Comparing Rails Application Performance Monitoring Tools

Monitoring an application’s performance is the basics of building a successful software product. With the popularity that Rails has always been riding on in the start-up world, it makes all the more sense to look for tools that help you keep your Ruby on Rails application in shape. In this guide, we will look at some of the top APM tools for Rails applications and compare them along some standard benchmarks to help you get an insight into which tool fits your use case the best.

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Evaluation Method

Before we start comparing the tools, let’s take a moment to elaborate on the evaluation method we used to judge the tools. To prepare a fair analysis of the overall usefulness of each tool, here are the criteria that we will be using:

Why Did We Use These Criteria?

The criteria that we have used cover each aspect of application performance management. While the features and pricing are among the topmost benchmarks for judging any software product, the UI offered by an APM tool is crucial in determining its overall usefulness for a particular customer.

Moving onwards, the next important thing to worry about is how quickly you can get going when facing issues. Some products maintain elaborate documentation and communities to present users with a self-service platform, while others lean towards a more human approach via chat/email/call services. Next, two criteria are not exactly deal-breakers but are still good to consider —integrations options and installation experience. Also, It is important to note that the list of criteria is in order of decreasing priority.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at our lineup of Ruby monitoring tools.

Scout APM

Scout APM logo - white background

Scout APM is an application performance monitoring tool that offers the best observability and analytics for applications built using Rails, Python, and PHP. Scout presents a clean and easy-to-use interface for developers and analytics teams alike. Scout is well known for its robust tracing and alerting capabilities. The tool ensures that you never miss out on anything that goes wrong in your application.

Scout is particularly famous for its elaborate APM solution for Ruby on Rails applications. It can identify exceptions such as N+1 & slow queries, can track ActiveRecord metrics, and more. With Scout, you can identify and fix any performance issues as and when they occur before they make a dent in your business.

Scout is one of the most adequately priced APMs in the market at the moment. There is a flexible line of pricing plans available that suits all types of budgets. There is even a no-credit-card 14-day free plan available to try out Scout in your real-time app!

Scout APM has a simplistic design and developer-friendly interface. It keeps the UI as clutter-free as possible and offers a uniform web-app-based interface that you can access from all platforms. Scout prioritizes the most commonly used dashboards and views by default to reduce your workload.

On the installation front, Scout is unmatched with a less than 30-second installation process. It also offers an adequate list of integrations to connect with the most popularly used third-party services.

What You Should Know

As the front-runner in Rails application performance monitoring, Scout is the perfect choice for you if you are a small or a mid-size business looking to get started with Rails monitoring. Scout provides a comprehensive list of rails monitoring features coupled with some of the most simplistic yet accurate dashboards and views. The installation is a breeze, and your team is in for a great monitoring experience!



RoRvsWild logo

RoRvsWild is one of the very few dedicated Rails monitoring solutions. It is especially popular for its slick UI and themes. RoRvsWild enables you to monitor requests, background jobs, and issues. It provides your Ruby on Rails team with actionable performances insights and error alerts.

RoRvsWild stands for Ruby on Rails vs. Wild, and it is one of the products created by a small web development studio Base Secrète from Switzerland. Base Secrète specializes in designing and building Ruby on Rails applications. On their official Github organization page, the creators have hosted an open-sourced gem rorvswild, dedicated to integrating your Ruby app with their cloud monitoring services.

Since this tool is relatively new and small at the current time, it does not offer a vast range of features in the APM domain. However, the tool creators offer consistent support over chat and email, and RoRvsWild’s cloud monitoring services will monitor your app around the clock.

RoRvsWild is a relatively young product in this lineup, but it shows immense potential given its freemium model and eye for detail. It is safe to say that this APM tool will pose a solid threat to its competitors in the coming future.

What You Should Know

The primary selling points of RoRvsWild include its dedicated nature for RoR apps, its intuitive user interface, and generous pricing models. If you are looking for a monitoring solution for an up-and-coming Ruby application, RoRvsWild is a good fit for you. However, if you plan to have an APM tool around for a long time in a product that can grow into a cyber giant someday, you might have to change your APM setup on the way.


Stackify Retrace

Retrace logo

Retrace is an APM solution offered by Stackify, which specializes in DevOps and automation tools. Retrace has long been one of the top players in the APM industry, and it has a lot to offer to users of all scales.

