Case Study: BlackLine System’s Financial Services Clients Sail Through the Month-End Close Process with BlackLine & New Relic

BlackLine Systems logoFounded in 2001, BlackLine Systems provides enterprise-class software used to automate and control the financial close process. Headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices around the globe, the company delivers its application over the Internet through its BlackLine OnDemand Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering. Offering a secure, state-of-the-art, hosted solution, it provides all backups, disaster recovery, maintenance, support, and more. Both its application and Rackspace data center have gone through successful SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402 audits, giving its clients peace of minding knowing their data is safe and secure.

Month-end close is a critical time for all the company’s customers. As a service provider, BlackLine must have the uptime and high performance required to ensure its customers meet internal financial reporting requirements every month. It needes a very high level of reliability from its hosting provider and selected the Rackspace Critical Sites Service, which commits to 100% production platform uptime.

As a Rackspace customer, BlackLine was eligible for a free New Relic account. It started using New Relic in October of 2011, and in no time, BlackLine was getting information that simply hadn’t been available to them before. After three months of using New Relic, the BlackLine team had baseline information on their application’s performance characteristics. “The BlackLine application performance baseline tells us where to start,” says Nils Rurack, Senior Web Engineer at BlackLine Systems. “Knowing the average response time, that we are not stretching our servers is important to us and helps us measure the impact of our changes. With New Relic, we can verify and prove theories, pick the low hanging fruit and make incremental performance improvements.”

Since adding New Relic, BlackLine has seen solid improvement and a major positive impact for the tens of thousand of end users interacting with the BlackLine application each month. “BlackLine’s goal is to discover any problems and issues before the customer is aware of them,” adds Nils. “We want to eliminate customer frustration and to stay ahead of the curve. We want to know what’s going on in our application before our customer experience any impact. New Relic helps us do that. It heads us in the right direction, helps us prioritize and saves us time. New Relic helps us discover the things to work on to improve our performance, one step at a time.”

By using New Relic, BlackLine has been able to make even more incremental performance improvements over time. “Our Operations Department utilizes and leverages New Relic to communicate more effectively with other departments making it a lot faster and easier to troubleshoot, isolate and remedy issues for enhanced productivity,” comments Ed Ramon, Director of Infrastructure Operations at BlackLine. “We spend significantly less time on performance issues. On balance we save 10 – 20% time on problems depending on their complexity.”

As the company moves toward a more agile deployment model with many more deployments, the BlackLine team sees New Relic as an essential tool in making these more rapid product evolutions work successfully. As Nils says, “We would not want to troubleshoot anything on the application layer without New Relic. It kick starts the process. We can quickly see if the issue is on the database side or the web service side. That simple piece of information gives you a head start and saves you time.”

Read the full case study to see how New Relic helps BlackLine Systems’ financial services clients sail through the month-end close process. And if you’re a Rackspace customer like Blackline, you can get New Relic Standard for free. Go to for more information.'

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