Pivotal stands at the intersection of big data, platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and agile development. The company’s software empowers agile development teams to rapidly build, launch, and scale applications while storing, analyzing, and visualizing vast quantities of data across a distributed database architecture.

Pivotal is committed to open source and open standards. The company’s portfolio includes Cloud Foundry, Hadoop, Greenplum, GemFire, SQLFire, HAWQ, Spring, Redis, RabbitMQ, and tc Server, among many other technologies. Pivotal also sells a commercial distribution of the Cloud Foundry software called Pivotal CF for on-premise and private PaaS customers.

Keeping the business running, no matter what

For many companies, application performance is synonymous with business performance. The reason is simple: applications serve as the foundation for how companies serve their customers, connect to their suppliers, and compete in today’s economy. “We have one customer that generates 12 billion dollars through its web and mobile applications alone,” says Al Sargent, director of product marketing at Pivotal. “If one of those applications goes down, it’s no longer the kind of event where you notify the director of IT. You notify the CEO, maybe even the whole board. The stakes are just that high. That’s why it’s enormously important for our customers’ applications to be available and performing at any scale, at any hour of the day or night.”

Integrating technologies for optimal performance

Before becoming a New Relic partner, Pivotal was already relying on New Relic to monitor its own applications with impressive results (see sidebar). The company wanted to extend those same capabilities to its own customers, enabling anyone to use New Relic when running applications on top of Cloud Foundry. “New Relic offers exactly what our customers need in terms of monitoring,” says Sargent. “It’s cloudnative, works at scale, frees developers from the need to create their own monitoring infrastructure, and gives operating teams the information necessary to find and fix problems quickly.”

Today, Pivotal sells a commercial distribution of Cloud Foundry, which they also offer as an on-demand PaaS called Pivotal Web Services (PWS), a Heroku-like offering that uses Amazon Web Services as the underlying infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Through the PWS add-on services marketplace, users can single sign-on through the Pivotal Web Services console and add New Relic monitoring for any running application hosted on PWS. No additional downloads, installations, or configurations are necessary as the instrumentation and configuration logic for New Relic are included in the Java buildpack for Cloud Foundry.

With New Relic, Pivotal customers can identify code-level bottlenecks across a wide range of technologies. They can even add plugins to monitor Java code in Groovy or Grails, check queue depth in RabbitMQ, or accelerate cluster performance in Redis. “Our goal is to give customers the tools they need to effectively build and scale reliable apps,” says Nima Badiey, head of business development and ecosystems partnerships for Cloud Foundry. “The partnership between Pivotal and New Relic plays a crucial role in meeting that goal, day in and day out.”

“We don’t need to keep solving the application monitoring problem again and again, because that problem has already been solved. Instead, we can focus on building the best possible product.”

Nima Badiey Head of Business Development and Ecosystems Partnerships for Cloud Foundry, Pivotal

Enabling agile development in complex environments

By combining Cloud Foundry with New Relic, Pivotal can deliver a user experience that is push-button simple—and endlessly adaptable to new environments. “We love New Relic because it just works,” says Badiey. “That mantra has been extended to the apps hosted on our Cloud Foundry platform, in particular Java apps. Users can turn on New Relic, instrument their SaaS application, and start generating meaningful data right away. Our users get this functionality out of the box so they can focus their efforts on building the best possible product.”

New Relic also makes it possible for Pivotal to monitor and improve their own applications, including the hosted Cloud Foundry service, which is comprised of several idempotent applications working in concert to provide an application services platform. “We’re often delivering updates and new features to the Pivotal Web portal on a daily basis”, says Matt Parker, associate director at Pivotal Labs. “Once a feature is accepted, we need to get it into production quickly, then adjust on the fly. That requires real-time data to demonstrate what’s working and what isn’t. And with New Relic, we actually have the information we need to turn on features incrementally, which simply wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”