Wistia’s Engineering and Customer Support Teams Solve Customer Issues Faster With Scalyr

I recently caught up with Ryan Artecona, Infrastructure Tech Lead at Wistia, to learn more about how their engineering and customer support teams use Scalyr. 

Last summer, the engineering team at Wistia took a step back from their day to day to evaluate the tools and infrastructure they were using. The team realized they needed a log management solution. After evaluating several products, they decided to move forward with Scalyr. Scalyr enabled the engineering team to have more visibility into operations. They were able to identify issues faster and as a result, have found they have fewer disgruntled customers.

About Wistia

Wistia is a professional video hosting and analytics platform designed to help businesses communicate more creatively. Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2006, Wistia offers businesses the resources to host, organize, customize and measure the impact of video. In addition to video hosting, analytics, and marketing tools, Wistia has a library of educational resources to help you learn the ins-and-outs of creating great video content.

Customer Challenges

Last summer, the engineering team at Wistia took a step back from their normal feature releases to assess their infrastructure. At the time, they had no log aggregation or observability tools beyond New Relic. They had log files, but the only way engineers could use them was to ssh into a specific log and hope the log you were looking for was there. They hadn’t used a log aggregator, but they knew they existed and wanted to find the right one.

The team evaluated Scalyr along with Splunk, SumoLogic, PaperTrail, and LogDNA. The criteria for their evaluation included:

  • Support for live streaming
  • Speed of queries
  • Ability to add indexes to logs in a flexible way
  • Reasonably priced solution

After evaluating all the products, the team decided on Scalyr because it matched their evaluation criteria the best. Some of the others didn’t support live streaming, others were too slow and inflexible and others were too expensive. In the evaluation, the team found Scalyr was easy to use, had powerful capabilities, was fast and was the most competitively priced.

Results of Using Scalyr

It took about a week to get up and running on Scalyr. Now, the product is used pervasively across the engineering team. The simplicity of the product that can get more complex as you need it to helps everyone across the team get value out of the product. For example, when writing a feature, the team wants to log when a few events happen, whatever they put into the code is what they put into Scalyr. They aren’t required to create an opaque translation layer. If they want to start treating it as a string, they can put it in there. If they want something fancier or to do something more complicated, they can make sure to format it to make it through the parser.

According to Ryan Artecona, Infrastructure Engineering Lead at Wistia,

“it is easier and faster to diagnose the bugs that frustrate our customers as a result of using Scalyr.”

Beyond the engineering team, the technical support team (Support Engineers) at Wistia uses Scalyr to help track down the root causes of problems that customers encounter. They use the search functionality in Scalyr extensively to pinpoint the exact requests in the logs that correspond to the problems customers encounter in the browser or when using their APIs. Scalyr has made the customer support team more self-sufficient in resolving customers’ problems – and when they do need to escalate problems to the engineering team, they’re able to give them a great head start on fixing the issue. The handoff between support to engineering is much smoother as a result of using Scalyr.

The engineering team is able to respond to incidents much faster. Rolling out Scalyr has helped the engineering team commit to security best practices, including removing root access to all production servers. Now engineers can write code that is observable from the outside and more conducive to debugging. Using Scalyr has been the team’s first big step in the direction of making debugging software in production more collaborative – something they didn’t have before. Individuals are more empowered to own their code by using Scalyr. Before, if things became too time-consuming (pre-Scalyr), issues would just go undiagnosed and marked as “too hard” to figure out.

Flyclops Accelerates Development by Using Scalyr

We are thrilled to have Flyclops as a customer at Scalyr. I recently chatted with co-owner Dave Martorana to learn more about how they chose Scalyr and how it is helping the engineering team be more effective.

Flyclops was evaluating log management tools when they came across Scalyr in a newsletter. After signing up for a trial, the team was blown away by the speed of the product. Searches went from minutes to seconds, which allowed them to save valuable development time. Using Scalyr has improved their ability to provide support and rapidly resolve issues, which has led to increased player happiness and let the team sleep at night knowing that they had the right tool in place to help them monitor activity on their servers.

About Flyclops

Flyclops is a independent mobile games studio located in Philadelphia, PA, specializing in casual multi-player games, both asynchronous turn-based, and real-time. Flyclops’s games have been played by millions across the globe.

Evaluation Process

When Flyclops was looking for a logging solution, they evaluated several tools. Other tools they were experimenting with made searching logs a painful task. Flyclops had a few things they were looking for in a log management tool, including:

  • Ease of logging
  • Speed of collection
  • Ability to pull metrics out of log data
  • Ability to parse custom log formats
  • Ability to diagnose issues quickly

Dave Martorana, co-owner of Flyclops, discovered Scalyr via a Google Go newsletter as a featured log management tool. Given that a lot of the Flyclops backend was written in Go, they decided to give it a try.

Results of using Scalyr

When the Flyclops team started using Scalyr, they immediately took notice of the speed and performance of the tool. Searches went from tens of seconds and minutes in other tools to almost instantaneous with Scalyr. 

According to Dave,

“Scalyr has been the single best tool I’ve added to our stack in years”.

Flyclops has 500,000 unique players per month. By using Scalyr, they are able to save significant time investigating issues, which gives more time for development. Scalyr allowed them to diagnose most problems substantially faster than with other tools they had tried. They were able to replace whole suites of monitoring tools with something that can answer questions they don’t know they’re going to have in the future.

The team liked that they had the ability to write their own parsers and didn’t have to conform to a certain pattern when writing data to logs. On the client side of things, they’ve gone through a number of third party crash reporting tools. They started logging client exceptions and wrote some custom parsers in order to parse thru the stack traces and proactively look at what’s unique to their products. They were able to turn Scalyr into the best stack analysis tool they had used.

The team sleeps a lot better knowing that Scalyr is watching their servers. The ability to answer questions they didn’t anticipate allows them to be more proactive. They are able to define custom variables and query them. When launching a new feature with a staged rollout, they are able to use Scalyr to validate that they are rolling out at the speed they expected with just a little bit of graphing. All of this allows them to better support their players, and be sure their customers are having a high-quality experience at all times.

Company Culture: Actions, not just words

I recently joined the marketing team at Scalyr. I left my previous role last fall and took some time off. After a bit of travel, I spent the last few months exploring what I wanted to do next. In my next opportunity, I wanted a product first company and a culture that aligned with my values. Throughout my search, I met with several dozen people and companies, some casual catch-ups and others more formal interviews. I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned in my process that ultimately made me believe Scalyr was the right place for me.

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CareerBuilder Resolves Customer Issues 5x Faster with Scalyr

We are excited to have CareerBuilder as a customer here at Scalyr. I recently sat down with Leon Chapman, Director of Cloud Operations at CareerBuilder, to learn more about their decision to use Scalyr and the impact the product is having on their teams and customer experience.

 

 

CareerBuilder chose Scalyr as their log management tool. After moving to the cloud two years ago, the team was looking to consolidate tools across their 250 person engineering organization. As a customer facing product, being able to identify issues quickly helps CareerBuilder deliver a better customer experience for the millions of people who use their products and services each day.

In particular, CareerBuilder found that when comparing Scalyr to other products, Scalyr beat the competition in:

  • Speed
  • Performance
  • Ability to scale without needing to manage infrastructure

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