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

Scout ♥ Pagerduty

Posted in Features | Comments Comments

The only thing worse than being woken up by a critical alert: not being woken up when you should be. That’s where Pagerduty comes in—Pagerduty uses a combination of email, SMS, and phone calls to you and your team to ensure you never miss an important notification.

And now, Scout has baked-in support for notifications via PagerDuty. Scout can automatically create incidents when a trigger fires, and automatically resolve it too.

”Getting Scout alerts though Pagerduty works great. Setting it up was completely seamless.”—T.R. Missner, Firespotter Labs

Setup is Easy

Assuming you already have a Pagerduty account, integration is ridiculously easy:

  • make sure you’re logged into Scout as an administrator.
  • click on “Notifications”, then “Connect to PagerDuty.”
  • You’ll be redirected to Pagerduty’s website. Enter your Pagerduty credentials and select the service to associate with Scout:

And you’re done! There’s no API key to copy / paste. If you ever need to disconnect, just click “disconnect” in Scout.

New to Pagerduty?

Pagerduty provides on-call schedules, configurable escalation rules, and incident acknowledgment for all your monitoring services. PagerDuty ensures the right person gets notified, every time. Browse the feature list here, and sign up here with a 10% discount just for Scout users. Here’s a snapshot of Pagerduty’s notification dashboard:

Pagerduty is the Notifications Expert

If you need sophisticated notification options (like rotating schedules and escalation rules), Pagerduty is for you. Partnering with Pagerduty allows Scout to focus on what we do best—powerful, easy-to-setup monitoring tools.

See Also

 
 

The nuts and bolts of our Ruby-based realtime charts solution

Posted in Development, HowTo | Comments Comments

Scout’s realtime charts have been a big hit. Once you start using them for major deploys or performance incidents, going back to ten terminal windows running “top” feels like the dark ages.

Realtime was a lot of fun to implement and it’s been rock-solid so far. A big reason it was so much fun? We were able to implement all of it in Ruby (outside the Javascript used to handle websockets in the browser) and didn’t need to deploy any infrastructure .

So, how did we go about it?

 

Read more... More

 

Easily compare the same metric across servers (the context menu)

Posted in Features | Comments Comments

When you’re building a chart in Scout, you select metrics from a tree. It branches like this: group => server => plugin => metrics.

This makes it easy to drill-down to a given metric on a specific server. However, it’s very common to compare the same metric across servers. For example: how does our memory usage compare across all of our app servers? Say hello to the new metric context menu:

He’s a useful little guy. After selecting a metric in the chart tree, just click on the icon and select the instances you’d like to see on the chart.

 
 

Plateau triggers and Low Values

Posted in Features | Comments Comments

Since we added low value support for peak triggers a few months ago, similar support for plateau triggers has been a common request.

We heard you: plateau triggers now also support low values. You can, for example, be alerted when when Apache requests drop below a certain threshold for 30 minutes or more.

 
 

Why doesn't anyone want to build companies anymore?

Posted in Business | Comments Comments

It seems that today, the light at the end of the startup tunnel is either (1) being acquired or (2) a billion-dollar IPO. Let’s just throw out the IPO - it’s incredibly rare.

This means that many startups are created with an explicit goal to not exist in five-or-so years. Does anyone see something wrong with this?

No one talks about starting a company that becomes an extension of yourself. Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway. Apple and Steve Jobs. Starbucks and Howard Schultz. Amazon and Jeff Bezos.

Why?

 
 

Hello Fort Collins!

Posted in Updates | Comments Comments

A month ago my family and I moved from one special city to another: San Francisco to Fort Collins, Colorado. While we’ve only lived here a short time, we couldn’t be happier. You probably know many of the one-of-kind-things about San Francisco. Here’s some of the things that make “The Fort” special:

  • Bikes – Whether you’re cruising around or hammering, Ft. Collins is an amazing experience on two wheels. Almost every street has a bike lane, and for those that don’t, there’s usually a nearby dedicated trail. The city itself is flat – which is perfect for going to the office – but immediately to the west, the foothills of the Rockies beckon with all the scenic road and mountain biking you could ask for.
  • Beer – With 11 breweries, Ft. Collins is the second largest producer of beer in the top-ranked beer producing state (and yes, you can pretty much bike to all of them).
  • Tech – There’s a small (by SF standards) but super-friendly tech community in Ft. Collins. I’m working out of Cohere, an awesome coworking space in the middle of Ft. Collins. Conveniently, the monthly Ruby Meetup meets here. Boulder, home to many startups, is an hour south.
  • Climate – Winter happens here (it’s mild), but summer does too!

