If you’re familiar with the New Relic platform, you’ve probably heard about the latest addition to the family: New Relic Radar. This offering is the first incarnation of New Relic Applied Intelligence (NRAI), which aims to make finding anomalies in your systems easier than ever. But because everyone and their mother is furiously adding “artificial intelligence” to their products, it’s important to clarify how Radar is different and, more important, how this is actually useful.

“Applied Intelligence” vs. “Artificial Intelligence”

First off, why do we say “Applied Intelligence” instead of “Artificial Intelligence”? Simple. Because artificial intelligence means absolutely nothing. For years this term has been thrown around haphazardly, promising consumers human-like robot assistants straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

But for every one one of these:

There are a dozen of these:

Not surprisingly, consumers—not to mention software developers, DevOps practitioners, site reliability engineers, and just about everyone else—have become jaded by the term.

That’s why New Relic isn’t promising an automated DevOps engineer who serves up amusing Easter-egg one-liners. We’re instead taking the massive corpus of data we help you collect from your systems, and running smart algorithms and advanced math at scale to derive insights about things that are different than your normal.

You did a deployment and a new error appeared? That’s probably something you care about. Sure it might be fun to drop a “Hey, Lewbot! How’s my application stack doing?” but New Relic engineers would rather spend their time actually solving the problems that matter rather than distracting you with gimmicks.

What does Radar actually do?

As we said, New Relic Radar is just one aspect of NRAI, a collection of powerful algorithms designed to glean insights about your applications and infrastructure. From Radar’s view you can see everything from week-over-week slowdowns in a given application to potential disk space outages in the future. It’s the place you go to find out what’s interesting in your systems, even if you didn’t know exactly what you were looking for to begin with.

NRAI is broader than that, though. While Radar is useful on its own, we wanted to do more than put these nuggets of gold into an isolated UI. Just like New Relic Insights, even more power is unlocked when we use this technology to enhance New Relic’s curated product views in New Relic APM, New Relic Browser, and New Relic Infrastructure.

NRAI algorithms (from true machine learning to down-home engineering common sense) are already sprinkled throughout our core products in features like Baseline Alerting and APM Error Profiles. The “Analytics Everywhere” spawned in New Relic Insights is now being replicated with the idea of “Intelligence Everywhere.”

How does Radar compare to New Relic Insights?

Radar and Insights are similar in that they both are enhancements of our core products designed to mine the raw data from your systems. But New Relic Insights is designed to make it easy to interrogate your data, while Radar is focused on helping direct your deep-dive explorations.

To put it simply, New Relic Insights is a place you can go and ask detailed, custom questions about your data. Radar is where you go to figure out what questions you should be asking. Even more simply: Insights is a shovel, Radar is a map. And the fact your developer fat-fingered a deploy that took down your payment workflow at 2 a.m last night is the treasure.

Nothing to install or configure

Radar is currently in limited release, but should soon be available broadly for all. You won’t need to install anything new, tweak any configurations, or even really think about it (you already collect the data in New Relic, and that’s kind of the point). We sincerely hope that your life is made at least a little bit easier with this pragmatic, seamless implementation of applied intelligence!

Adam Larson is a senior technical marketing engineer at New Relic. View posts by .

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