Posts tagged with Scout
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Deploying Rails applications has definitely become easier with the use of tools like Capistrano and Phusion Passenger (a.k.a. mod_rails/mod_rack), but really keeping them serviceable, maintainable, and always humming along can require a bit of work.
Andre over at Scout has written a fantastic guide — a checklist, really for putting a Rails or Sinatra application in production and keeping it up in tip-top shape.
Read the Production Server Sysadmin Essentials or, as Andre likes to call it: “Sysadmin Eye for the Dev Guy”.
We published Part 2 of our lessons learned from undoing 3 months worth of development work on Scout, our server monitoring service.
As developers, we love technically beautiful solutions. But sometimes the best features are the ones that get the job done — and prove themselves by providing real business value.
We hope you enjoy us sharing these lessons, if so: up-vote us on Hacker News and be sure to subscribe to the Scout RSS Feed or Follow Us on Twitter.
Scout, our server monitoring service, has grown quite a bit in 2009.
We’ve documented 2 big lessons we’ve learned on the Scout Blog.
If you find it helpful, give us a vote on Hacker News.
Scout got a major facelift today, to show off all the new features we’ve launched over the past few months.
To learn more about many of the new features, including:
- Deep Rails Instrumentation
- Triggers and Trends
- The New Daemon-based, Robust Agent
- The Improved, Easier API and Developer Resources
- and our new Pricing Model
head on over to the Scout Blog to read all about it.
Now with deep Rails Instrumentation, triggers, a more robust agent, and more
Derek and Andre learned a thing or two about sponsoring and presenting Scout at the Golden Gate Ruby Conference this weekend.
Being a product owner ourselves (and developers on many web-based products for lots of companies), we know that the marketing and sales side of a product is half the battle.
Read Lessons from our First Tech Conference and vote +1 in the comments if you think Derek could stunt double for the ShamWow guy.
Geoffery Grosenbach interviewed the Highgroove Team for the latest Ruby on Rails Podcast, released last Friday.
We talked about the technical aspects of the upcoming refresh to our Ruby on Rails Monitoring service, Scout.
Learn more on the Scout Blog or Listen to the Podcast.
Re-blogging the news from Scout — we’re sponsoring the Golden Gate Ruby Conference and demoing some very tasty updates to Scout.
Stop by and say hi to Derek and Andre in the booth. I don’t know which one of them will be the booth-babe, yet.
Check out what’s going on with Scout and Merb in Atlanta this weekend!
Andre, Charles, and myself leave for RailsConf Thursday.
I’m the tall, skinny scarecrow-like figure with the big head. Charles looks like he might belong to a hipster boy band. Andre…well he looks completely normal. Just look for the scarecrow and the hipster – Andre will be the other one in our group.
Scout, our server monitoring and application, is now available for public consumption.
Scout is for the 95% of us that either gave up on installing & maintaining monitoring applications or used the old fashion monitoring method – an email from a customer when your web application is down. I’m not calling you out, it’s simply that monitoring used to be more painful than not monitoring. We think Scout changes that in a beautiful way.
Scout makes it easy to bring all of your data together – from the monitoring standbys (url monitoring, server load, memory usage, etc) to modern day analytics (the number of user accounts on your web application, unique visitors, inbound links, etc). It’s all done through an easy plugin system that you configure through our web interface – you never have to login to each of your servers and install or edit monitoring scripts. You’re not limited to the plugins we built – you can roll your own with a couple of elegant lines of Ruby code.
We recently sat down with Geoffrey Grosenbach for the Ruby on Rails Podcast and talked about Scout, PlaceShout, working as a remote team, and balancing client work with internal projects.
Listen to the Podcast
Last night, I demoed Scout to a room-full of Rubyists at the Atlanta Ruby User Group Meeting.
I would love to share all the wonderful feedback, but instead, I’ll share some of the excellent questions (and more elaborate answers) that were asked of Scout:
What are the security pitfalls, i.e. can someone simply write a ‘rm -rf’ plugin?
To answer that, let’s look at the architecture of Scout first:
- You install the tiny Scout client (which is a Ruby gem) on your server.
- The client connects over https (always) through a 256-bit secure, encrypted connection (the same encryption your bank uses).
- Scout never logs in to any of your servers.
- All communication is initiated by the client.
- The client downloads a pre-loaded plugin plan, consisting only of plugins of your choosing, so it cannot run plugins you didn’t explicitly authorize.
- The server also uses that same secure encryption for all communication. Individual accounts are protected.
- Client keys (uniquely generated) can be revoked at any time, disabling the client.
The security measures needed for Scout are the same as for any other software. In fact, in some ways, it’s easier to be more secure – the plugins are relatively few lines of code and easy to review. For a more closed environent, you can create a copy of the plugin code and host it on one of your own servers (a plugin is plain text).
