BliBli is a rapidly growing e-commerce site developed specifically to encourage online shopping in Indonesia. It has grown rapidly since its founding in 2011 by offering products and services targeted to its local markets and investing in technologies that deliver a superior customer experience.

Continually improving the customer experience is among the highest priorities for the company’s IT department. “Our main focus is customer satisfaction,” says William Chewardy, principal lead performance engineer at BliBli. “It is essential that we offer all our customers a secure, efficient, and highly satisfying shopping experience. That means delivering a stable, high-performance infrastructure that can scale at the pace the business grows.”

To meet that objective, BliBli has been adopting modern IT best practices and technologies. It adopted a container approach, using Docker and Kubernetes, and shifted its entire IT infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Observability a key requirement for microservices

The adoption of new IT practices presented a number of challenges, Chewardy says. “In 2015, we moved from a monolithic architecture to one based on microservices, and today we have around 350 microservices, which creates a complex environment to manage. To support so many services, observability is critical for us. If incidents occur that interfere with our website performance or transaction systems, we need to be able to identify the root cause quickly. Any change, for better or worse, in the customer experience will show up in our conversion rates, so the metrics we track on application performance are very critical to us.”

BliBli’s solution for observability is New Relic. The company employs the full range of products that comprise the New Relic One platform to provide observability across all systems, including the development environment, customer-facing websites, and e-commerce applications. Because New Relic One unifies all telemetry data in a single platform, it gives BliBli a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand picture of everything happening throughout its complex ecosystem of applications and services. Specifically, it proactively pinpoints issues before they become problems, by quickly identifying relevant relationships among growing collections of observability data.

Prior to adopting New Relic, BliBli used Prometheus for event monitoring and alerting, but it was neither as comprehensive as New Relic in the breadth of data it collected nor as easy to use.

The impact of New Relic has positively affected multiple operational areas within BliBli, Chewardy says.

In software development, New Relic addresses one of IT management’s chief concerns: deploying new features and functions in the timeliest manner to enhance the customer experience. “The pace of software deployment makes it challenging to track the performance of all applications, understand if they are performing as expected, and deliver the quality experience we want our customers to have,” says Chewardy. “The seamless integration of New Relic with our Docker and Kubernetes environment provides valuable, detailed information that makes our software development more efficient and effective.” 

As an example, he said, “for a major deployment involving many services, it’s difficult to verify the application behavior post-deployment. It can take hours to simulate different loads and analyze the results. With New Relic, we can record and monitor deployments easily. Using deployment markers, it’s easy to correlate the deployment to critical performance metrics. We can verify deployment performance in under one hour.”  

During the migration from on-premises infrastructure to GCP, BliBli used New Relic to perform load testing for each service as it was migrated, to identify any degradation in service availability or performance. “New Relic’s detailed performance data makes it easier for us to analyze the migration process and show progress,” Chewardy says. Post-migration, BliBli uses New Relic to optimize cloud resource usage and control costs. Chewardy indicates that after two months, costs were reduced by about 30%. 

“New Relic’s detailed performance data makes it easier for us to analyze the [cloud] migration process and show progress.”

William Chewardy Principal Lead Performance Engineer, BliBli

Supporting corporate goals through end-to-end observability

According to Chewardy, New Relic plays a key role in helping BliBli tightly integrate its corporate objectives with its IT processes. “We set service level objectives for all aspects of our operations, from both internal and customer perspectives,” he says. Examples include webpage load times, the number of times a specific feature or function is used, how often shopping carts are abandoned, and uptake rates for new functionality on e-commerce sites.  New Relic monitors metric thresholds and when they are reached, notifies IT managers who can then use New Relic data to diagnose the source of the problem.

Chewardy cites one particular instance where New Relic played a critical role in improving availability and performance: “One of our critical backend services went down,” he says. “New Relic identified a memory problem, and when it occurred, that allowed us to go back and see what software changes had been made around that time. We reverted back to the previous code, used New Relic to simulate the changes and identified what needed to be fixed. At the same time, New Relic made suggestions on how we could better optimize the performance of that code, giving us double the benefit.”

“New Relic tracks every aspect of our software environment, on a single platform.”

William Chewardy Principal Lead Performance Engineer, BliBli

New Relic accelerates successful rollout of new services

New Relic gave the BliBli team the confidence to introduce a complex new payment service called BliBli Wallet. “This was a very challenging product, because it consisted of 15 different services, all of which were new,” says Chewardy. “This created a complex ecosystem with multiple dependencies. New Relic helped us track how everything flowed and all the interdependencies. It made it very easy for us to understand how the services were performing and where we had to focus our attention.”

New Relic’s comprehensive observability platform also plays a major role in the success of a home-grown application called PEDAS (for “performance dashboard”). PEDAS is a single dashboard that simplifies the process of monitoring the performance of the company’s 350 microservices.  With the end-to-end visibility and monitoring provided by New Relic, software engineers can set metrics for generating alerts about potential problems.

PEDAS is used not only by software engineers, but also by product managers who want to know how customers are using specific features and functions, and by quality assurance teams who closely track all aspects of the customer experience. 

Chewardy summarizes three key benefits provided by New Relic:

  • Single pane of glass: “New Relic tracks every aspect of our software environment, on a single platform. We don’t have to worry about integrating multiple monitoring tools or overlooking critical components.”
  • Ease of use: “New Relic reports are so easy to understand that whenever there is an issue, it’s very clear what and where it is. That reduces time to resolution and potentially avoids a big hit on the quality of our customer experience.”
  • Timeliness: “With New Relic, you can observe your key performance indicators almost in real time. You’re not waiting days or weeks to learn if there is a problem. You learn what you need to know when you need to know it.”

“New Relic reports are so easy to understand that whenever there is an issue, it’s very clear what and where it is.”

William Chewardy Principal Lead Performance Engineer, BliBli