Taming Ruby on Rails with FiveRuns

Taming Ruby on Rails with FiveRuns

Summary: According to Gartner, the number of Ruby On Rails developers will grow to some 4 million by 2013. While many of these will be hobbyists, Gartner believes the largest area of growth will be inside the firewall.


Gartner Ruby

According to Gartner, the number of Ruby On Rails developers will grow to some 4 million by 2013. While many of these will be hobbyists, Gartner believes the largest area of growth will be inside the firewall. There's one problem. Until recently, there have not been any instrumentation or management tools, which IT shops see as a vital ingredient in getting things done. Enter FiveRuns, funded to the tune of $9 million by Austin Ventures.

FiveRuns is offering a hosted management service at $40 per server per month. Its Manage service lets users monitor performance deep into the application, helping developers understand how their application is impacted by databases, operating systems and other web services.

Today, FiveRuns claims 95 customers. I spoke with Investment Instruments, which is developing real estate solutions for the rental market. Its marquee offering for landlords is Rentomatic, which is used by landlords to manage rental units. Its other offering is Rentometer, a service that is designed to provide valuation transparency into the rental market for both landlords and tenants.

They say the value FiveRuns delivers comes from Investment Instruments developers'  ability to get visibility into the Rails environment without having to chase down server logs or find a support person. In other words, the developers can act as environment managers. Investment Instruments also says that FiveRuns gives them the means to take actions on flow queries which they see as an important part of what they need to do in order to optimize a complex environment that also includes integration to legacy systems. Net-net it means time and money saved in the development process.

FiveRuns' goal is to become a complete Rails management provider but this is not necessarily going to be an easy nut to crack inside the enterprise. I spoke with industry analyst Michael Coté of Redmonk who said: "There is going to be a Rails explosion but there is no assured way to launch a scalable solution to the management problem. Right now, you've got to get the attention of the person who is deeply into Rails rather than thinking about the enterprise and that means entering the conversations that are going on in and around the Rails community. If FiveRuns can help stop developers shooting themselves in the performance foot then they're going to get that attention."

This is a space that is wide open but as noted, we are very early in the game. There is nothing to stop a Tivoli or CA from breezing into the space and attempting to eat FiveRuns lunch. My belief is that it is the vendor that successfully builds up the conversational community with Rails users that will outrun any incumbent player that tries to flip into this space.

Topics: Software Development, Emerging Tech, Hardware

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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  • If the software works well

    it will be useful for project refactoring, and assisting the Rails contributors with optimizations too.

    It's also important to push correct server setups. I know of hosting companies that run in development mode and have heavily laden Apache processes front ending to one back end instance.
  • RE: Taming Ruby on Rails with FiveRuns

    RoR is where ASP was 10 years ago in terms of support and enterprise deployment. RoR will explode much more quickly and will need support in the Enterprise. If these guys are first to market they can succeed if management is strong and implementation is stronger.
    Good luck, guys, I will be watching.
    • What you mean is

      "RoR is where ASP was 10 years ago"

      you work with ASP, don't know Rails, and haven't embraced FOSS culture.
  • RE: Taming Ruby on Rails with FiveRuns

    I agree with trabun on both points.

    New technology waves bring with them a new ecosystem of
    vendors. Just look at the successful vendors that
    surrounded Java, Linux, NT, etc. The trick here is having an
    experienced management team from a former wave that
    has 'seen this movie before' apply that experience from
    within the new technology and cultural context.

    Incumbent systems monitoring and application
    management vendors like Tivoli, BMC, etc. are generally
    not successful at surfing new technology waves because of
    their own business agility, technology and cultural
    barriers. That's why you often see startups lead the way
    with these new waves (e.g., Red Hat with Linux, NetIQ with
    NT, and many others).

    In order to deliver compelling application management for
    Rails apps the tools themselves must be written in both
    Ruby and Rails by Ruby and Rails experts. This ensures a
    strong implementation and a cultural affinity with the
    • Management speak - go back to bed

      or actually get involved.

  • RE: Taming Ruby on Rails with FiveRuns

    Woke up from a RESTful sleep. Dreamt I was running a
    successful Rails startup focused on helping Rails adoption
    accelerate. Man that?s way too involved.