Is Scout open source?
The Scout client is completely open source. The gem is a normal Ruby gem, open for development, and distributed under the MIT and/or Ruby License (whichever you prefer). The Scout Plugins people write are also completely open, in fact, they are surrounded and fostered by a community that encourages branching, fixes, and general open-ness.
The Server, where you aggregate your data, do reporting, and in general, collect information about your account is not open-source. We maintain the server, and keep all your data safe and sound.
When does it launch?
We’re doing the plumbing now – account subscriptions, a new home page, privacy policies, backup procedures, etc. We’ve recognized that lots of people are anxious to get going and we’re working to get it ready for public use as fast as possible.
We’re using Scout, our monitoring and reporting application, to graph the performance of our Rails applications and servers.
I’ve uploaded a video that looks at how one of our applications, PlaceShout, impacts the server load and Mongrel memory usage. I also compare PlaceShout’s footprint to another server.
Watch the video:
Graphing in Scout (1 min 47 sec)
Past Videos on Scout:
Installing the Scout Client (1 min 39 sec)
Installing the Rails Requests Plugin (1 min 55 sec)
Signup for our launch email list
We’ve started emailing invites to Scout. Signup on our homepage, and we’ll give you access to Scout before the public launch.
Tracking the results of your blatant self-promotion campaign can be a time-consuming effort. You might be using Google Analytics for web traffic and FeedBurner for blog subscribers. You’re probably checking link referrals. You’re querying the database for usage statistics (user signups, logins, etc.), etc.
Scout is an honest friend that gives it to you straight. Our friendly retriever will track, mash, and graph all of this data in real-time.
For example, below is a graph generated by Scout. It shows the FeedBurner circulation of this blog (in red) vs. unique visits from Google Analytics on our Highgroove homepage (in blue):
It doesn’t look like there’s a huge correlation there. What about unique visitors on PlaceShout (in red) vs. unique visitors on our Highgroove site (in blue)? Data via Google Analytics:
There’s a correlation there. Traffic to PlaceShout appears to drives traffic to Highgroove.
Currently, 3 Scout Plugins exist for grabbing external data:
Seeing this data is extremely useful for answering questions that take quite a bit of work to find out manually (and can’t be updated in real-time):
- How many of our unique visitors create a shoutout on PlaceShout?
- As the number of sites linking to us increases, how does this impact traffic on our site?
- How is traffic impacted when we publish our email newsletter?
The great thing about these reports is they don’t require any updates – Scout continually grabs new data and updates the graph.
Signup for our launch email list
We’re launching Scout this winter – click here to signup for our launch notification. We’ll email that list before the public launch.
Get Immediate Access to Scout
I’d like to create a plugin to report back the number of people linking to a url on del.icio.us, but haven’t had time yet. Want to create this plugin? Shoot me an email at (derek at highgroove dot com) and I’ll give you immediate access.
Past posts on Scout:
When something bad happens you want to find out about it as quickly as possible.
You’re probably notified of uncaught exceptions. What about slow web requests, which can be just as annoying to a user?
Find about about slow web requests (and what might be causing them) in near real-time using Scout and the Ruby on Rails Request Monitoring Plugin.
Here’s how it goes down:
1. Install the Scout Client watch a video (1 min 39 sec)
2. Install the Plugin watch a video (1 min 55 sec)
…that’s it – you’re no longer a performance slacker.
3. Scout reports back data
Every 10 minutes, Scout collects information:
If you have a slow request, an alert is generated. You can view the offending requests and their request times:
View Web Requests on a Graph
You can easily graph this data as well with Scout’s built-in graph builder:
Compare to other Rails applications
…but that’s not all. You probably have multiple Rails applications. You can compare their performance on a single graph as well:
Look for trends against other data
…we’re not done yet though…how about comparing the average request time vs. the size of the mongrel threads through the Process Usage plugin?
Since it’s easy to plot different data stats on Scout, you can quickly rule out possible reasons for slow performance. That’s half the battle.
Signup for our launch email list
We’re launching Scout this winter. Signup on our homepage, and we’ll give you access to Scout before the public launch.
I’ve added 2 videos to the Scout homepage – they demonstrate 3 things:
- Installing the Scout client on a remote server is almost too fast
- One-click plugin configuration (I’m installing the Ruby on Rails Request Monitoring Plugin, so if you’re a Rails developer, there’s an added bonus)
- My awkward narration voice (I think my voice actually cracks on one of them…I assure you, I am not 13 years old).
If you’re looking for an easier way to monitor your servers and web apps, check out the videos. There’s a launch notification form on the Scout homepage as well – we’ll email people on this list before publically launching Scout.