Retrace checks all the requirements of a standard APM tool, and it ups the game by throwing in some additional cool features. With App Score, all of your applications receive a letter grade which helps to measure satisfaction, performance, error, and server metrics for the previous seven days.

Retrace also couples deployment monitoring with the standard error monitoring suite to help you understand the root cause of a problem. You can look into when and why an issue crept into your application and possibly fix it faster. Due to its mature nature, Retrace is compatible with a wide range of tech stacks and offers a long line of third-party integrations.

What You Should Know

On the whole, Retrace does a great job of locating issues and their sources. Moreover, the documentation & customer support offered is excellent, allowing you to get started with minimal hassle. Given its powerful features and reasonable pricing, you should give it a try to see if it fits your needs.


New Relic

New Relic logo

New Relic APM grants the ability to drill deep into your app for performance bottlenecks and their solutions. New Relic identifies itself as an observability solution and does justice to its title by offering a highly detailed visualization of your application’s complete stack. 

New Relic is famous for its in-depth monitoring and deep analysis of metrics. The data you collect from your application is bound to be top class, and you can rest assured that you will not miss out on any events at all.

New Relic has been one of the oldest players in the rails performance monitoring market. But, it has failed to evolve with time in terms of user interface and presentation. While New Relic offers some great features and functionalities, its tough-to-navigate UI takes away the charm to some extent.

New Relic’s customer support is not the most popular in the market; there have been reports of sloppy work. However, they offer a long and adequate line of third-party integrations that can help you get connected to almost every other third-party service in the market. 

The installation process is average. You face a couple of slumps while setting things up for the first time, but there is enough documentation available to help you quickly get back on your feet.

What You Should Know

New Relic has been one of the premier rails monitoring tools in the market for a long time. New Relic offers top-class features and assures you that you have complete visibility into your application. However, the pricing and user interface fail to keep up with the features’ class. Therefore it is essential to understand that while New Relic would be a good shot for in-depth monitoring, you need to prepare for some quirks on the side.



AppSignal logo

AppSignal has offered Rails application monitoring for the past 12 years, and they are indeed among one of the most seasoned yet fun players in the game. A team of around 16 people runs this APM product and handles over 100 billion requests each month! With its headquarters located in the Netherlands, the team is scattered all across the world. With a special love for Stroopwaffles, AppSignal delivers one of the most powerful APM services in the industry for Rails applications.

With a wide range of features that include performance monitoring, error monitoring, host monitoring, anomaly detection, and uptime monitoring, AppSignal will give your app an edge over your competitors. Especially on the Ruby on Rails front, AppSignal covers all monitoring aspects and ensures that you get maximum uptime and minimum issues in your application.

As a cherry on the top, each pricing plan offered by the company includes all the features mentioned above, so you don’t need to worry about finding the perfect plan for your use case. AppSignal offers a generous open-source tier under which you can get unlimited access to an open-source project free of cost.

The UI and dashboards offered by the tool are standard and provide users with most of the features they need. Given the default set of features and services, you will never feel the need to look for additional integrations. However, if you do so, AppSignal offers a wide range of 3rd party integrations with the topmost applications in the market so that you don’t miss out on any of your stuff.

Installation and customer support are two vital areas of the AppSignal product. The creators claim that you can get going with an AppSignal integration in your application in under 5 minutes.

What You Should Know

AppSignal is one of the most well-balanced APM alternatives in the market right now. They offer a comprehensive range of features for RoR and match it with simple, appropriately planned pricing models. On the UI front, they are among the front-runners in the industry, and they also offer a wide range of integrations to help you out. AppSignal is an excellent choice for RoR applications of all sizes and scales.



Skylight logo

Known as the smart profiler for your Rails app, Skylight is an intelligent profiling tool for Rails applications. Skylight helps to visualize request performance across an array of servers.

Skylight is famous for handling production code. Made by the team behind ember.js, Skylight strives to show you possible rooms of improvement before they become showstoppers. 

Skylight is a tool with a beautiful user interface. One of its most popular features is sorting issues by ‘agony’ or listing low-hanging fruit fixes. However, some users do report that comparing different ti

On the additionals front, Skylight offers prompt customer response, and its installation is a breeze. Again, since the tool is young and growing, there aren’t many third-party integrations available as of now.

