Scout Checks in on Passenger

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Updates, Plugins Bullet_white Comments Comments

The number one requested plugin for Scout has been a Phusion Passenger monitor. I’m happy to report that is now available.

Scout ~ Advance Marketing Engine

Using the new Passenger Monitor plugin, Scout can keep track of Passenger’s VM size, process count, and the amount of private memory it has squirreled away. Aside from just tracking these numbers for graphs, you can also elect to be emailed if any of these statistics crosses a line you indicate. As an added bonus, this plugin also tracks the same statistics for the Apache instance managing Passenger.

Passenger has quickly become a great new way to deploy Rails applications and we want to make sure Scout is keeping up with the curve.


Rails Consultancy Elevated Rails: "using Scout has been a real joy"

By Derek Bullet_white Comments Comments

Ensuring 15 Rails apps are running smoothly can be a real chore, especially when they have core pieces that fall outside the typical monitoring stack. Mike Mangino of Chicago-based Elevated Rails recently wrote about consolidating his Rails monitoring efforts using Scout:

This simple interface to reporting and alerting is incredibly powerful. What makes it even more powerful is the ease with which you can install plugins. ... So far, using Scout has been a real joy. That’s something I never thought I would say about a monitoring tool.

Mike has open-sourced much of his work, publishing his plugins for Scout in our directory:

You can fork and/or follow Mike’s Scout plugins at GitHub.


Track our plugins on GitHub

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Updates Bullet_white Comments Comments

Commit History for highgroove's scout-plugins 2014 GitHub

You can now follow our commits to Scout plugins at our GitHub Repository.

GitHub makes it easy to find out when new plugins are created. Feel free to fork us (as long as forking is legal in your part of the world).

Quick note – remember to use the raw format when using your own plugins from GitHub by appending ?raw=true to the plugin script URL.

Also see:


4 Simple Steps to Detect & Fix Slow Rails Requests

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in HowTo Bullet_white Comments 11 comments

2016 UPDATE: We’ve released Scout App Monitoring, which automates these steps for you.

In Blink, Malcom Gladwell’s book on split-second decisions, Gladwell tells the story of how the Emergency Department at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital changed their process for diagnosing chest pain.

Dr. Brendan Reilly instituted a simple test to determine whether a patient was suffering from a heart attack. It combined just 4 questions with the results of an ECG. This simple test was 70% better than the barrage of questions previously asked by hospital staff to identify patients that weren’t having a heart attack and was nearly 20% better at identifying patients that were having heart attacks.

More information on the patient’s symptoms often led to an incorrect diagnosis. It distracted doctors from the real issues.

I’ve seen this many times with developers trying to debug performance issues in Rails applications. They look at outliers instead of the obvious culprits. It’s part of the reason I’ve never felt a need for a deep, detailed Rails monitoring application (i.e. – benchmarks from the controller to the database level on every request).

The majority of the time, our performance problems have nothing to do with the Rails framework (and we’ve worked through a lot of issues since we started building Rails apps in 2005). Why benchmark the entire request cycle when the vast majority of issues are isolated at the database layer? After I’ve ruled out the database, I can see benchmarking a single request (there’s a great free tool below), but I simply don’t want the other, often irrelevant information clouding my mind.

The root symptom we want to avoid in our apps is slow requests. Our Scout plugin for analyzing slow Rails requests has been installed nearly 250 times, so we’re not alone there.

Read More →


Monitoring Amazon EC2 Instances

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Examples, HowTo Bullet_white Comments Comments

UPDATED – We’ve made it even easier to monitor ec2 instances. Check out our post on cloud monitoring.

Read More →


Everything is easier with Scout Client 2.0

By Derek Bullet_white Posted in Updates Bullet_white Comments Comments

We’ve released the 2nd version of our Scout client. What I love about this release is that it doesn’t make anything more complex or break compatibility with our first release. It just makes writing plugins easier.

For example – lets say you want to generate an alert. How’s this for simplicity?

class INeedASandwich < Scout::Plugin
  def build_report
     alert(:subject => "Get me a sandwich")

We’ve also made the process for managing memory (data stored on the client between runs of the plugin) easier to work with. Memory is a great tool for storing state.

For example:

class INeedASandwich < Scout::Plugin
  def build_report
    if memory(:am_i_hungry)
      alert(:subject => "Get me a sandwich")
      remember(:am_i_hungry => false)
      remember(:am_i_hungry => true)

As always, updating to the latest release is as simple as:

gem install scout [1]
gem install scout --source

[1] Rubyforge is slow to update, in the meantime, use our gem server mirror


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