Introducing Key Transactions: Bringing Enterprise Class Features to Every Developer

By Posted in New Relic News, Product Updates, Top Post 16 October 2012

Since New Relic’s start, we’ve worked tirelessly to capture the power of traditional APM, improve upon it and make it available to the masses as an easy-to-use SaaS offering.

And although we’ve helped more than 25,000+ customers monitor and optimize their websites, we’re far from being done! Today we not only launched a major redesign of our user interface, we continued our tradition of bringing enterprise class features to every developer by introducing our Key Transactions feature.

Small Volume, Big Impact
Traditional APM solutions typically look at the application as a whole. They report on the aggregate performance and errors of all transactions. But not all transactions are created equal; sometimes the most important functions of your website are the ones that aren’t heavily trafficked.

For example, New Relic’s own SaaS application sees hundreds of thousands of transactions every hour (i.e. APIs, graphs, page views, etc.). But of those, only a fraction represent new signups to our service — a capability we obviously care very deeply about. When looking at our application holistically, our registration functionality could be slow or entirely broken, and yet the performance degradation would be lost in the noise of the rest of the application traffic.

For this reason, we created Key Transactions — a new way to identify those important business transactions you want to monitor and manage regardless of the overall application throughput.

How It Works
Identifying a Key Transaction is quite simple. With just a couple of clicks, you can track the most important transactions in your business and make sure they are performing well compared to their historical norm.

First, find the relevant web transaction in your application and click Track as Key Transaction.

Setting Up Your Key Transactions

Then give the Key Transaction a name. If you like, you can also fine tune the suggested alert thresholds we proposed based on historical performance.

Key Transactions: Suggested Alert Settings

Once that’s done, you’re tracking that Key Transaction! You’ll receive alerts when the transaction deviates from its normal behavior.

Other Goodies
But that’s not all we’ve done. With Key Transactions, we’ve also brought over our super useful SLA reports and App Map, which allows you to report on and visualize transaction specific data.

For the SLA report, you can see daily and weekly breakdowns of page views, requests, response times, and Apdex scores for each of your Key Transactions.

SLA Report for Key Transactions

If you want to visualize the flow of data and performance of an individual transaction, check out the Transaction Map. There we show you the performance of databases, external calls, web transactions, and even end user performance — all specific to an individual Key Transaction.

Transaction Map

In addition, we provide a nice overview of each Key Transaction modeled on the application overview that’s part of our new UI overhaul.

Feature Support
Key Transactions are available to any of our New Relic Pro subscribers. If you’re a New Relic Lite or Standard customer and want to try it out, just contact our sales team and we’d be happy to let you test drive it for a while.

There’s one other thing I should mention. Although Key Transactions are available to all New Relic Pro subscribers, you must have a compatible agent to get all the capabilities of this feature. As of today, our Java and .NET agent support Key Transactions alerting. We will be releasing updates to our PHP, Python and Ruby agents very soon to support Key Transaction alerting as well.

Even if your agent doesn’t support Key Transaction alerting yet, you should still identify your Key Transactions and review the data (especially the SLA reports) on a regular basis. As soon as you’ve upgraded to a compatible agent, you will begin to receive alerts on those existing Key Transactions.

Wrapping Up
We’re truly excited about today’s release for a host of reasons. We improved upon an already highly acclaimed user interface. With Key Transactions we’ve taken a feature traditionally reserved for clunky, on-premise enterprise solutions and made it available to all developers!

But what’s most exciting for us is that our 25,000+ customers can now track their most important business transactions much more accurately and aggressively! Key Transactions gives them the edge they need to run a high performance website. We KNOW that all our users (ourselves included!) will find immediate value from it.

Check out this video to see Key Transactions in, well action!

About the author

plightbody@newrelic.com'Patrick Lightbody is VP of product management at New Relic. Now based in Portland, Oregon, Patrick has started two companies in the SaaS monitoring space.

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