While the company had used various monitoring tools in the past—including New Relic Synthetics to periodically verify that the system was operating and healthy—the process was more of an afterthought. And the stack itself was extremely opaque, meaning no one really understood how the system was operating end-to-end.
Erdmann explains, “When we were on the previous solution, we had monitoring, but it was secondary. It wasn't part of our practice, and it certainly wasn't intentional architecture. So, when we began re-platforming Morningstar.com, we knew that we wanted to instrument everything so that we could understand our application from top to bottom.”
As the front door to the company’s offerings, Morningstar.com consumes data, tools, and services not just from other parts of Morningstar, but also from third-party services—which means that although a problem might be surfaced by a Morningstar.com user, it could originate much further upstream.
“New Relic was attractive to us because organizationally we have a very mixed environment,” says Gregory. “Our team is on the cloud, but not all parts of the company are, and we need that institutional knowledge. For that reason, it’s very important that we can plug our monitoring into—and get visibility out of—whatever kind of platform our colleagues and partners are using.”
Using New Relic, the Morningstar.com team can visualize, trace, and alert on their Lambda functions, and drill down to the invocation level for fast debugging when something isn’t behaving as expected. However, with an environment that includes a mix of applications, runtimes, and business APIs, Morningstar.com needed visibility across the entire ecosystem—not just the serverless components.
“One of the huge successes of this re-platforming—and one of the reasons we’re doubling down on our relationship with New Relic company wide—is that now we have a big monitor displaying everything that's happening at Morningstar.com,” says Erdmann. “If there’s a blip in performance, we can tell within seconds where it’s coming from—a huge turnaround from a year-and-a-half ago when it would have taken days, if not weeks, to determine the root of the problem. Now we can tell immediately when the ground starts to shift.”