Scout Improves App Monitoring for Rails Developers
Back in early 2008 I wrote about Scout on Ruby Inside, announcing it as a new "Ruby powered Web monitoring and reporting service." This is still true, except for the "new" bit! I've stayed in touch with the Scout team and they've not slowed down in their work on the system. They've improved the service and added some cool new features for Rails app developers in particular - even going as far as ripping out three months of development work to make the system better!
Scout has matured a lot since last year and now pitches itself as a general server and application monitoring service, though there's a sidefocus on Rails app monitoring. It's a commercial service but the entry plan is only $19 a month and there's a thirty day trial available.
Compared to other services, Scout is interesting because no Rails plugin installation is required and all analysis is separate from the request cycle. Redeployment isn't even necessary. Scout takes a more passive background role while still collecting all of the data it needs.
One of Scout's new features is the incorporation of the Request Log Analyzer by Willem van Bergen and Bart ten Brinke. This tool analyzes Rails log files and produces performance reports based around several metrics: request times, mean request time, process blockers, database and rendering times, HTTP methods used, HTTP statuses, Rails action cache stats, and similar. You can couple this with Scout's regular graphs and e-mail alert systems to get notified about "interesting" occurrences with your applications right as they happen.
Lastly, Scout has a strong plugin ethos, so it's not like it's just a Rails service - though that's what I'm focusing on here. You can write your own plugins to monitor whatever you like.. so even if you do monitor a Rails app, if you want to monitor another service "on the side" and you're willing to write a plugin, you'll be good to go, all on the same account.
Disclaimer: Scout has no relationship with Ruby/Rails Inside, other than having run a job ad on our jobs board a little while back. I promised to write about them while talking with them at RailsConf 2009, however, and genuinely think it's a service worth checking out :-)