The web is home to a plethora of webpage uptime and performance monitoring, all bringing something special to the table. The majority of which also offer a completely free of charge option, so as a webmaster there’s really no excuse to not monitor your website offering. As there are so many services out there, it can be difficult to choose which one to use.
Hopefully on the back of this post, you’ll understand why I decided to go with New Relic for monitoring my servers and sites. New relic is a software analytics company that started out life as an Application Monitoring service back in 2008, founded by Lew Cirne. Headquartered in San Francisco, California with offices in Portland, OR, Seattle, WA and Dublin, Ireland.
Rather then detail all about the New Relic organisation check out this infographic
New Relic is not just your average site monitoring solution, it actually gives you access to full application statistics in real-time. Which can prove invaluable when trying to track down your site/application/servers bottleneck. Not only do you have easy access to site dashboards, allowing a ‘at a glance’ view of your application and servers performance – you also get in depth transaction and cross application tracing facilities. Whats more, as most web developers are busy people, New Relic offers email alerting, meaning you don’t have to (unless you want to) sit and watch the dashboards and reports until there’s an issue. A true ‘setup and forget’ solution for those on the go.
What also sets New Relic worlds apart from some other solutions, is it’s ability to monitor not just PHP web applications but its more than capable of monitoring Ruby, Python, Java, .Net and Node.JS – and as if that wasn’t enough to sway your decision, the New Relic site also details 108 additional plugins you can use to tie into just about anything you can think of!
A first look at the graphically intense and powerful dashboards suggests that implementing the applets could be something that only computer scientists should even attempt.
Well – this isn’t the case at all, in fact using the quick and simple instructions means I was up and running in less than 3 minutes. With insight into my site and servers bottlenecks was immediately available. What’s more the extent I can drill down into is outstanding, and is really helping getting to the bottom of even the tiniest of code issues.
In depth analysis
Once the applet was implemented, the depth of analysis soon became invaluable. The dashboard and reports break down the applications response time into categories, making it easy to spot which part of the service is proving the slowest and where you should focus your time. Too long have I spent hunting down bugs and bottle necks in code only to find the issue lied with the configuration or resource stack of the server the site was hosted on. Now, using New Relics I can make more informed decisions of what to focus on first.
Not only does the New Relic system highlight potential issues with your site/application, it also highlights the most time-consuming external services that your site connects to.
As you can see from the chart above, none of my external services give me much to worry about.
On top of the Application monitoring facilities, the server-side monitoring can also prove invaluable. Monitoring CPU, Network, Disk and Memory usage closely makes it easy to spot potential CPU and Memory hogs.
Whats more – the applet and tool set is so powerful, it even allows drill down to the SQL statement level.. Which is fantastic for optimising SQL statement calls in your code.
Despite the fact I had simply signed up for a free monitoring solution for my not for profit blog site, within days I had a call from a member of the New Relic team. Now, when Peter Barr from the Dublin office, first made contact, I immediately presumed the worst – I’d mistakenly expected it to become a sales call, to shift me onto a paid for package.. However, this couldn’t have been much further from the truth, Peter was extremely helpful and informative and provided me with lots of tips on how to get the best from the service.
New Relic has 200k users and seemingly even the small blog sites receive the same VIP treatment as their premium subscribers. Something which is truly refreshing.
Check out this dashboard & feature tour video to see what you are missing should you choose another application monitoring solution.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have access to an iOS device you can grab a copy of the New Relic iOS app from the iTunes AppStore
The implementation is flawless, and is so simple I was literally able to complete it whilst eating my tea.. The site and the iOS application is pleasing to the eye. The reports produced are detailed and the drill down ability is going to save me literally hours of head scratching. In light of all of this, I could give New Relics no other rating then 5 out of 5!