Why New Relic

Delivers immediate insight into root causes of performance issues in a complex cloud and application delivery environment     

Highlights
  • Establishes dashboards across dozens of business indicators 
  • Delivers real-time monitoring during critical migrations
  • Enables consolidation and optimisation of infrastructure during period of rapid growth and acquisition
  • Supported Kubernetes cluster optimisation, resulting in a 71% cost reduction

Delivery Hero Scales Its Operations With the Visibility and Insight Provided by New Relic

Not too long ago, the available choices when ‘ordering out’ rarely extended beyond fast food delivery. Today, with the rise of app-based restaurant deliveries, it’s now easier than ever to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal without leaving home. Whether they’re looking for a quick bite on the go or simply want to avoid dinner-rush crowds, users of such services know that with just a few taps on their phone, a great meal will be on its way.

Delivery Hero is one company benefiting from this shift in consumer behaviour. Founded in Berlin in 2011, the online food ordering platform has grown astronomically, and is now the world’s largest service of its kind outside of China. With more than 250,000 restaurant partners, operating in more than 40 countries across Asia, Europe, Middle East and America, Delivery Hero processes more than 1.5 million orders per day.

‘When I joined in 2013, foodpanda, one of the many Delivery Hero brands, was doing a few hundred orders a day’, says Mathias Nitzsche, VP of engineering at Delivery Hero. ‘Today we’re doing hundred thousands of orders a day, still growing more than 100% a year.’ 

With that kind of growth, the ability to scale is everything. But to do that, Nitzsche and his team needed to see clearly into what was happening across their infrastructure and applications. 

‘For us, speed is not as important as scale, and scale is nothing without visibility’, he explains. ‘It is impossible to run a platform like ours without visibility.’

Today, Delivery Hero’s engineering organization has more than 1000 developers working across 15 platforms. Pandora, the internal name for their largest platform, powers foodpanda, foodora, and a few other brands. 

Meaningful visibility to inform business excellence

To get valuable insight into its business, Delivery Hero has relied on New Relic for several years. Having originally adopted New Relic to monitor application availability and performance, the company has since expanded its usage of the platform to monitor business-critical KPIs—from the number of restaurants requested per area, to orders per platform and country, to payment charge-back rates per payment provider, just to name a few. 

The Insights capability within the New Relic Platform is the most critical component, says Nitzsche, and all Delivery Hero teams rely on it daily to understand how their platforms are performing. With over 500 New Relic applications to oversee, Nitzsche says, ‘nobody has the time to look through an individual application in any detail’, so he uses Insights to make sense of those hundreds of applications. A few cross-application dashboards give him a high-level view of these applications and help him track business metrics like the number of orders processed globally and the number of errors found in their applications. 

‘Without Insights, our monitoring would be only half as useful. Insights is what makes New Relic beautiful’, he says.

And because Insights is connected to every product in the New Relic platform, engineers can stream and track data from New Relic APM, for deeper analysis, segmentation, and filtering within Insights.

New Relic provides both the narrow focus and broad overviews Nitzsche’s team needs. ‘We have more than one hundred dashboards created by engineers, QAs, and product managers, shown on many screens all over the office’, he says. These dashboards provide granular insight into a range of business indicators, displaying the information that matters most at any given time.

From monolith to microservices to DevOps

Unsurprisingly, the global Pandora IT infrastructure has undergone a tremendous transformation. To better accommodate the growth of their business, the team behind Pandora migrated their infrastructure from a monolithic platform to a microservices architecture running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

Not only did Nitzsche’s team use New Relic to monitor its microservices migration in real time, but it continues to use New Relic to monitor other migrations from new acquisitions, or migrations from various regional platforms to its global platform. For example, the company recently migrated its Finnish and Swedish applications to the global platform so the teams serving those countries could better leverage core Delivery Hero services like search, payments, and infrastructure. During such migrations and rollouts, it uses New Relic to monitor things like speed, number of requests and errors, and database queries. ‘You double the traffic in some of these rollouts, and you want to see how it behaves’, Nitzsche says. 

That original migration to microservices introduced a high level of complexity, however. Where there was once only one repository for the Pandora platform, Nitzsche’s team now manages hundreds of repositories spread across dozens of microservices running in their  Kubernetes clusters. 

And these changes in the platform meant changes for the teams as well. Today, Delivery Hero is a true DevOps company, split into cross-functional teams. Rather than being structured by IT functions, they’re structured according to the services they manage. For instance, there is a payment team, a checkout team, and a search and discovery team, among others. Each team oversees its own product design, its own frontend and backend development, and its own infrastructure resourcing.

This transformation has helped Delivery Hero scale the engineering teams, and as a result their DevOps culture has flourished, says Nitzsche. Now all teams are cross-functional and focused on the direct needs of the business. 

‘We conduct a lot of sessions to show what other teams are doing in terms of monitoring and looking past errors’, says Nitzsche. ‘We can then use that information to accelerate development processes and decision-making.’

His priority through 2020 is to massively increase the size of the engineering team to many hundreds of engineers. It is not just a numbers game, though; he needs engineers with the right mindset. Engineers need to use New Relic to create alerts and dashboards as they code, and not simply react when something breaks. Systematically operationalising the company’s data is vital in promoting a DevOps culture.

Eye-opening revelations

Insights has helped Delivery Hero connect technical metrics to cost optimisations. ‘Many tools provide a lot of technical telemetry’, Nitzsche says, ‘but New Relic can connect that with business metrics and costs.’

‘Many tools provide a lot of technical telemetry, but New Relic can connect that with business metrics and costs.’

Mathias Nitzsche VP of Engineering, Delivery Hero

Nitzsche says another huge benefit of New Relic is that it allows him to view the team’s infrastructure consumption and then use that data to optimise their environment. In fact, his biggest revelation came when he realised he could use New Relic to optimise the size of the Pandora Kubernetes cluster. 

Before using New Relic, it hadn’t been easy to say which applications consumed which cluster resources. For example, in July 2018, Pandora’s biggest app used 700,000 distributed compute units; but after monitoring it with New Relic, they optimised it to use only 200,000 units—that’s a 71% reduction in costly resources!

‘Without New Relic, we wouldn’t have known where to start’, Nitzsche says. ‘We now use less than half of the compute units we used a year ago. It was an eye-opener in terms of how much visibility we could get into our AWS consumption.’ 

‘Without New Relic, we wouldn’t have known where to start. We now use less than half of the compute units we used a year ago. It was an eye-opener in terms of how much visibility we could get into our AWS consumption.’

Mathias Nitzsche VP of Engineering, Delivery Hero

Learn more about Nitzsche’s key takeaways, in his own words: https://tech.deliveryhero.com/newrelic-tricks-we-wish-we-would-have-known/.

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