Why New Relic

Provides application performance, customer experience, and business metrics all from a single tool

  • Gave developers newfound visibility into how applications were performing in production
  • Improved customer experience by accelerating error identification and resolution
  • Reduced operating costs by using New Relic Insights to detect and block web crawlers

Despegar.com Empowers Developers to Build a Better Travel Site

Despegar.com is the largest online travel agency in Latin America, offering travelers in more than 21 countries a one-stop shop for planning and booking vacations and business trips. With access to exclusive offers from more than 150,000 hotels, 500 airlines, 70 car rental agencies, and thousands of tourist packages worldwide, customers can save both time and money by using Despegar services. Founded in 1999, the company now has offices in more than 20 countries with approximately 4,000 employees, of which roughly 500 make up the technology team.

Getting lost in a black box

Built in Java and hosted on the company’s own private cloud, Despegar’s applications are broken out by its individual product offerings, including hotels, flights, cars, packages, and more. But before the company started operating in the microservices model it does today, it previously managed one monolithic application. At that time, the company had multiple teams developing applications, while one small production team was responsible for deploying whatever was handed over from the dev teams.

“We realized that the problems that were caused by the developers couldn’t be resolved in a fast way by the support team,” says Mariano Cifre, development manager at Despegar.com. With dev and ops teams operating in silos, “the service we were giving to our customers was a black box for our developers,” says Nicolás Plá, IT manager at Despegar.com.

Putting developers in control

When the company decided to transition its applications from .NET to the Java language it uses today, the IT team brought in New Relic to help monitor the health of the applications during the migration. That’s when everyone realized that New Relic was just the solution they were looking for. “New Relic gave us the breadth and depth of visibility we needed to know what was going on in our applications,” says Plá.

Currently, Despegar uses New Relic APM in both its development and production environments. One of the features that they find particularly useful is Custom Dashboards, which allows users to create unique overviews that present data differently than New Relic does out of the box. The Despegar team is looking at dashboards containing throughput, error rate, business metrics, and more.

In addition to application performance, Despegar developers pay close attention to server performance using New Relic. “We want our developers to have access to the machines and live code that’s running their applications,” says Cifre. “That’s why we use New Relic to provide access to server and application performance all in one place. This gives our developers a comprehensive look at the health of their applications.” And having that comprehensive look is critical for a team that doesn’t have a separate QA team to catch problems before customers do.

Impressed by the custom metrics and views that New Relic APM provides, Despegar is also starting to test out New Relic Insights. “Insights allows us to take our analysis to the next level with real-time queries, which is great because I don’t have to think in advance about what data I want to gather and plot. It’s all readily available,” says Cifre.

“We want our users to have the best customer experience possible. Using New Relic to detect and fix errors quickly helps us deliver on that goal.”

Nicolás Plá IT manager, Despegar.com

Minimizing errors and unauthorized use of data

Since Despegar first started using New Relic in 2011, the company’s use of software analytics has grown to include the monitoring of more than 50 applications. “Those applications are sending software data to New Relic at 1,000 requests per minute,” says Cifre. “And even with all that traffic, New Relic never gives us a problem.”

Now Despegar’s developers can have ownership over their applications by knowing the exact impact their changes are having on the customer experience. “We want our users to have the best customer experience possible,” says Plá. “Using New Relic to detect and fix errors quickly helps us deliver on that goal.”

It’s not just performance problems that New Relic is detecting for Despegar, however; the New Relic platform is also helping identify unauthorized commercial use of Despegar data. “Using Insights, we’ve been able to find and block repeated IP addresses that are crawling our site to get referential information to build parallel websites,” explains Germán Kondolf, development manager at Despegar.com. “Being able to block those crawlers with Insights has helped reduce operating costs.”

The biggest benefit of New Relic, according to Cifre, is that all of this data is available from a single solution: “Whether it’s metrics to support our business team or performance data for our developers, New Relic provides all the insights we need from just one easy-to-use tool.”

“Whether it’s metrics to support our business team or performance data for our developers, New Relic provides all the insights we need from just one easy-to-use tool.”

Mariano Cifre Development manager, Despegar.com

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