On Thursday, March 12, we held our first New Relic User Group meeting in Atlanta, Ga. The event capped off an exciting three days at DevNexus, the professional developers conference being held in town. We had a healthy turnout—more than 40 people joined us for talks by New Relic’s Ken Ahrens and Mike Hammond as well as a lively presentation by Vince Veselosky and Chris DiGanci from Cox Media Group.

On the trustworthiness of beards

user group speaker Ken Ahrens

Ken Ahrens of New Relic

Our MC for the evening, enterprise sales rep Greg Featsent, began by surveying the audience to gauge their experience with New Relic: about 70% had used at least one New Relic product, 5% had used more than one product, and five people were using New Relic Insights. We also discovered that 16 of the attendees had come directly from the DevNexus event.

After a clever joke about the “trustworthiness of beards,” bearded technical account manager Ken Ahrens gave an overview of New Relic APM, explaining the UI and highlighting features like transaction tracing and Apdex. Ken discussed New Relic’s shift from purely focusing on APM to the broader field of software analytics, and explained how products like New Relic Browser and various plugins can be used to improve your business intelligence.

Talking ’bout a revolution

user group speakers Vince Veselosky and Chris DiGanci, Cox Media Group

Vince Veselosky and Chris DiGanci of Cox Media Group

Next, New Relic user “rock stars” Vince Veselosky and Chris DiGanci shared how their team at Cox Media Group (CMG) uses New Relic to keep their Web properties humming. As a media company with over 80 different digital properties, performance during peak traffic is critical for the company. According to Chris, CMG’s traffic can spike up to 10 times the normal load within 10 minutes. To maximize performance, the team leans on New Relic APM and New Relic Synthetics. They pay special attention to the transaction page and look for error rates and a healthy Apdex score, using alerts to stay on top of potential problems.

New Relic in Action at Cox Media

Click to view Vince’s presentations slides online at Slideshare.

“It’s natural to think about New Relic in terms of performance. After all, the name of the game is ‘Application Performance Management,’” Vince told the crowd during his presentation. “But for me, as an architect and product manager, New Relic is about something else—it’s about scale.” He explained how, especially with an online news site, “It only takes one event—a shooting or a tornado or a snowpocalypse—to change the usage profile of our websites dramatically. When I say dramatically, I’m talking about an order of magnitude increase in traffic in just a matter of minutes.”

Such immediate changes in site traffic can quickly reveal weaknesses in your application that you might not otherwise have noticed, but both Vince and Chris described the introduction of New Relic to CMG as “a revolution.” Before implementing New Relic, CMG didn’t have a comprehensive strategy to monitor performance. Both agreed that New Relic has made a huge impact on their operations team, and they plan to get New Relic’s data in front of more product and executive staff.

Insight into Insights

Capping off the night, New Relic technical account manager Mike Hammond gave a quick overview of New Relic Insights by demonstrating how to monitor outside data using the Insights API. Mike used the user group’s Eventbrite data as his example, showing all registered attendees, what products they’re using, and their most common job titles. Adding custom events to Insights has proved very popular at our user group meetups because it helps the audience get a real feel for the product’s power and flexibility.

Our user group events are a great opportunity to meet and learn from other New Relic users in your area, hang with the New Relic team, and get answers to those lingering questions. If you’re in Atlanta, be sure to join our Atlanta New Relic User Group Meetup.com page and get notifications for future events.

Next up, we’re headed for Boston (Thurs., April 2) and Toronto (Tues., April 7)—if you’re in the area, please join us! (Click the city name to register for either event.)

Interested in speaking at our next event or setting up a New Relic User Group in your city? Drop us a note at community@newrelic.comNote: Event dates, speakers, and schedules are subject to change without notice.

 

Atlanta image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

Noelle Daley is a software engineer at New Relic.

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