th, all Scout accounts will be switched over to notification groups. Notification groups are designed to make notifiation management easier and more flexible:

  • instead of managing notifications per-plugin/per-user, you will assign users to notification groups, and apply notification groups to triggers.
  • you can have multiple PagerDuty integrations and webhook endpoints and assign those to notification groups as well. PagerDuty and webhooks are now first-class notification channels; they are no longer all-or-nothing settings.
  • you get much finer control over threshold-to-notification channel mappings. You can configure (for example) three triggers on one metric, with the lowest trigger sending you email, the middle trigger sending you SMS, and the high trigger alerting PagerDuty.

 

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The year at Scout - 2012 edition

Posted in Updates | Comments Comments

If 2011 was the year of fine-tuning, 2012 was the year of major feature enhancements at Scout. Some stats on what’s been a fun year:

Feature Highlights

  • Realtime Charts – We started the year off with a bang, adding realtime capabilities to Scout’s charts.
  • Pagerduty Integration – We made it easier to feed your alerts into Pagerduty.
  • Rails Application Monitoring – A lightweight approach to finding and tracking app bottlenecks. We soft-launched this (you’ll hear more about it in 2013).
  • Webhooks – Send your alerts to an HTTP endpoint of your choice.
  • Dashboard Enhanncements – Add charts and plugin displays to a dashboard without leaving the page.
  • Javascript Charts – View your charts on iOS devices.
  • A cleaner navigation header – Our navigation header was packed-full of links (and let’s be honest, looked a little stale). No more.

 

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Self-funded = no compromises

Posted in Business | Comments Comments

Naomi Pomeroy, a Food & Wine Best New Chef, on starting an underground, self-funded restaurant:

When major chefs hear about the way I run Beast, they say, ‘You’ve created a chef’s dream restaurant, because you don’t have to compromise,’ ” she told me. “What happens when you do a million-dollar build-out is that you have to be open seven days a week, be really high end, and have a million choices, and that may not work in today’s economy.

Read more in the New Yorker.

 
 

Fort Collins Ruby Meetup - Getting real(time) with Ruby

Posted in Updates | Comments Comments

In the Colorado Front Range area? I’ll be talking about the realtime web at the Fort Collins Ruby Meetup this Wednesday.

I’ll show how adding realtime functionality is the easy: in less than 30 minutes, we’ll build a Sinatra app that uses Pusher for realtime functionality.

UPDATED

See the demo Sinatra app, a Ruby Meetup Realtime Heckle Board on Github.

 
 

Hello, cleaner navigation header!

Posted in Updates | Comments Comments

Our navigation header was packed-full of links (and let’s be honest, looked a little stale). We’ve elected a new, fresher, nav header:

What you need to know

  • We’ve emphasized the primary pieces of Scout (servers, applications, charts, and dashboards). The less-accessed config-related bits are inside a pulldown in the upper right (people, notifications, billing, etc).
  • Hotkeys plus keyboard navigation is the best way to play. Each of the primary areas has an associated pulldown. Reveal each pulldown with a hotkey (the underlined letter in the nav). For example, hit the “s” key to reveal the servers pulldown. Once the pulldown is open, use your up/down keys + enter to navigate.
  • We’ve dropped the recently accessed server tabs. These frequently created confusion: how the initial set of tabs was chosen, how they reacted when a new server was picked that shuffled a previously accessed tab off the list, etc. Using the “s” hotkey is the fastest way to travel to your servers within Scout.

Keyboard Review

The hotkeys for each pulldown (the first letter of each word):

  • s – Servers
  • a – Applications
  • c – Charts
  • d – Dashboards

Once a pulldown is open:

  • up/down arrow keys – navigate through the list of items
  • enter – show the current item
  • esc – close the pulldown

If you see any issues, let us know!

 
 

Heading to Rocky Mountain Ruby?

Posted in Business | Comments Comments

The Scout gang (including founders and co-dictators-for-life Derek and Andre) will be at Rocky Mountain Ruby Conference in beautiful Boulder, Colorado next week.

If you’re going to be there, let us know. We’d love to take our relationship beyond our support email address (if you’re ready for that).

 
 

Sparklines in your Campfire chat room

Posted in Updates, Examples | Comments Comments

Gavin Stark and the Real Digital Media team are Campfire power users. Back in April, Gavin created a Hubot script to send Scout alerts to their chatroom. Now, they needed visuals:

We wanted to grab some of the graphics that Scout’s in-app page offers to users to provide us with visual feedback on historical norms for each metric without leaving the chat room. A call to Scout support got graphics ported into the API in less than a day, and we were off and running.

hubot

His sparkline update hasn’t been merged into the Hubot repo yet, but you can view his fork. UPDATE – Merged!.

Resources

 
 

Removing deadweight - cleaning up our Rails app

Posted in Development | Comments Comments

Every man has their breaking point when it comes to deadweight code. Andre and I hit ours recently and decided to spend all of last week focusing soley on cleaning up Scout (a Rails app). Our goals:

  • Faster tests – our tests took 8 minutes to complete. While it’s the perfect amount of time to catchup on Daily Show clips, it really tested our patience making application-wide changes.
  • Removing deadweight – unused CSS rules, database tables + columns, views, and assets. It’s good having certainty that modifying code will change something in the application.

Here’s how we went about it:

 

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Kestrel in Production at Papertrail

Posted in Plugins | Comments Comments

We’ve added prolific plugin contributor Eric Lindvall’s latest plugins to Scout: Kestrel Overall and Kestrel Queue Monitoring. Kestrel is a simple message queue built from production needs at Twitter. Being the gentleman he is, Eric shared his experiences with Kestrel at Papertrail, a hosted log aggregation service.

Why Kestrel?

As all good message queues should, it provides:

  • transactional reads to prevent losing messages if a worker crashes before finishing processing a message
  • durability to prevent losing messages if a queue server crashes or is stopped after messages have been sent to it
  • “normal” queues (only one client sees a given message) and “fanout queues” (all clients see a given message, which many messaging systems call “topics”)

We picked Kestrel because it has bounded memory usage (it has a configuration setting to specify how many queued messages should reside in RAM, generally defaulting to 128MB), it’s small (I was able to read the entire Scala codebase in a weekend), and running on the JVM (which we have experiencing with) was a plus.

 

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