What You Should Know

Skylight is an up-and-coming rails profiler with highly targeted and customized features. It prioritizes complete visibility and combines it with a slick and powerful user interface to help you get the best out of your resources. The customer support is excellent, and installation is a breeze. This makes the tool a perfect choice for businesses that rely heavily on rails apps only. If you are looking for a tool that can go beyond Rails simultaneously, Skylight might not be enough for you.


SolarWinds AppOptics

Solarwinds Appoptics logo

SolarWinds offers an application performance monitoring solution called AppOptics. AppOptics is a collection of applications meant to facilitate a smooth rails performance monitoring experience.

One of the prime aims of AppOptics is to reduce the MTTR of your incident response team. It helps the cause by automatically pinpointing performance issues and removing the guesswork involved in troubleshooting. It offers full-stack visibility into your application and is highly scalable.

AppOptics offers a great deal of visual representation of app issues. The dashboards provide good visibility into the metrics, and tracking issues in real-time is easy. However, the tool is resource-intensive and requires a heavy computing capacity to run effectively. This applies more to the needs of large businesses.

Another point to ponder when talking about AppOptics is that it is not a unified, single tool. Instead, it’s a collection of different tools that make accurate monitoring possible. Some users stated that they would like the product better if it was one unified interface that offered additional app integrations as widgets.

As far as the additionals are concerned, AppOptics offers a simplistic installation process and has good customer support coverage. The range of available integrations is sufficient for most third-party services.

What You Should Know

AppOptics is an excellent tool to consider if you are a large business looking for a handpicked collection of services to gain deep visibility into your application. While AppOptics deals a good hand of features, it lags on the pricing front. The only shortcoming is that the tool requires heavy firepower from the underlying machine to function properly. If you have a solid budget and infrastructure, AppOptics might be the right rails monitoring tool for you.



Elastic APM logo

Elastic entered the APM market with its acquisition of the open-source application monitoring framework OpBeat in 2017. It is a one-stop solution for error logging, performance metrics, release tracking, and workflow management.

OpBeat is a relatively small yet dedicated APM tool that offers annotated stack traces and minimal rate limits. Elastic APM provides a highly affordable pricing scenario where the tool is technically free for small groups of developers. The rate or usage limit is lenient, making Elastic APM a good alternative for projects looking into the usefulness of monitoring.

Coming from an open-source history, Elastic APM does not offer the best user interfaces in the market. Navigating can get tricky at times, and visualization of the entire tool could have been made more appealing. Users also report that the team can improve code visibility in the tool as well.

On the flipside, Elastic APM offers excellent customer support and is relatively easy to install. However, there are not many integrations available owing to the small scale of the monitoring product. They offer HipChat and GitHub integrations that can come in handy when setting up things for the first time.

What You Should Know

Known for its open-source roots and generous usage limits, Elastic APM is a good alternative for your small-scale Rails app or your garage rails start-up. It offers the flexibility provided by open-source software and is technically free to use for small teams. However, it does not offer a wide range of plugins to integrate with third-party services and has a tough-to-use UI. Therefore Elastic APM might not be the best choice for large-scale applications.



Raygun Application Monitoring logo

Another hot contender in the market of rails performance monitoring tools is Raygun. Raygun aims to make error recon and resolution easier for all types of software teams. The tool offers a long line of features that include error and crash reporting, real user monitoring (RUM), application performance monitoring (APM), customer experience, and more. 

Raygun takes pride in its powerful filtering capabilities and user interface. You can access a long line of intuitive and customizable dashboards, each loaded with an array of filters and other features to get you the insight that you need as quickly as possible.

Raygun offers Insight, which helps users test each page of their application through 20 different usability and performance rules. The test provides precious, actionable feedback that comes in handy in speeding up and enhancing the user experience of your application.

Raygun is known to offer friendly customer support; however, it can be irregular at times. The number of third-party integrations available to Raygun users is limited at the moment but is quite promising.

Raygun’s installation process is a little off for beginners, as people have reported common issues and delays to arise on the way. The documentation is quite helpful, but not as much as a seamless process would have been.

What You Should Know

Raygun is among the top rails monitoring tools in terms of the features offered. It provides deep visibility into your application and couples it with a powerful interface to quickly get you the insights you need. However, it lacks on the other fronts—customer support, integrations, and installation. Therefore, it is an excellent alternative to invest in if you are looking for a core APM product, and additional offerings are not important to you.



