Whether a customer’s motor vehicle force (its fleet) consists of thousands of commercial vehicles or just a handful, Fleet Complete’s mission is the same: to help fleet-owning businesses thrive. The company does this by using Internet of Things (IoT) devices to collect and transmit operation-critical data from vehicles, assets, and mobile workforces (AKA telematics) to provide insights into everything from vehicle health to driver behaviour and more.
Today, Fleet Complete is the fastest-growing telematics provider in the world, serving more than 500,000 subscribers and 35,000 businesses in 17 countries while experiencing tenfold growth over the last several years.
Not content to rest on its laurels, Fleet Complete plans to continue this rapid expansion well into the future, aiming to grow the business by another factor of 10 over the next decade. Doing so, however, will require an enormous amount of data, since the more fleet information the company can collect, the more value (in terms of insights) it can deliver to customers.
Explains Fleet Complete Chief Technology Officer Alan Fong, “It’s not just about collecting data; it’s about layering that data to provide the best insights to customers. When you start layering different types of data (such as GPS data, vehicle health, and more), you can figure out all sorts of things—like how driving behaviour affects vehicle brake pads, or how potholes (and the speed at which they are encountered) affect vehicle components and life span.”
To process this massive influx of data (much of it stemming from the company’s spate of acquisitions), Fleet Complete built a data-ingestion pipeline, which it initially ran from its data center. It quickly became clear, however, that an on-premise solution simply could not keep pace with the growing number of data points the company was collecting (currently around a billion a day). For that, Fleet Complete needed the massive scalability that only a cloud-based platform could provide.
AWS cloud and New Relic monitoring: A seamless partnering of solutions
Charged with migrating Fleet Complete’s technology platform to the cloud as quickly and as efficiently as possible, Fong turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its cloud platform and to New Relic for the application and infrastructure monitoring that would facilitate the move to the cloud and ensure seamless performance across all systems going forward.
For Fong, the choice of AWS was an easy one. “From prior experience, I understood the breadth of the AWS tools and the global presence of the AWS platform,” he says. “AWS would allow us to use machine learning and artificial intelligence models atop our own IP to improve the information we deliver to customers. Choosing AWS was a no-brainer.”
Getting a single, holistic view into the performance of Fleet Complete’s cloud-based platform, however, proved slightly more difficult due to the complexity of an environment that had grown through acquisition and contained a multitude of disparate systems. While Fleet Complete took a hard look at both the monitoring solutions that were already in place and some that were new to the company, New Relic emerged as the clear winner in proof-of-concept testing.
Explains Fleet Complete Architect Muhamad Samji, “New Relic gave us all the insights we needed—both globally and into the different pieces of our distributed application. For example, we can see what’s going on with the host as well as what’s happening with all the applications that reside on that host. So instead of a closed-off view that only reveals that an app is running slowly, New Relic provides visibility straight through to the host, so that we can understand why that app is running slowly. In addition, as we move data across our distributed system, New Relic enables us to see where bottlenecks are occurring as we call from service to service.”
New Relic’s tight integration with AWS, its support for the breadth of tools that Fleet Complete employs (including Kubernetes for microservices), and its ability to display all of the analytics data in a single, customizable dashboard (viewable by the entire organization) further strengthened Fleet Complete’s decision to select New Relic.
Facilitating a swift migration to the cloud
A year after Fleet Complete began its migration to the cloud, 60% of its environments have been shifted to AWS—a swift transition that New Relic played a huge part in facilitating.
Explains Fong, “We didn’t want to disrupt the business as we migrated to the cloud, so having New Relic APM and New Relic Infrastructure monitoring installed across both our on-premise and cloud environments was crucial to the process.”
Samji agrees: “Being able to load-test on-prem and then use New Relic to ensure that we’re hitting those same numbers in the cloud (and not creating any hidden bottlenecks) has been key to our smooth and swift migration.”
New Relic has also helped Fleet Complete understand AWS usage, allowing the DevOps team to take the Amazon-provided Cost Explorer list of underutilized servers, and then use New Relic to see what’s actually going on in those servers so the company can make optimal use of them.
For Fleet Complete Principal Architect Jeff Hobeck, the seamless way in which New Relic works with AWS has been the icing on the cake. “We can see the AWS information we need in New Relic, and it involves very little setup. It’s almost like New Relic is native to AWS.”