Mondia Media speeds up product development and data analysis
In the beginning, Hamburg, Germany-based Mondia Media distributed handsets in conjunction with Internet contracts under the name “handy.de”. That was back in 1999. Fast-forward more than 15 years, and the Mondia Media of today is a leader in the global B2B digital entertainment market with services in more than 100 countries and outposts in Dubai, Johannesburg, Madrid, Rome, and São Paulo. With customers ranging from major telecom operators and hardware manufacturers to media companies and broadcasters, Mondia Media manages, distributes, and bills its wide-ranging portfolio of entertainment content from a single backend platform—worldwide to any device.
Obtaining a single—actionable—view of platform performance
Mondia Entertainment Universe, and through it Mondia Media’s customers, have unlocked more than €350 million in revenue. Without the platform, the company would be hard-pressed to deliver on its two-pronged goal of ensuring the commercial success of its business partners and the best possible user experience for consumers. With it, Mondia Media has a fully convergent all-in-one solution that has enabled it to deploy new services quickly and keep its clients ahead of their markets.
That platform, however, is only as good as the performance of the content and services delivered over it, and Mondia Media has long depended on cutting-edge technology to ensure that it’s able to meet service-level agreements (SLAs) and respond quickly to customer requests. Over the years, that has meant acquiring a variety of monitoring tools as the environment evolved. Thomas Langer, head of R&D at Mondia Media, explains the situation as follows: “At Mondia Media, we have SLAs that dictate response times, performance, memory utilization, and more—making it essential for us to be able to measure this data. In the past, however, we collected most of this information from a variety of access logs. Although we could see how much time a single request was taking, we couldn’t dig down into the details. Most of the time, the data was simply not there at the spots where you needed it to analyze performance.”
For Thorsten Lüdtke, vice president of IT operations and IT service management at Mondia Media, the equation was simple: “We were wasting an unbelievable amount of time on problem analysis because we couldn’t identify where problems were originating. We had too many data sources. We wanted everything aggregated into a single solution, so we could react quickly and provide a significantly better user experience.”
While Mondia Media had employed other analytical systems in the past, New Relic quickly became the frontrunner in the search for a new solution—in part because of its support for multiple development languages. Explains Langer, “We had started pursuing development with technologies beyond Java—including Node.js—and New Relic offered a comprehensive tooling platform that other vendors simply could not match.”
Once the team put New Relic to test with a trial, Langer’s views were confirmed. ”New Relic won us over completely,” says Lüdtke. “Here, we had finally found a way to identify performance problems quickly and proactively, and then correct them. What’s more, we could also identify complications during development—which meant eliminating them before rollout.”
Today, Mondia Media has deployed New Relic in approximately 400 hosts spread among its data centers in Hamburg, Gütersloh, and Tampa in an environment that is 98% virtualized. Pre-installed in every new function or service that Mondia Media introduces, New Relic has enabled the company to identify how an application performs in every phase of its lifecycle— from development through launch and beyond. At the root of it all is the performance analysis provided by New Relic application performance monitoring (APM). “We have many backend services—such as transaction data and response times— which we need to monitor to make sure that we’re hitting key performance indicators [KPIs],” says Lüdtke. “With New Relic APM, we can access all of that data, see where the problems are, address them, and then aggregate the information in monthly reports that we distribute to customers.”
The company also relies on New Relic APM to send out automatic alerts when pre-established thresholds are not met. Thanks to New Relic’s mobile app, the IT operations team can now respond to those alerts and carry out error analyses wherever they are—no web log-in is required. And finally, because Mondia Media realizes that its business customers are only as satisfied as the consumers who access their content, it also uses browser monitoring to monitor end-user experience. Says Langer, “The interplay between New Relic APM and New Relic Browser is really great, because we can see how a request comes into the browser. If there are performance problems, we can go further down and check on the particular services where the problems are based.”
Better performance, happier customers, faster delivery of new services
With the big-picture view provided by New Relic, Mondia Media can finally see beyond performance glitches to the problems underlying them—often eliminating bugs before customers report them. Says Langer, “Thanks to New Relic, we’re no longer limited to seeing that a particular call is taking a long time. We can now ask, Is it the database? Is it a memory problem? As a result, we’re able to find bugs faster and respond quicker—making us several percentage points faster in the problem-analysis stage than we were in the pre-New Relic days.”
Also key to the satisfaction of both B2B customers and consumers is the rapid delivery of high-performing new products and services. New Relic contributes to this significantly by enabling Mondia to carry out performance tests while services are being developed—a big change from the prior environment. “Before the introduction of New Relic, we would start developing functions and services, and it wasn’t until everything was pretty much finished that we ran various tests to see how load performance had changed or was functioning,” says Langer. “Now with New Relic, most of this process can take place during development. This goes a long way toward speeding product development and ensuring bug-free deployment.”
For Langer, the road ahead is clear: “My goal is for New Relic to become a daily tool for all of Mondia Media—a tool that people look to first thing every morning to see if anything needs their attention.” Lüdtke agrees, pointing to his own use of New Relic as an example of that evolution. “I have the dashboard permanently up on my monitor. Plus, we have the alerting system running on a 24/7 basis. New Relic will only become more critical as time passes.”