Major chart updates - variability, overlays, scaling & stacking

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

When debugging performance problems, visualizing server metrics in a variety of ways is a critical part of isolating the cause:

  • Visualizing variance
  • Overlaying metrics to identify correlations
  • Scaling to compare several metrics with different units
  • Stacking graphs to visualize distributed setups

We’ve just released a major update to Scout’s charting functionality that makes it easier to analyze your metrics.

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

By Andre Bullet_white Posted in Business Bullet_white Comments Comments

Two weeks ago I covered some of the business lessons learned from a large (~3 months) investment in new features, and the hard decision to roll them back. I discussed how you will underestimate the ongoing cost of complexity in your product, and how cool new capabilities don’t sell themselves.

Continuing this week—more insights gained from undoing development work.

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The MySQL MyISAM and InnoDB engines and a grocery checkout

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

There’s no shortage of resources comparing the MyISAM and InnoDB storage engines. You’ll quickly see it isn’t a black-and-white decision after reading through various discussions debating MyISAM and InnoDB.

Why is the decision so hard?

  • Setting up your database is one of the first steps when building a web application. You probably don’t have a good idea on the database activity at this point, so you may have little data to work with.
  • The ordering and number of statements can have a big impact on database performance. It’s difficult to simulate until you have real users.

However, there is a one case where choosing the wrong table type can be crippling.

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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.

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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!

 

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