First Impressions Count

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

Scout is making a better first impression than ever starting today. When you start monitoring a new server, you'll immediately get a high-level summary of the vital stats:

Scout reports this for you automatically. From there, you choose the deeper metrics you need, like Ruby on Rails monitoring, MySQL Slow Queries, Process memory usage, etc.

 

We Just Undid Three Months of Dev work. Here's What We Learned.

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

We’ve been deleting a lot of code from Scout. We’re ripping out major infrastructure, and in doing so, pulling the plug on functionality which, just six months ago, we believed would be crucial to our business. Most importantly, we’re simplifying the most complex, error-prone, and poorly-performing parts of the application. At the same time, our revenue and sales pipeline is growing at a faster rate.

How did this happen? How did we get to a place where we can remove code and functionality and see our business will grow because of it?

As they say, “mistakes were made.” You don’t get the satisfaction of throwing out a bunch of cruft and performance-degrading features without having gone through the pain of:

  1. Building those features in the first place.
  2. Fighting the performance problems for a few months before you realize its all untenable and come up with alternatives.

So yes, mistakes were made. But also, lessons were learned.

Read More →

 

Simplify. Get an order of magnitude speedup.

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Updates Bullet_white Comments Comments

Have you noticed Scout feels snappier lately? We made some major simplifications that sped things up a lot. Here’s the CPU load on one of our DB servers:

(and yes, we use Scout to monitor itself!)

Even better, the response time for users improved dramatically.

Scout’s longest actions before and after the speedup:

The simplification

What yielded such a dramatic speedup? Earlier this year, we implemented a very generic datastore and reporting system. It could handle all sorts of data, relationships within the data, etc.

Unfortunately, we never got to demonstrate all the benefits of this cool system. It wasn’t viable from either a maintenance or a performance standpoint.

So we rolled it back. And we got back a ton of performance, as you can see.

The lessons …

I will be writing up some business lessons we learned from this experience—stay tuned!

 

Cloud Monitoring in one line of code

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Features Bullet_white Comments Comments

UPDATE – Cloud Image Monitoring has been replaced by Server Roles

The greatest roadblock to monitoring is monitoring itself – installing software, tweaking scripts, remembering how to reload scripts, etc makes it painful process. It’s even more of an issue when setting up monitoring for cloud deployments – running a large configuration script or installing a lot of software with a saved image makes your environment very fragile, especially when deploying new servers is a frequent task.

We’re debuting a new feature in Scout that makes monitoring your cloud servers a single crontab entry – no scripts to setup, edit, reload, or coordinate across multiple instances.

Read More →

 

In-depth Rails Monitoring using only a production log file

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Plugins, Features Bullet_white Comments Comments  Bullet_white no trackbacks

No Rails plugins to install. No performance hit during the request cycle. Nothing to break your application code. Nothing to restart. With just the path to your production Rails log file, Scout’s new Rails monitoring plugin alerts you when your Ruby on Rails application is slowing down and provides detailed daily performance reports.

First, an open-source shoutout: thanks to Willem van Bergen and Bart ten Brinke (the Rails Doctors) for their Request Log Analyzer gem, which we built upon for this functionality.

Rails analysis made easy

  1. Easy setup. All we need is a path to the log file of your production Rails application. That’s it. There’s nothing to configure in your Rails application. Unlike our previous Rails analyzer, you don’t have to install a Rails plugin or even redeploy your Rails application. There are zero changes to your Rails code base.
  1. In-depth analysis. Get rendering time and database time on a per-action basis. Know your error code rates, HTTP request types, cache hit ratios, and more.
  1. No performance impact. Since the analysis happens out the request-response cycle, there is no performance impact on your running Rails app.
  2. Alerts. Like all Scout plugins, you can get alerts based on the flat data the plugin produces. Get alerts on requests/minute, number of slow requests, and average request length.

How it works

The plugin performs a combination of incremental and batch processing on your application’s logfile. Every time the Scout agent runs (3min-30min, depending on your Scout plan, it parses new entries in your log file since the last time it ran. This provides key metrics for near-realtime graphs and alerts.

Once a day, the Analyzer runs to crunch the numbers for more in-depth metrics. This is what provides the breakdowns among all your actions, analysis of most popular actions, most expensive actions, etc.

Try it out!

Install the Rails Analysis plugin. If you don’t already have a Scout account, all of our accounts have a 30 day free trial.

 

A weather dashboard

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

Server Monitoring and weather forecasts have a lot in common – (1) I want to know what’s happening now, (2) what the forecast looks like for the immediate future, and (3) how the long-term is shaping up.

I’m really impressed with Matthew Ericson’s Weather Page. It condenses the 3 things I care about into a clean, simple page.

 

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