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Why New Relic

Comprehensive insight into PHP-based application through a single pane of glass

  • Enabled developers to fix bugs in minutes rather than hours
  • Improved application response time by 50 percent after migration to PHP 5.5
  • Identified where to spend IT resources most effiectively as company expands globally Improves Application Response Time by 50% with Help from New Relic

Founded in 2004, is an online marketplace connecting businesses with professional voice talent. Radio and television stations, advertising agencies, and Fortune 500 companies rely on’s award-winning web and mobile applications to access a global network of 100,000 voiceover artists in more than 100 languages.

A Stack Built Entirely on PHP

The website is a PHP-based application built on the CodeIgniter framework and supported by a MySQL database management system. Rackspace manages the company’s servers.

Fast Customer Service for a Rapidly Growing User Base began with a simple idea scrawled on the back of a napkin. Ten years later, the company serves approximately 250,000 users worldwide, owing much of its success to a well-earned reputation for fast customer service. “Most projects are completed within 24 to 48 hours,” says David Ciccarelli, CEO and Co-Founder at “Our customers expect to see quick results, so application performance is absolutely critical.”

As the user base continued to expand around the world, the team needed increasingly robust tools to monitor performance. Rackspace, the company’s managed services provider, o!ered high-level server monitoring with no root-cause analysis. Similarly, Google Website Optimizer gave insight into mobile and desktop performance, but often failed to pinpoint the exact source of the problem. Meanwhile, a PHP-based solution from Zend required a proprietary server solution (based on open-source code) but in a semi-rigid configuration.

“We had to do something, because we were being far too reactive,” says Dave Redfern, IT Manager at “We received alerts when something went wrong, but we needed the ability to dig a little deeper.”

“New Relic throws the error directly up on the dashboard. We can go straight into it and investigate the stack trace, down to the line of code. And that translates into a huge cost savings in terms of our developer resources.”

Dave Redfern IT Manager,

Easy Deployment Yields Immediate Insights

When the IT team took a closer look at New Relic, they saw right away that it provided a level of visibility simply unmatched by other solutions. “A colleague set up a trial with New Relic while I was away on holiday,” says Redfern. “She said it took her only five or 10 minutes to get started, and she began receiving reports almost immediately. By the time I came back to the o"ce, she was sold on it and could not wait to demo it to me.”

The Transaction Traces feature is especially helpful for identifying issues that are transient or simply difficult to nail down. “Error logging can be helpful, but it only takes you so far—especially when you’re running on PHP,” says Redfern. “Transaction Traces helped us transition to PHP 5.5 by showing us where to refactor problematic code that was using deprecated function calls.”

With that level of insight in a single pane of glass, Voices. com can ensure closer alignment between developers and the operations team. “New Relic helps us pursue a true DevOps model,” says Redfern. “Any operations person would be thrilled to have this kind of fine-grain reporting at their disposal. We’re relying far less on hunches and anecdotes, because we can all look at the same data in real time.”

“New Relic makes my life and my job so much easier. I recommend it without reservation.”

Dave Redfern IT Manager,

Intelligently Scaling Resources for Global Expansion

With New Relic, can fix bugs in minutes rather than hours. “We no longer need to troll through log files, find an error, and replicate it,” says Redfern. “New Relic throws the error directly up on the dashboard. We can go straight into it and investigate the stack trace, down to the line of code. And that translates into a huge cost savings in terms of our developer resources.”

In one case, New Relic improved application response time by some 50 percent. When the team transitioned to PHP 5.5, they didn’t realize that the new version deprecated the APC Opcode Cache. New Relic alerted them to the problem, so they installed Zend OPcache instead. “Looking back at the history, you can see exactly when we turned the new OPcache on,” says Redfern. “It was like night and day.”

As continues to expand globally, New Relic is helping identify where the company can spend its IT resources most effiectively. “Using New Relic’s Real User Monitoring feature, we can see where users are coming from, the likely language, and identify valuable demographic trends,” says Ciccarelli. “We can also see where we’re experiencing the worst network latency. This solution is miles ahead of other products when it comes to that kind of geographic data.”

For Redfern, the value of New Relic becomes apparent when he tries to imagine its absence. “I cannot imagine doing anything without it,” he says. “New Relic makes my life and my job so much easier. And I can say that I recommend it without reservation.”

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