Ruby on Rails Performance Options Grow

Code alone isn't enough to make Ruby fast -- sometimes you need a little help.

Just because a developer can produce code quickly doesn't necessarily make the code run fast.

That's where new tools from vendors FiveRuns and New Relic come in. They ensure rapid delivery through its Ruby on Rails (RoR) performance profiling tools.

Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a popular open source development framework because it enables rapid application development.

The new performance management and profiling tools are important additions to the RoR development community as RoR moves from being a hobbyist development language to a bona fide enterprise development framework.

"The RoR market is more than ready for anything that gives them visibility into their applications, whether that be on the developer's desktop or the running production application," Bill Lapcevic vice president for business development at New Relic, told

"We find that people are actively seeking such tools and need tools that are simple to understand and use. No question that the market needs assistance understanding how their application is working in both development and production."

New Relic's tool is called Rails Performance Manager (RPM) and became generally available this week. New Relic has a partnership with RoR hosting vendor Engine Yard, which provides RPM to their customers as well as on a software as a service, or SaaS TERM (define), model.

Competitor FiveRuns has a pair of tools, one called Manage 2.0, the other called TuneUp, which is now in beta.

Dean Cruse, vice president of marketing at FiveRuns, explained that TuneUp is a free tool for Rails application profiling and performance tuning. Though TuneUp itself will help a developer optimize an application, FiveRuns is adding a community collaborative layer to the process as well.

TuneUp users can also directly post their application profiling issue into a new forum to get community support and make suggestions on how to further improve their RoR development.

"The idea there is that the Ruby on Rails community is smart and opinionated," Cruse told "We want to take advantage of that and provide an opportunity for focused collaboration and community input."

The Manage 2.0 platform is all about monitoring Rails apps in production. Cruse noted that it also goes a step further than Rails, as Manage 2.0 also monitors the rest of the infrastructure a RoR application is running on.

"When a site is running slower it might be a problem with Rails, but it could be a database issue, a memory issue or something like that," Cruse said.

According to Cruse, the wider management capabilities give FiveRuns a competitive edge against New Relic. New Relic's Lapcevic, however, recognizes FiveRuns as a competitor though he's got bigger fish to fry.

"We know they [FiveRuns] have been in the market for over a year and have customers, but I believe strongly the real competition comes from ensuring that Ruby on Rails is much more widely adopted," Lapcevic said. "This is about growing the pie for everyone. The more people developing on Ruby on Rails, the better in our opinion."

FiveRuns' Cruse does also see a growing pie coming from both startups that choose RoR as well as companies looking to migrate from Java to Rails.

"Right now it's mostly startups, but we are seeing increasing levels of adoption in enterprise," Cruse said.

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