Case Study: Zumba Fitness Uses New Relic To Ensure It Provides Superior Online Customer Service

Zumba® Fitness is a global lifestyle brand that fuses fitness, entertainment and culture into an exhilarating dance-party workout. Coined ‘fitness parties,’ Zumba classes blend upbeat world rhythms with easy-to-follow choreography, which provides effective total-body workouts. Founded in 2001, the company has since become one of the largest branded fitness programs in the world, with over 12 million class participants each week, in over 110,000 locations around the world.

The company uses its global online stores to offer a variety of consumer products, including DVD sets, music collections, Zumbawear® fitness apparel and more. Its online stores are available on every continent and in more than 80 countries. In 2011, Zumba found that over 50% of its growth came from outside the United States. And this rapid growth has presented unique application performance challenges, particularly in getting a clear picture of end user performance in locations around the globe.

For its hosting needs, Zumba uses Amazon AWS, currently using more than half of the 20 services offered in the AWS suite. Zumba’s business is highly dynamic with peak demand occurring in the daylight hours of each region and AWS simplifies the scaling process to support ‘follow-the-sun’ traffic loads.

Zumba Fitness PartiesWith over 2,000 requests per minute, 1 million unique visitors and 35 million total visitors each month, the Zumba team knew it needed an efficient and effective way to monitor and manage application performance. Initially, the team used a combination of home grown and open source tools to monitor performance. This required work across multiple environments, and was a cumbersome, time consuming process.

When New Relic announced its PHP agent, the Zumba team was convinced it found the tool it needed. New Relic quickly became the core component of Zumba’s performance monitoring strategy and it has changed the way it has gone after performance issues. “Prior to New Relic, we would see the problem and know how to fix it, but we didn’t really identify the root cause,” says Douglas Jarquin, Technical Operations Manager at Zumba. “We simply didn’t have the time. Now with proactive alerts, we put a fix in quickly, and then we go and find the root cause so we can prevent the situation from happening again. Having everything in one interface where you can line up the event flags and can see it all together is really, really useful to us.”

As a multinational company, Real User Monitoring (RUM) is particularly valuable to the Zumba team. “I love the way New Relic implemented RUM…” comments Douglas. “It was included in the latest release, and we didn’t have to change our configs to activate it. Browser load time is the most important metric to our CTO, and the worldwide Apdex map is really cool. It tells both our CTO and our team if there are any performance issues on a country-by-country basis. Our goal is to deliver superior performance to every country and RUM is critical to achieving that goal.”

As a result of using New Relic, the company’s developer and DevOps team have forged a stronger, more efficient working relationship. “New Relic is part of our culture,” adds Douglas. “When I speak ‘Apdex’ with engineers, they totally get it. Both our developers and DevOps teams love the product. They may use different parts of the tool, but they both use the same interface creating faster, easier, more efficient communication across teams. Not all tools cans achieve that.”

Douglas sums it up this way: “New Relic is essential to Zumba’s ability to grow our business worldwide. It helps us scale for growth. It provides our CTO and technical teams the information we need to monitor performance all the time and helps us prioritize our work by pointing out the next performance opportunities. We love the tool. It’s intuitive and easy to use. New features like RUM and Server Monitoring are delivered as standard parts of the product and the engineering behind the new features is consistently excellent.”'

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