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Why New Relic

A wide variety of tools to provide relevant data during each stage of the company’s evolution

Highlights
  • New Relic reduces anxiety in a development environment that averages 2.5 deployments per day
  • New Relic boosts performance, helping drop response times below 100 milliseconds
  • The New Relic Platform offers one central interface for most statistics related to application performance
 

BeenVerified Evolves from Startup to Major Player During Five-Year Relationship with New Relic

BeenVerified delivers easy, affordable access to public records by aggregating all available information — including deeds, criminal records, and court documents — in an easy-to-use interface. The company offers a full range of web and mobile apps to help ensure that everyone has instant access to high-quality data on demand.

BeenVerified Evolves from Startup to Major Player During Five-Year Relationship with New Relic

BeenVerified delivers easy, affordable access to public records by aggregating all available information — including deeds, criminal records, and court documents — in an easy-to-use interface. The company offers a full range of web and mobile apps to help ensure that everyone has instant access to high-quality data on demand.

Environment

BeenVerified runs primarily on Ruby, with select applications using Java, C and PHP. For hosting, the company relies on a hybrid combination of bare-metal dedicated machines and the cloud.

“New Relic is our first line of defense when an issue arises. It gives us a bird’s-eye view, directing us to the places where a deeper dive is necessary. The Transaction Traces feature is especially helpful, because it shows us the five slowest transactions at any given moment. We no longer need to break out UNIX-level information or run a custom version of Ruby to trace those issues manually. We can get to the root of the problem right there in the New Relic console.”

Patrick Tulskie Senior Software Engineer, BeenVerified

Challenges

When BeenVerified opened for business in 2007, the company had no easy way to gauge site performance. “My email inbox was flooded with exception notifications,” says Senior Software Engineer (and ‘Minister of Magic’) Patrick Tulskie. “Like a lot of startups, we were totally focused on getting our product out the door. But we didn’t know if the engines were burning hot — we had almost no visibility into any of that. Sure, we could log into each machine to check the memory and CPU, but there was no centralized dashboard for overall performance of the app.”

“We have an aggressive development cycle. By seeing how the site performs immediately after a deployment, we feel more comfortable pushing code and deploying constantly. New Relic is a safety net that enables us to push a little harder, a little faster, without driving ourselves nuts.”

Jason Amster CTO, BeenVerified

Solution

One year later, New Relic came on the scene and BeenVerified didn’t hesitate to give the software a try. “We’ve been with New Relic since 2008,” says CTO Jason Amster. “From the very start, it gave us an obvious performance kick. Since then, both our product and the New Relic product have matured. New Relic offers a lot of different tools that, at one time or another, have met our needs at each stage in our evolution.”

Today, the BeenVerified team uses New Relic in a number of ways, gaining access to near real time metrics on error rates and response times — and eliminating the need for the endless email notifications that once filled Tulskie’s inbox. “New Relic is our first line of defense when an issue arises,” says Tulskie. “It gives us a bird’s eye view, directing us to the
places where a deeper dive is necessary. The Transaction Traces feature is especially helpful, because it shows us the five slowest transactions at any given moment. We no longer need to break out UNIX-level information or run a custom version of Ruby to trace those issues manually. We can get to the root of the problem right there in the New Relic console.” The

BeenVerified team runs an extraordinarily agile environment that relies on New Relic for visibility into every deployment. “We deploy an average of 2.5 times per day, including weekends and vacations,” says Amster. “Every time we do that, we have a New Relic screen up to make sure that nothing’s wrong with our memory, our Apdex score or our response times. We can compare the current deployment with past deployments to see if an issue emerged in a previous release, or built up
over time, or whatever the case may be.” Considering BeenVerified’s long history of success with New Relic, it should come as little surprise that the company was excited to check out the New Relic Platform. “New Relic approached me and asked if I wanted to try the Resque plugin, which allows me to see Resque metrics inside the New Relic interface,” says Tulskie. “I was immediately interested and also wanted to try the Redis plugin. Then I looked at the extensions page, and I got really excited, because there are so many plugins that we can use: SendGrid, the F5 load balancer, Memcached, MongoDB, nginx, Apache. For a long time I’ve been looking for onecentral place where I can throw all my statistics. I haven’t found it quite yet, but New Relic just came awfully close.”

“A lot of companies want to keep their product tight. But with this platform, New Relic shows that it wants to remain open and let users flesh things out. We know first-hand that people find ways to use our product in ways we couldn’t possibly predict. The key is to embrace that, promote it, and support it — and that’s exactly what New Relic is doing.”

Patrick Tulskie Senior Software Engineer, BeenVerified

Results

New Relic enhances productivity. “We have a term we like to use around here — the ‘meat cloud,’” says Amster. “That means using your fingers to figure out what’s going on. The less we’re in the meat cloud, the quicker we get things done. Back in the early days, we’d get a hit on traffic and we’d have no idea what caused the slowdown. All of us would scramble to find the problem. Now we spend far less time tracking down bugs based on vague hunches.”

New Relic reduces anxiety in a fast-paced, high pressure environment. “We have an aggressive development cycle,” says Amster. “By seeing how the site performs immediately after a deployment, we feel more comfortable pushing code and deploying constantly. New Relic is a safety net that enables us to push a little harder, a little faster, without driving ourselves nuts.”

New Relic boosts performance, playing a major role in helping the BeenVerified team achieve a significant acceleration in application performance. “Our response time recently hit a longtime goal of sub-100 milliseconds,” says Tulskie. “For months prior to that, New Relic showed us that we weren’t hitting that target. By using these tools to measure our progress and find the sources of any delay, we finally managed to make it happen.”

With the introduction of the New Relic Platform, BeenVerified sees even more reason to admire a product they’ve embraced since its inception.“A lot of companies want to keep their product tight,” says Amster. “But with this platform, New Relic shows that it is committed to an open environment and will let partners and users flesh things out by writing and/ or using plugins. We know first-hand that people find ways to use our product in ways we couldn’t possibly predict. The key is to embrace that, promote it and support it — and that’s exactly what New Relic is doing.”

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