Case Study: Innovator Fog Creek Software improves performance of its on-demand .NET web apps with New Relic

Founded in 2000, Fog Creek Software is an independent, privately owned company. Co-founders Joel Spolsky and Michael Pryor built the company around the idea that great software developers will create great software if they work in an environment conducive to design and development. The organization is egalitarian, with a flat management structure and minimal amount of management interference.

Fog Creek has released 11 products since it was founded, and currently produces five products that help developers and software firms build and run better software. These are:

FogBugz: A bug tracking system.
Kiln: A distributed version control system
Trello: A collaboration tool
WebPutty: A CSS editing and hosting service
Copilot: A service that helps people fix each other computer problems.

Fog Creek delivers products through both a traditional, enterprise on-premise license and through the cloud. FogBugz and Kiln are available in both modes, while Trello, their newest product, is strictly cloud-based and is delivered as a service. The FogBugz application receives over 12,000 unique visitors each day and over 40 million requests per month. Kiln receives over 300 million requests per month and Heartbeat, an internal asynchronous task manager for both products, receives over 200 million requests per month.

Fog Creek’s user base was rapidly growing and the company knew that their applications performance was at risk, if not already slightly degraded. In particular, the team did not have a historical perspective on the performance of their on-demand products. Although they made extensive use of server-level performance diagnostics, profiling SQL requests, and tracking HTTP, Fog Creek lacked the application level insight they needed to monitor and stay ahead of performance issues. As a company that prides itself on excellence, achieving consistently high performance was paramount.

The development team knew they did not want to pull their code apart to add profiling. Instead, they turned to New Relic to quickly develop a performance baseline and to expose critical issues that the team could focus on to improve app performance. New Relic was easy to install, integrated well with .NET, and provided a view of the complete stack. “Having a tool that exposes performance bottlenecks and points you to the root cause is essential when you are a small team and need to ensure that you are not wasting precious developer resources,” says Babak Ghahremanpour, Fog Creek’s General Manager.

Although Fog Creek started with server side monitoring, they have found the Real User Monitoring (RUM) feature invaluable. “We absolutely love the newest version [of New Relic], with client-side performance data network, DOM processing, page rendering, etc.,” says Babak. “It really helps us understand how our users actually experience FogBugz.” Fog Creek is deploying several projects as a result of using these features and is excited to measuring the results in early 2012.

For more information, read the complete Fog Creek Software case study.'

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