What is New Relic?
Who uses New Relic?
New Relic Integrations
Why developers like New Relic?
Here are some stack decisions, common use cases and reviews by companies and developers who chose New Relic in their tech stack.
Back in 2014, I was given an opportunity to re-architect SmartZip Analytics platform, and flagship product: SmartTargeting. This is a SaaS software helping real estate professionals keeping up with their prospects and leads in a given neighborhood/territory, finding out (thanks to predictive analytics) who's the most likely to list/sell their home, and running cross-channel marketing automation against them: direct mail, online ads, email... The company also does provide Data APIs to Enterprise customers.
I had inherited years and years of technical debt and I knew things had to change radically. The first enabler to this was to make use of the cloud and go with AWS, so we would stop re-inventing the wheel, and build around managed/scalable services.
For the SaaS product, we kept on working with Rails as this was what my team had the most knowledge in. We've however broken up the monolith and decoupled the front-end application from the backend thanks to the use of Rails API so we'd get independently scalable micro-services from now on.
Our various applications could now be deployed using AWS Elastic Beanstalk so we wouldn't waste any more efforts writing time-consuming Capistrano deployment scripts for instance. Combined with Docker so our application would run within its own container, independently from the underlying host configuration.
Storage-wise, we went with Amazon S3 and ditched any pre-existing local or network storage people used to deal with in our legacy systems. On the database side: Amazon RDS / MySQL initially. Ultimately migrated to Amazon RDS for Aurora / MySQL when it got released. Once again, here you need a managed service your cloud provider handles for you.
Future improvements / technology decisions included:
Caching: Amazon ElastiCache / Memcached CDN: Amazon CloudFront Systems Integration: Segment / Zapier Data-warehousing: Amazon Redshift BI: Amazon Quicksight / Superset Search: Elasticsearch / Amazon Elasticsearch Service / Algolia Monitoring: New Relic
As our usage grows, patterns changed, and/or our business needs evolved, my role as Engineering Manager then Director of Engineering was also to ensure my team kept on learning and innovating, while delivering on business value.
One of these innovations was to get ourselves into Serverless : Adopting AWS Lambda was a big step forward. At the time, only available for Node.js (Not Ruby ) but a great way to handle cost efficiency, unpredictable traffic, sudden bursts of traffic... Ultimately you want the whole chain of services involved in a call to be serverless, and that's when we've started leveraging Amazon DynamoDB on these projects so they'd be fully scalable.
I've used more and more of New Relic Insights here in my work at Kong. New Relic Insights is a "time series event database as a service" with a super-easy API for inserting custom events, and a flexible query language for building visualization widgets and dashboards.
I'm a big fan of New Relic Insights when I have data I know I need to analyze, but perhaps I'm not exactly sure how I want to analyze it in the future. For example, at Kong we recently wanted to get some understanding of our open source community's activity on our GitHub repos. I was able to quickly configure GitHub to send webhooks to Zapier , which in turn posted the JSON to New Relic Insights.
Insights is schema-less and configuration-less - just start posting JSON key value pairs, then start querying your data.
Within minutes, data was flowing from GitHub to Insights, and I was building widgets on my Insights dashboard to help my colleagues visualize the activity of our open source community.
#GitHubAnalytics #OpenSourceCommunityAnalytics #CommunityAnalytics #RepoAnalytics
Regarding Continuous Integration - we've started with something very easy to set up - CircleCI , but with time we're adding more & more complex pipelines - we use Jenkins to configure & run those. It's much more effort, but at some point we had to pay for the flexibility we expected. Our source code version control is Git (which probably doesn't require a rationale these days) and we keep repos in GitHub - since the very beginning & we never considered moving out. Our primary monitoring these days is in New Relic (Ruby & SPA apps) and AppSignal (Elixir apps) - we're considering unifying it in New Relic , but this will require some improvements in Elixir app observability. For error reporting we use Sentry (a very popular choice in this class) & we collect our distributed logs using Logentries (to avoid semi-manual handling here).
Which #APM / #Infrastructure #Monitoring solution to use?
The 2 major players in that space are New Relic and Datadog Both are very comparable in terms of pricing, capabilities (Datadog recently introduced APM as well).
In our use case, keeping the number of tools minimal was a major selection criteria.
As we were already using #NewRelic, my recommendation was to move to the pro tier so we would benefit from advanced APM features, synthetics, mobile & infrastructure monitoring. And gain 360 degree view of our infrastructure.
Few things I liked about New Relic: - Mobile App and push notificatin - Ease of setting up new alerts - Being notified via email and push notifications without requiring another alerting 3rd party solution
I've certainly seen use cases where NewRelic can also be used as an input data source for Datadog. Therefore depending on your use case, it might also be worth evaluating a joint usage of both solutions.
We currently monitor performance with the following tools:
- Heroku Metrics: our main app is Hosted on Heroku, so it is the best place to get quick server metrics like memory usage, load averages, or response times.
- Good old New Relic for detailed general metrics, including transaction times.
- Skylight for more specific Rails
Controller#actiontransaction times. Navigating those timings is much better than with New Relic, as you get a clear full breakdown of everything that happens for a given request.
Skylight offers better Rails performance insights, so why use New Relic? Because it does frontend monitoring, while Skylight doesn't. Now that we have a separate frontend app though, our frontend engineers are looking into more specialized frontend monitoring solutions.
Finally, if one of our apps go down, Pingdom alerts us on Slack and texts some of us.
We monitor and troubleshoot our app's performance using New Relic, which gives us a great view into each type of request that hits our servers. It also gives us a nice weekly summary of error rates and response times so that we know how well we've done in the past week. New Relic
New Relic's Features
- Performance Data Retention
- Real-User Response Time, Throughput, & Breakdown by Layer
- App Response Time, Throughput, & Breakdown by Component
- App Availability Monitoring, Alerting, and Notification
- Automatic Application Topology Mapping
- Server Resource and Availability Monitoring
- Error Detection, Alerting, & Analysis
- JVM Performance Analyzer
- Database Call Response Time & Throughput
- Performance Data API Access
- Code Level Diagnostics, Transaction Tracing, & Stack Trace Details
- Slow SQL and SQL Performance Details
- Real-User Breakdown by Web Page, Browser, & Geography
- Track Individual Key Transactions
- Mobile Features- Alerting, Summary Data, Overview Page, Topo Map, HTTP Requests, HTTP Error Summary, HTTP Error Detail, Versions, Carriers, Devices, Geo Map