Ansarada hails rapid diagnosis success with New Relic

Business Challenge

A success story since its inception in 2005, Ansarada has experienced consistently high growth rates throughout the years. From the initial success of its virtual data room product, Ansarada recognised the increased risk placed on companies due to the growing volume and complexity of information. Its Information Governance platform extends beyond virtual data rooms and incorporates a range of features and functionality that allows businesses to identify and manage risk, protect and control information, securely collaborate, and objectively scorecard individuals and information against best practices. 

Its platform offers a seamless and risk-free experience to multiple participants involved in mergers and acquisitions, fund and capital raising, asset management, boards, audits, and other highly confidential matters.

Companies such as BHP, VMWare, Virgin, BPAY, Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Credit Suisse rely on Ansarada to ensure their sensitive deals and Information are dealt with in an environment with the utmost security and reliability. In these high-pressure environments, any lag, delay, or downtime—even for a few seconds—in system performance is detrimental to Ansarada.

To maintain the robustness of its platform, Ansarada has undergone various levels of cloud migration on its journey to the cloud, with New Relic instrumental in slashing the time to detect and fix issues to an average of just 30 minutes— a 90% improvement on mean time to recovery (MTTR).

The company initially did a ‘lift and shift’ into the cloud with AWS before opting for a fully automated approach. It then addressed cloud native issues, starting by using S3 storage and then moving into serverless and eventually a multi-cloud, multi-region play.

Around the time of COVID-19, Ansarada wanted to identify cost efficiencies, including transparency into cloud spend. 

The company realised that while its ability to respond to and fix issues was quite good, it had to improve the time taken to detect and understand tech issues, because too much time was being spent in diagnosis, says Ansarada DevOps Lead, Daniel Tan.

Another challenge was trying to instill a DevOps culture in the team, Tan says. His focus was to help staff overcome the fear associated with deployment, particularly as the company moved to a SaaS model.

"Since hitting a level of competency at Ansarada across our DevOps practices, we have implemented tooling to help us report on the four key DevOps metrics that are outlined in the book “Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations”: deployment frequency, lead time for changes, time to restore service, and change failure rate. As outlined in the book, high performance in these categories is correlated with better organisational outcomes.

"We acknowledged that the most effective way to improve on these metrics would be to push these insights as far left in the development process as possible, so that teams had the information they needed to take action and improve," Tan says.
To be successful, Ansarada needed to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Provide insights on a team level, across multiple repositories and languages
  • Provide insights across multiple workflow tools and CI server
  • Integrate into a tool that teams are familiar with and have access to

Ansarada decided to use New Relic’s Telemetry Data Platform, where custom data pertaining to these metrics were passed. Teams can now keep an eye on how they are tracking against the four DevOps metrics and drill down into any areas that need attention. “This has been a big help when it came to diagnosis,” Tan says.

"Any sort of downtime is not acceptable, because our customers are extraordinarily time-pressured—we can’t tolerate an outage at the wrong time. This is why we’ve put much importance on things like rapid diagnosis ability and recovery, and why New Relic is such a vital partner."

"The use of distributed tracing was a really big help in that space, as well as correlation IDs both across the applications and the flow, because we're under a microservices architecture. But then translating into our same solutions that we use in logic, we actually replicated those correlation IDs across the full suite. So we really had a full picture of how to dive deep into an app, and pinpoint an issue that is across a largely distributed system," Tan explains. "So that really allowed us to drive down the time to actually diagnose problems in the first place and then effectively fix them."

New Relic assisted Ansarada with Terraform (an open-source infrastructure-as-code software tool), scripts for Synthetics, dashboarding, and alerting. New Relic also helped break down monolithic infrastructure into microservices, he adds.

Using New Relic, Ansarada has cut detection, diagnosis, and fixing time dramatically—representing an 90% improvement on MTTR. 

"Any sort of downtime is not acceptable, because our customers are extraordinarily time-pressured—we can’t tolerate an outage at the wrong time. This is why we’ve put much importance on things like rapid diagnosis ability and recovery, and why New Relic is such a vital partner," Tan says.

Ansarada strives to keep “very up to date” with its technology by using the latest tools and methods, he says. New Relic is always able to keep pace with this and help Ansarada remain current in a very fast-moving market. It has also been a great support to Ansarada’s DevOps culture.

"All of Ansarada’s tooling is set to make sure it goes to production, and they have to consciously turn it off. That has set a precedent for developers that if something’s deploying from day one, you never have to go through that cultural process of trying to convince someone that they’ve got enough test coverage and that they can deploy to production because they’ve done it from day one," Tan says.

"New Relic really ensures that we’ve got an eye on everything, that we have deployment markers down and performance is tracking over time. It’s been with us all along the journey, and it’s an integral tool for us," Tan says.