New Relic APM Review

We can run it in production on all of our nodes without a performance hit. I would like, however, some way to disable data scrubbing manually.


Valuable Features

  • Real-time transaction monitoring.
  • Seeing a failure from somewhere in the system that you do not have deep-level access to.
  • Instantly being able to drill down. For various reasons, developers rarely have access to the production environment. So instead of three days of back and forth with approvals to gain access to the system, we have instantaneous insight into these systems.
  • If there was a silver bullet, it tells us in real, actual time where time was spent. We can run it in production on all of our nodes without a performance hit. It doesn’t impact the end user.

Improvements to My Organization

Short turn-time to resolution is essential. It’s the flashlight to the core of an issue in a production environment that everyone may have missed in development, QA, and implementation.

So basically it allows the business to more efficiently spend its money rather than in QA. The faster you can identify these question marks and find answers, the faster we can solve the problem, and the quicker we can solve the problem. We can focus on net new value.

Room for Improvement

The new Insight stuff is pretty exciting, so that’s interesting to some of our clients. Some way to disable data scrubbing manually would be a big feature.

Use of Solution

We’ve been in production for five years.

Stability Issues

Never had an issue.

Scalability Issues

Again, no problems, but I've never run it at a site that is truly a top-100 site. We know there is some overhead, but nothing Google-scale.

The cost of the solution is high on a per-node licensing scheme and that’s the prohibitive factor, but in terms of the actual scalability there are no issues.

The licensing fee for a single node can be comparable in price to running that node, certainly in the modern cloud world.

Customer Service and Technical Support

We haven’t had an opportunity/need to use it.

Previous Solutions

The solution we were using before was cobbled together from a mixture of sources, various monitoring solutions. None of them really offered the visibility of the overall health of the application. They’re all sort of looking at unrelated data points and we were left to infer what was happening.

New Relic understands the common tools you’re using; they had the first player advantage, plus the kind of nailed everything else. When they first released APM for Ruby there was nothing else like it, and there was barely anything else like it for any other tech stack. When they first hit market they were fundamentally different and better.

New Relic “hides” all of the stuff that is less valuable and lets the good stuff bubble up which lets you focus on that rather than anything else. A huge part of it has been the lack of having to do any app configuration to get started.

Initial Setup

Incredibly straightforward. Procurement is the hard part.

Other Solutions Considered

Dynatrace came up in conversations, but not really. Solarwinds also.

New Relic is the first thing we bring up. When the vendor is aligned with the rest of the development community around the technologies. They have nice trial periods, month-to-month, which does make it easy. We are looking for solutions that allow us to say with a straight face to our clients that they work and they’re safe.

Other Advice

They didn’t rake us over the coals to start extracting value, and there's no lock-in. We got really fast results times and it's a pleasure to work with. A growing suite of tools that work together, New Relic is going after bringing solutions to a contiguous set of needs. It’s a win for the clients, and it’s a safe bet for the future.

Understand whether you’re using a SaaS; the organization needs to be warm to the solution. Put together a PoC to show the value of the product – put it in a dev environment and start feeding it data to be able to understand the value of it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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