Atatus logo

Atatus is an up-and-coming Indian player in the international APM market. Atatus offers performance monitoring for Rails applications and covers some of the core features like transaction metrics, database monitoring, and network monitoring in detail.

Atatus is known to have a simplistic user interface, and its dashboards offer great flexibility and control to the users. Identifying issues within the metrics is a breeze. Atatus’ UI is among the most simple yet powerful in this list.

Coming to the additional offerings, Atatus aces the game of customer support. Joe and the team are very popular among their customers, and rarely does a user have to wait for more than a day for a response.

Being a small and growing product, Atatus can not offer the extended range of third-party integrations provided by APM giants. However, it does cover the basics and the fundamentals with Slack, HipChat, Codeship, etc. 

Installation is one of the strongest fronts of the tool—users have reported a seamless and quick process all along. If anything ever goes off, either the documentation or the customer support team assists the user in no time.

What You Should Know

Atatus is a small but growing contender in the arena of rails monitoring tools. It offers some of the best features in a modularised way, but billing can be a problem if you are a small business. However, the tool makes up for it with its powerful dashboards and prompt customer service. For mid-sized companies with an additional budget and room for experiments, Atatus is a good alternative.



Datadog logo

DataDog is a monitoring and analytics service that offers performance and events monitoring. With DataDog, monitoring services like servers, databases, and tools is a breeze. You can deploy DataDog on-premise or as a SaaS solution.

DataDog is known to use a Go-based agent, and its backend infrastructure comprises Apache Cassandra, PostgreSQL, and Apache Kafka. It offers an easy-to-use REST API to integrate it with multiple services, programming languages, and tools.

Datadog offers an advanced user interface with a slick look. The UI assists in tracking issues, bugs, etc., and app monitoring as well. You can easily customize your dashboards according to different kinds of metrics. On top of that, Datadog provides over 450 built-in integrations in various categories, including alerting, automation, messaging, metrics, etc. These integrations help to support features other than those already provided by the APM tool. 

DataDog’s monitoring client runs on a host computer and sends data to the cloud server. So you can easily install it directly on your AWS Linux, RedHat, CentOD, Debian, Ubuntu, and other similar hosts. 

When it comes to installing DataDog, it can get a little tricky, given that there are so many things to take into account in the entire process. Patches and updates are released very frequently requiring the DataDog agent to be modified, which is a very cumbersome process.

Datadog’s support is readily available on their official website, which provides email, live chat, etc.  They also offer documentation for their APM, logging, integrations, agents, and API libraries. If you do not find any solution to your problem, you can quickly file a ticket via email.

What You Should Know

DataDog is among the finest-made APM providers in the market. Well-known for its highly modular structure, you are likely to find it fit in most possible use-cases. The pricing models complement the tool model, and the user interface, though clunky sometimes, is very slick. The installation process is well-documented, and the support team is quick to respond.



Airbrake logo

With its HQ located in San Francisco, Airbrake is a premier application performance monitoring tool. It provides software teams with detailed stack traces and powerful filtering capabilities. The tool offers intelligent grouping and duplicate detection, which means you are aloof from getting overwhelmed by trivial alerts or mass emails. 

Airbrake’s user interface is not liked much by its users. It appears clunky and can be challenging to navigate around. Basic tasks such as labeling & prioritizing errors, exporting error data, etc., can be difficult to find initially.

What You Should Know

Airbrake is one of the highly detailed APM products in the market. It offers powerful monitoring capabilities but lacks on the user interface front. The pricing models are modular but highly-priced; hence, they are not viable for small businesses. Customer support and installation are great, and a fair number of integrations are available to help you get going quickly.


Spend More Time Building and Less Time Debugging

If you aim to own a software product and provide an excellent experience to your users, monitoring is a crucial aspect of your roadmap. At the same time, you do not want to be focusing on observing your application only; you need to focus your energy on growing it. Therefore choosing an APM tool that does most of the work for you is crucial. In this article, we have tried to give you a high-level insight into the top APM products available in the market for Rails applications.

As far as developer experience, cost-efficiency, and customer service are concerned, ScoutAPM does a great job at providing you value for your money. The products’ simplicity in terms of the user interface, initial set-up, and customer support is unmatched, considering the pricing models. You can try out the product for a 14-day free trial without any credit cards.

For more in-depth content around web development and a reliable tool for optimizing your application’s performance, navigate our blog and feel free to explore ScoutAPM with a free 14-day trial!