When you combine the above bullets, it’s no wonder Ft. Collins consistently ranks among the best places to live in America. If you’re in the area, don’t hesitate to ping me for a visit!

 
 

On writing

Posted in Development | Comments Comments

Ernest Hemingway via Letters of Note

I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.

Sounds a lot like writing code too, huh?

 
 

Polishing Charts

Posted in Updates | Comments Comments

Charts got some updates today:

  • More colors available: previously, charts had just six colors and nine shades of gray available for plotting metrics. The new color scheme uses HTML standard colors, and makes it easier to follow lines on busy charts.
  • Timeframe selection on dashboards: dashboard charts now default to a 5-hour timeframe. You can easily zoom out all charts simultaneously by clicking the new links at the top. This lets you quickly broaden your view to see what’s going on, without having to navigate to a bunch of charts individually.
  • No more iFrames on dashboards: by encapsulating the chart code better, we were able to get rid of iFrames on dashboards. This makes the dashboard page much lighter on memory (a typical dashboard might be 50MB lighter), and also fixes some quirky behavior when you’re resizing a chart.
  • Nice looking URLS: chart URLs are prettier and easier to copy-paste—there are no more encoded characters in the URL.

 
 

Scout Alerts in Campfire via Hubot

Posted in Examples, Updates | Comments Comments

Want to get Scout alerts piped into your Campfire room? You can, thanks to Scout user Gavin Stark’s Hubot script for Scout. Gavin describes the advantages for his team at Real Digital Media:

Our support staff can now see the alerts from Scout as a team. We combine this with other monitoring services that monitor ping-ability and web response speeds.

Getting Scout alerts in Campfire means we can discuss them inline and respond quickly. We’ve found the immediacy of Campfire to be an improvement over email.

Want to get your Scout alerts in Campfire? You’ll need a Hubot.

Need to set up a Hubot?

Hubot is a program that listens in on your chat room. He responds to commands and can provide notifications. Your Hubot needs to run someplace. Most people set him up on Heroku, since it’s A) really simple; B) free!

  1. follow these instructions to deploy Hubot to Heroku.
  2. once your Hubot has joined your Campfire room and responds to commands (try: hubot help), continue below to configure Scout to talk to your Hubot.

Already Got a Friendly Hubot?

Two easy steps:

  1. add the Hubot Script for Scout into your Hubot’s /scripts directory.
  2. in your Scout account, click on “Notifications,” then set the webhooks URL to http://YOUR_HUBOT_URL/hubot/scoutapp/CAMPFIRE_ROOM_NUMBER

That’s it! Try creating a Scout trigger that fires immediately to test it out.

Thanks again to Scout user Gavin Stark for writing the Hubot script, and to Hubot maintainer Tom Bell for the quick merge.

Related

 
 

Say Hello to JavaScript Charts

Posted in Features, Updates | Comments Comments

JavaScript charts are here, they look great, and they work on your iPad!

Scout’s basic chart functionality has remained the same, with a few enhancements:

  1. Most importantly, the charts no longer require Flash. This means you can view the charts on your iPad or modern Flash-free browser.
  2. Charts now show values in a tooltip as you mouse over them (the image above shows an example). This solves a long-standing problem with the old charts, where the legend became unreadable with many metrics.
  3. The charts feel snappier!

JavaScript charts have been a popular request on the Scout Uservoice page, and we’re pleased to release them. As always, any feedback, let us know.

A Note on dashboards with the new tooltip: in some cases the tooltip can overflow from the smallest charts on dashboards. If you encounter this issue, just enlarge your dashboard chart a bit to make room for the tooltip.

 
 

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