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Why New Relic

Simple deployment, immediate insight

  • Minimized time to resolution, significantly improving productivity
  • Provided in-depth, real-time data for measuring the user experience in innovative ways
  • Enabled Tango to make more informed business decisions in less time

Tango Achieves Greater Agility Across Complex Global Environment with New Relic

Founded in 2009, Tango is a mobile messaging service that combines video, text, and social gaming capabilities on a single cross-platform application. The company caters to more than 200 million registered users around the world, offering versions in 14 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Turkish. Tango’s headquarters are in Silicon Valley, with additional offices in Beijing and Austin.

An environment fueled by the cloud

Tango runs the majority of its infrastructure from a data center in Santa Clara, California, scaling to meet global demand with help from Amazon CloudFront and a variety of other cloud services.

Limited visibility into server-side performance

Real-time service is essential to Tango’s success. When users make a video call, they expect an instant connection. Otherwise they’ll be tempted to try one of the numerous competitors in the crowded mobile messaging space.

Despite all that competition, however, Tango maintains a truly unique offering—and faces some unique challenges as a result. With an unusually wide range of capabilities, from photo sharing to social gaming, the company supports both synchronous and asynchronous services across 212 countries on a complex heterogeneous infrastructure.“When users connect with Tango, they’re often connecting across very different types of networks,” says Guy Fighel, Director of Engineering at Tango. “Some people are on 3G. Others are on 4G, and still others are on Wi-Fi. With so many variables in play, it can be very challenging to get a clear view of performance from the member’s perspective.”

Prior to New Relic, Tango relied on custom feedback logs to monitor performance. That approach was helpful in identifying client-side issues, but provided very little insight into performance on the back end. “We rely on multiple cloud providers around the world,” says Fighel. “As a result, we often have difficulty identifying the source of serverside issues. That’s problematic for a simple reason: if we can’t troubleshoot quickly, we can’t deploy quickly.”

With developers pushing a new version of the Tango app into production every three to four weeks—and with backend changes being deployed almost every day— the company needed the right tools to support an agile development environment. “We began looking for a better way to monitor performance across a complex system,” says Fighel.

“New Relic is giving us data that we simply didn’t have before, lending greater analytical insight into users’ behaviors. That helps us make better decisions.”

Eric Setton Co-Founder and CTO, Tango

Simple deployment yields real-time view of backend performance

After evaluating multiple vendors, Tango settled on New Relic because of its simplicity. “This software is easy to set up, and it’s easy to use,” says Fighel. “When we did our initial evaluation, it took us about a day to deploy New Relic in production and get comfortable with it.

Within a week, we were able to test it on all of our applications. And by the end of the first month, we’d achieved deployment across our entire production environment.”

Today, the New Relic dashboard plays a key role in Tango’s approach to DevOps. Each team is responsible for managing a specific set of alerts, and all alerts are integrated with PagerDuty software for fast notification of the appropriate team members. “We’ve divided up the alerts according to people’s specializations, and everyone knows what they’re responsible for,” says Fighel. “If a developer receives an alert, he or she simply needs to look at the New Relic dashboard to identify the root of the problem.”

For the first time, the Tango team has a real-time view of backend performance. Instead of relying on data analysis—which can require an hour to prepare, let alone execute—developers gain instant perspective on the current state of the Tango environment. “New Relic helps us troubleshoot, of course, but it also helps us plan for capacity deployments,” says Eric Setton, Co-Founder and CTO of Tango. “That’s because we have sharper visibility into the hotspots that might benefit from a little more infrastructure. New Relic has even improved our understanding of the Tango product by helping us analyze patterns of user behavior, especially across different geographies.”

With New Relic Mobile, the Tango team can track the performance of its applications on iOS and Android. “Like everything else in New Relic, the simplicity of the mobile monitoring solution is key to its effectiveness,” says Fighel. “For example, the mobile dashboard is essentially the same as the web dashboard, so our team was comfortable with it from the get-go. We didn’t have to skip a beat.”

The open, extensible New Relic Platform enables the Tango team to integrate multiple applications and services within a single pane of glass. “Besides integrating PagerDuty into our New Relic solution, we’ve also added plugins like Nginx,” says Fighel. “That way, we have total visibility into many system components, all presented in one go-to dashboard.”

For Fighel, the combination of robust technology, simple design, and flexible APIs make New Relic the obvious choice for monitoring web and mobile applications. “I would definitely recommend New Relic,” he says. “You get fast implementation and first-class documentation. It’s easy to instrument your own code. It’s easy to gain insight into every aspect of your environment. It’s just easy, period.”

“I would definitely recommend New Relic. You get fast implementation and first-class documentation. It’s easy to instrument your own code. It’s easy to gain insight into every aspect of your environment. It’s just easy, period.”

Guy Fighel Director of Engineering, Tango

More metrics enable more agile approach to development

New Relic reduces time to resolution, significantly improving productivity. “Before New Relic, most of our troubleshooting was handled by just one team,” says Fighel.

“Now, however, we can quickly determine the source of a problem and assign it to the right team for resolution. That way, issues can be addressed by the people best qualified to address them.”

Tango is also able to measure the user experience in entirely new ways. “With 200 million users and growing, we can’t rely on anecdotes to get the full picture,” says Setton. “We need metrics. New Relic is giving us data that we simple didn’t have before, lending greater analytical insight into users’ behaviors. That helps us make better decisions.”

Since deploying New Relic, the Tango team has been able to pursue a more agile approach to development. “We release a lot of new features all the time,” says Fighel. “To keep surprises to a minimum, we begin by deploying each feature to a fraction of our user base, then grow from there. New Relic helps us identify issues that might be emerging during our progressive rollouts. The result is greater agility all around.”

By relying on web and mobile APM to intelligently monitor a complex environment, the Tango team is able to focus less on troubleshooting and more on what they do best. “We’ve found a great solution to help us monitor our system, plan for future capacity, and analyze traffic patterns for the development and optimization of new features and services,” says Setton. “By investing in smart tools like New Relic, we’ve maintained leadership in a crowded market. I’m confident that this technology will play a key role in keeping Tango on the right track.”

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