Introducing the Scout database monitoring addon

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

Perhaps the most significant performance problem spot in web apps is the database. In apps monitored by Scout, database queries account for nearly a third of the time spent in the average Rails web request. Just as important, the more time an app spends in the database, the more volatile its response times. Here's a breakdown:

Service Layer % of Response Time Correlation to Response Time Volatility
Database 32%
Ruby 24%
HTTP calls 9%

Data is based on apps monitored by Scout averaging 50 requests per-minute or higher.
The response time correlation measures the ratio of an app's 95th response time duration to the mean response time. This value may range from -1 to 1.

Database queries deserve some extra performance love, and our database monitoring addon is here to help.

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Super-charge ActiveRecord#explain with pg-eyeballs 👀

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

When I have a slow Postgres ActiveRecord query, one of the first tools I reach for is EXPLAIN. pg-eyeballs is a Ruby gem that makes acting on this frequently noisy output easier.

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Does team size impact app performance?

By Derek Bullet_white

In 2014, CodeClimate published a blog post investigating the impact of team size on code quality. I was curious: are there correlations with app performance and team sizes as well?

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A 5-point Rails app performance audit

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

Before we talk performance, lets talk entropy. Entropy usually refers to the idea that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to disorder, and entropy is the measurement of that change.

Like entropy, the performance of a Rails app will trend toward disorder. An N+1 database query here, a forgotten pagination implementation there, a missing index here, etc. This performance debt builds over time, and suddenly...we've got a slow app.

slow sloth

Where do you start knocking down this performance debt? Surely, not everything is slow, right? Let's perform a Rails performance audit.

In 10 minutes or less, you'll have a good idea of where your app stands and where to focus your efforts by following this 5-point performance audit. At each step of the audit, I'll work through the analysis on a real production app so you can see an audit applied.

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DataDog vs. Scout: which is right for you?

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

You're probably confused where DataDog and Scout overlap. You're not alone! They've each offered similar products since their inception, and come on, they both have dogs in their logos!

Here's a timeline to clear things up:

  • Both Scout (2009) and DataDog (2010) started around the same time and focused on system-level monitoring (server resource usage, custom metrics via StatsD, etc).
  • In late 2015, Scout launched a dedicated Application Performance Management (APM) product. DataDog launched their own flavor of APM nine months later.
  • In the summer of 2017, Scout's original server monitoring product was acquired by Pingdom, becoming Pingdom Server Monitor. Scout now focuses on application monitoring.

DataDog offers both infrastructure and application monitoring. Scout offers a focused APM product, so their offerings overlap on application monitoring.

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New Relic vs. Scout: which is right for you?

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Development Bullet_white Comments Comments

There's no type of monitoring tool that can get to the heart of a performance problem faster than Application Performance Management (APM).

If you're making this decision, you may be choosing between New Relic and Scout. There are cases where New Relic is a better fit, clear cases where Scout fits like a glove, and some murky situations as well. Where do you fall?

Below, I'll summarize the factors to consider when choosing your best APM product.

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