Phusion white papers Phusion overview

Phusion Blog

Starting Union Station beta phase 2, reopening registrations

By Hongli Lai on April 26th, 2011

Union Station is our state-of-the-art web application performance monitoring and behavior analysis service. It is currently in public beta, which started on March 2. You can follow us on Twitter through @unionstationapp.

We’ve been in beta for little over a month now, and during that period in time, we’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to receive a lot of valuable feedback from our beta testers. As of today we are entering the next phase of the beta. Previous beta accounts have been removed, and all people are once again given a chance again to register. This is necessary due to some changes we’ve made to the terms of service (in particular the ability for beta testers to opt-in for announcements like these via email pertaining to Union Station) as well as a new offering in plans. Like last time there is a registration limit.

During the last beta a number of people have requested an account. These people were put on a waiting list. When the registration limit has been reached we’ll manually register as many people on this waiting list, as well as people who have given us feedback during the first beta, as we can.

Please note that the Terms of Service are still a work in progress and may be subject to changes in the near future, and that Union Station is still in beta.

New account plans

After having gained a better idea of our resource requirements we have been working on refining our offerings accordingly. In particular, we’ve decided to deprecate the Hobby plan in favor of buffing up the Startup plan in terms of retention time by doubling it from 7 to 14 days.

In place of the Hobby plan, we’ve introduced the Jumbo plan for the medium to large-sized sites, which allows up to 8 nodes.

Plans are still subject to change as we’re still in beta, but we believe we’ve found a much better balance with this new offering in terms of features and pricing.

Larger data retention time during the new beta

During the previous beta we capped data retention times for all plans to 7 days. During this phase of the beta however, we’re going to attempt to double that data retention time to 14 days to see how all the back-end changes hold up in the current situation.

UI polishes, bug fixes and features

We’ve fixed many of the bugs and UI quirks that users have reported. Some of the most important UI polishes and new features that we’ve introduced include:

  • HTTP response status codes are now logged as well. This requires Phusion Passenger 3.0.7 or later. The user interface highlights the requests for which the status code is not successful (i.e. in the 4xx-5xx range).
  • Requests with exceptions are now highlighted.
  • Requests now display all associated exceptions in a tab.
  • The Union Station filter language has been further improved.
  • Time range and active tab information are now saved. Previously, changing the tab would reset the viewed time range to the default value of “Past 30 minutes”. Clicking on another node would reset the active tab back to “Analysis”. The UI now remembers which time range you’ve chosen and which tab was active.
  • The ‘throughput’ chart has been revamped. It previously displayed requests per hour, but due to many reports about the unintuitiveness of the chart we’ve now changed it to display requests per minute.
  • We now work well with different time zones. We used to try to autodetect the user’s browser time zone through Javascript but this has proven to be far less reliable than we hoped it would be. We now store time zone information on the server and recalculate all dates according to the user’s preferred time zone. You can change your time zone on your user profile page.
  • Authorizing another user now works as expected. Previously when you wanted to authorize another person to view the data for your web app, that person must first register a Viewer account after which you can authorize his email address. This was a bit cumbersome and we’ve now streamlined the process by automatically sending that person an invitation email which allows him to sign up for a Viewer account immediately.