New Relic’s App Speed Index Turns Data Volume into Value

by   |   June 26, 2012 4:23 pm   |   1 Comments


New Relic found value in its data and created the App Speed Index, which allows companies to benchmark their web app’s performance against competitors.

Application performance management company New Relic collects 3.75 terabytes of data from the more than 540,000 web app instances it tracks every day. The company tracks more than 55 billion performance metrics from its 25,000 active subscriber accounts, and calls itself “the largest big data repository for application performance metrics ever built.”

Tuesday the company launched its App Speed Index as a free add on for its customers, built on the data it collects, allowing them to benchmark their own web app’s end-to-end speed against competitors through colorful visualizations and a publicly posted leaderboard.

“We’ve got a big data store here, and that’s pretty exciting for us,” said Bill Hodak, New Relic’s director of product marketing. “This is the first time where we’re taking our big data and turning it into actionable insights our customers can’t get anywhere else. We want to leverage this data for our customers to help them have more insight into their applications so they can have more insights.”

New Relic specializes in tracking the speed and performance of web applications and pages. If an application crashes, New Relic’s software can isolate down to the line of code where the error occurred. Companies subscribe to New Relic’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) to see how well their web applications are reaching customers.

The App Speed Index separates the thousands of apps New Relic measures into peer groups, like SaaS for business-to-business, e-commerce, mobile apps, games and social networking. New Relic customers that have opted in to the index can see how their app is performing against other companies same group, showing overall delivery speed and how that ranks in terms of a percentile against competitors.

Hodak said the initial peer groups are intentionally broad, and after feedback will be narrowed down. Right now there is no direct apples-to-apples comparison for apps other than pure speed. The App Speed Index will be available as a free add-on for New Relic’s three subscription tiers: Free, Standard ($25/month) and Pro ($149/month per host).

“For the first time ever, there is a physical and backed number that says this is how fast your app needs to be in order to meet your customers’ expectations,” Hodak said. “[Customers] are always doing a benchmark against you, whether you realize it or not.”

Julie Craig, the research director for applications at Enterprise Management Associates, said New Relic is on the leading edge of a new trend. Now that business processes like application performance management have moved from in-house to the cloud, companies like New Relic that provide the cloud service are in a position to derive new value from the data they are collecting.

“I see this as a kind of a harbinger of a whole new way of looking at the data,” Craig said. “It’s an idea that’s starting to catch on in the industry, but until very recently a lot of that data hasn’t really been available. If I’m housing my performance info behind the firewall, I have access to it but I have no idea what is behind my competitors’ firewall.”

Craig said that through things like the App Speed Index, competitors are “showing each other their cards” but the promise of performance fine tuning by comparing and contracting is worth it.

“In our industry, things are just moving so fast, and … the value of data is just skyrocketing,” she said.

Chris Kelly, a developer at New Relic, said the company will update the “living infographic” leaderboard every day from its data. New Relic uses MySQL and a Java collector in its back end, and runs its site with Ruby on Rails, he said.

Kelly said as New Relic continues to collect and benchmark data, it will grow into developing best practices suggests for apps, or a template for optimal performance on different engines.

“We want to be the source of technical information on performance, and hopefully users can extract the data they need and ignore the data they don’t,” he said.

New Relic was founded in 2008, and is based in San Francisco. It’s CEO and founder, Lew Cirne, created on-premise application management for Wily Technology, which was acquired by CA Technologies in 2006.

Email Staff Writer Ian B. Murphy at


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