Late last year, Airbrake was acquired by the team at Exceptional, inc. We’re extremely excited about this move and we’d like to explain why.
We created Hoptoad in the fall of 2007 and launched it publicly in spring of 2008. We had been tracking our errors previously with an email notifier that flooded our inboxes with repeat errors, many generated by search engines requesting weird URLs.
In 2011, we renamed the product Airbrake.
Over the years, Airbrake handled billions of error reports for thousands of web applications from all over the world. We kept the product focused on grouping similar errors, notifying developers once per error, and displaying the backtrace and session information to help debug the issue.
As the number of customers and errors increased, we spent a lot of time addressing scaling issues. There were times we’d have 150,000 requests per minute, or requests with 500MB of session data.
Running Airbrake was like being under a constant DoS attack.
So, we spent very little time working toward our vision of a product that integrated more completely with developer tools.
Last year, we were approached by the Exceptional team and their Chief Strategic Officer, Jonathan Siegel (who has created or invested in RightSignature, RightScale, Intercom, and Iron.io). Exceptional had a team ready to work toward the same vision we had for Airbrake.
After getting to know the Exceptional team, we felt their serious financial and team commitment had the best chance to turn our shared vision into reality. We agreed to sell Airbrake to Exceptional.
The new team has been handling all support issues and feature work for several months now. We’re very pleased with their work so far.
We continue to provide web design and development consulting and are developing Trajectory, Copycopter, and apprentice.io to help solve problems for web design and development teams.
If you’ve been an Airbrake customer, thank you! It’s been a great experience for us and you continue to be in good hands with the new team.
Read more about the acquisition at TechCrunch and the past, present, and future of Airbrake at the Airbrake blog.
Just a quick heads up: The Airbrake Notifier’s repository is now http://github.com/airbrake/airbrake instead of being under the thoughtbot account. The URLs will still work for now because there’s a fork under thoughtbot, but that will be going away in a week or two, so update your sources. Any pull requests or github issues you had on the notifier have also been moved over, so make sure you check the right project in case you think yours went missing.
This won’t affect anyone who’s using the gem in their Gemfile, so we’d encourage you to use that instead of pulling directly from git.
We are changing the name of our “Hoptoad” product to be called “Airbrake”. Another company has a trademark in the computer software realm over all things related to frogs and toads and little animals of that ilk. We talked to our lawyers, and decided that it’s best to go along with the request and change the name.
Looking on the bright side, we’re excited about this transition. This is a great opportunity to take a look at the product as a whole. First off, as you may have already noticed, we’ve put together the new Airbrake site. This is the new feel of Airbrake: simple, elegant, but rugged. This is just the beginning though. We will be working to improve the overall look of the app, as well as continue to focus on the performance, reliability and features of the service.
If you are a user of the official hoptoad_notifier, nothing has changed yet. You can continue to use that notifier, but soon that gem will be replaced by an airbrake_notifier gem. The hoptoad_notifier gem will simply depend on the new airbrake gem, and in order to get upgrades to the gem you should be changing your references over by specifying the new gem on the Gemfile. We’ll post more on that in a separate post, so stay tuned for the details.
If you are the author of any of our third party addons and extras, this is the time to change references from http://hoptoadapp.com over to http://airbrakeapp.com. You might as well change the project name while you’re at it. By September, we won’t be able to use the Hoptoad name any longer, so make sure you are all up to date before then.
We are making sure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible for all of our users. You should have plenty of time to update your gems/plugins/libraries in your projects. However, at some point in September we will also have to give up the domain name. So the safest bet for you is to update your bookmarks now and start POSTing errors to the new domain.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our users for your continued support. Airbrake has already caught over a billion exceptions, and we look forward to helping developers everywhere catch and solve the next billion errors in their apps.
Just like in the early days with trains, during an emergency, stopping it was a huge deal. There would have to be one operator standing by on each cart that would pull a lever when signaled by a directing engineer. As archaic as that sounds, this is equivalent to tailing logs or flooding your inbox. There’s a better way. Trains and trucks today use a more efficient mechanism called airbrakes so that they don’t have to rely solely on the hydraulic fluid which may run out, usually when you need it most. Air is everywhere. With an airbrake, air pressure is released which in turn forces the brakes into the applied position, preventing havoc.
We recently decided to move to a different hosting environment, and we’re pleased to announce that Hoptoad has been running very smoothly. The new environment supports the very high write rates that are inherent to an application like Hoptoad, and also affords us higher configurability and flexibility. To put some numbers on it, a couple of months ago we were handling on average 10 thousand requests per minute. That number right now is over 100 thousand. Similarly, our average response time two months ago was around 110ms, whereas now it is averaging at 35 ms. Big wins all around.
We pulled the trigger about a week ago, and we’re still tweaking that environment to get the best out of it. We’re also doing a lot of performance optimization work on the app itself, but both infrastructure and app performance strategies are topics for another post.
Today we are announcing a couple of changes to the Hoptoad plans.
Based on the usage patterns in Hoptoad, people infrequently look at errors after even a few days, let alone a month. Hoptoad is valuable for daily operations, and developers strive to fix errors in apps as soon as they can. Like with network monitoring software, the usefulness of granular data decreases as time goes by.
The following is somewhat complicated, but we are still going to explain it here so that it is clear. You probably won’t even notice that data has been removed.
There are many levels of granularity in the exception data that you see in Hoptoad. At the core there is an error. The error has a bunch of details, like a backtrace, a hash containing the rack environment, parameters, and others. In Hoptoad, many errors get binned together into a group based on their similarity.
Currently, we store all groups and their errors forever, and we delete error details after a month. Thirty days from now, on May 15, we will start deleting errors as well, however you will always know that errors occurred because the group will still be available. In fact, you will still be able to see the error message and class, the file and line number, controller and action, rails environment, and when it occurred last, even after the more granular data is deleted. We will keep error data depending on your plan level:
|Egg (Free plan)||5 days|
|Heroku Basic||14 days|
|Heroku Plus||21 days|
We will also start allowing SSL to all paid plans. We believe that SSL is no longer a luxury, so if you are on a paid plan you can enjoy encrypted content, and therefore pqIow DPdFsZiAH Jfz$Wz Bf0jsf08 apijRALPHqaROCKSfw# qWEfqw4#%gG $^b!4t.
We will roll out the data time limits a month from now, but SSL is available to paid plans as of right now.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience while we migrated our environment. We look forward to continue improving the service.
Yesterday, we pulled the trigger on our new datacenter for Hoptoad. The good news is that the response times are half to a third as long as they were previously, so on that front it was exactly what we wanted. We’re currently pushing arount 50000 requests per minute according to NewRelic RPM, and we’re responding to them in an average of 33ms.
The bad news, unfortunately, is that the data migration did not go according to plan. Because of a synchronization issue, some people were able to errors from other people’s accounts for about an hour and a half.
Because of the amount of data coupled with the rate at which new data was incoming, we found that the only option we could take was to wipe out the details. This did two things: reset the synchronization and it prevented people from seeing unauthorized data.
The data we removed were the details for errors (that is, the backtrace, params, session, and rack environment; the unix ENV is not sent). The errors themselves are still in Hoptoad, but ones that arrived between approximately 4:30pm and 11:30pm Eastern will not have details along with them. Any new errors you get for those same problems will contain the full data.
We apologize greatly for any inconvenience this has caused, and our offer to refund a month of service still stands. To claim your refund, or to report any issue whatsoever that may have arisen because of this migration, please visit our help site and we’ll help as soon as we can.