Today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced AWS Lambda Extensions, a new way to run code in parallel with your Lambda functions without being bound by the Lambda lifecycle. This will open up a variety of new options for add-on and companion processes for AWS Lambda. To coincide with this release, New Relic is integrating with the Extensions API for a new installation process that will make monitoring your AWS Lambda functions even easier.

"Hundreds of thousands of customers use AWS Lambda to run their applications—all they need to do is supply the code,” says Dhruv Sood, Sr. Product Manager, AWS Lambda, Amazon Web Services, Inc. "The New Relic extension now provides these customers with a simple instrumentation experience which makes it even easier for them to automatically get insights into the performance of their applications."

This improved instrumentation and data reporting pathway is available for all current users of New Relic’s Full-Stack Observability. Those currently using Lambda monitoring also don’t need to update their configuration, and future installations of New Relic’s Lambda monitoring should be even easier with this process.

AWS Lambda logo

Value of using AWS’s built-in observability tools with New Relic

Previously we sent data from our observability agent to Amazon CloudWatch, and then used a separate collection Lambda function to send the data from Amazon CloudWatch Logs to New Relic. The required log subscriptions (and log ingestion function) added some install overhead as additional permissions were required. 

With Extensions, a companion process on the Lambda function can report data itself, without a multi-step process for reporting telemetry. In the near future, we’re exploring what new measurements are possible from a running extension to give users even more insight into their function’s performance, enhancing what CloudWatch already reports.

A recent survey of serverless developers shows the value of a hybrid strategy using AWS’s built-in observability tools with New Relic. In the survey from users of Serverless Framework, “debugging” is listed as the number one challenge for new developers, well ahead of scaling and reliability. That’s part of the reason it’s key to have a strategy when adopting serverless to ensure your team can analyze problems. Since developers no longer have control over their code’s execution environment, external observability tools are critical.

New Relic, AWS X-Ray, and Lambda Extensions

Far and away the most used observability tool for serverless environments is AWS X-Ray, which helps developers analyze and debug production and distributed applications, such as those built using a microservices architecture. New Relic’s recently added AWS X-ray integration allows users to see AWS X-Ray traces as part of a complete picture of their serverless performance.

With the introduction of New Relic’s integration with AWS Lambda Extensions, engineers can see performance data and invocation details on every single invocation of their functions, with X-Ray and other broad-scope data brought in via the Amazon CloudWatch API.

Our installation guides have been updated to reflect the new process. To keep abreast of new changes from New Relic and AWS, join our user Slack community to work directly with our product team.

New Relic is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner with AWS Competencies in Containers, DevOps, Migration, Mobile, Government, and Retail.