As advertised, last week’s Velocity Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., was all about “Web operations, performance, DevOps, optimization, and more.” And the final day of the conference certainly lived up to its billing—with a big assist from New Relic.

In addition to another packed set of Data Nerd Sessions at the New Relic booth, our own Patrick Lightbody gave a keynote presentation, while we had not one but two dueling presentations later in the day. Just as we did for Thursday’s events at Velocity, let’s take a look at some of Friday’s highlights.

The incredible importance of the “Burrito Button”

On the New Relic roster, Patrick’s talk on Great, You’re Now a Software Company. Now What? focused on how his new Apple Watch interacted with his love for burritos to dramatically change his behavior. Patrick told the crowd about how the new “Burrito Button” app nearly “melted his face off.” More important, the incredible convenience of the button caused him to abandon his local burrito cart in favor of instantly ordering from his wrist.

His point: “Every business is becoming a software business, even burrito companies.” And the developers, ops people, and app owners at Velocity “are at the frontiers of the burrito button, making sure it works and performs” the way users want and expect it to. “Users must have a delightful experience” Patrick said, and the only way to ensure that is to “watch what they do and act on that data.”

To that end, Patrick included a short history of monitoring, from servers and networks in the 80s and 90s to apps in the aughts and users today. The next step, he said, is to monitor how performance affects the business. After all, if users are happy, the come back and the business grows!

history of monitoring slide


Watch Patrick’s entire presentation below:

Open source culture

Of course, Patrick wasn’t the only Relic on stage Friday. Director of engineering Ralph Bodenner explained the secrets of changing the laws of engineering with pull requests. We’ll have much more on this topic soon, but the TL;DR version is that New Relic engineers found a way to leverage the Github pull-request process used in the management of software updates to also manage how our engineering teams work. That includes everything from coming up with titles for various engineering roles to managing change, setting goals, and documenting our processes. The idea, Ralph said, is to treat “culture as code” and try to “open-source our culture” so that we use the same workflow for the team as we do for code.

ralph bodenner presentation at Velocity Conference

Ralph Bodenner, director of engineering at New Relic


See Ralph’s presentation slides below:

Docker goes big

Meanwhile, in another room at the Santa Clara Convention Center, New Relic lead site reliability engineers Sean P. Kane and Karl Matthias talked about New Relic’s experience “Implementing Docker in Production at Scale.” New Relic has been delivering production apps via Docker containers for more than a year, significantly streamlining app delivery workflow from development through production. Sean and Karl explained the choices we made to implement a production Docker workflow, and demoed tools that we use to build Docker clusters in multiple data centers and monitor containers across those environments.

Click on the slide below to see Sean and Karl’s full presentation:

Karl Matthias presentation slide from Velocity Conference

See also: How New Relic Used Docker to Solve Thorny Deployment Issues

Data Nerds get up close and personal

In addition to these more formal presentations, our Data Nerd Sessions at the New Relic booth gave New Relic engineers—and customers—the chance to talk about important topics in smaller groups. Speakers included product manager Nate Heinrich on “Taking the Pain Out of Alerting,” director of engineering Nic Benders on “Tracking Deployments with New Relic,” and Michael Vo, founder and CEO of philanthropy platform we2o, on “We2o and New Relic Insights: Evolving the Way You Do Good.” Finally, to cap off the show, Karl Matthias showed up and said, “I’m a New Relic SRE—Ask Me Anything.”

A great way to end a great event!

See tweets from other Velocity attendees here.


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Fredric Paul (aka The Freditor) is Editor in Chief for New Relic. He's an award-winning writer, editor, and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite,, InformationWeek, CNET, Electronic Entertainment, PC World, and PC|Computing. His writing has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Omni, Conde Nast Traveler, and Newsweek, among other places. View posts by .

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