The New Relic Digital Intelligence Platform brings together quite a few product areas and features. So it’s not surprising for our customers to ask: “How can I get up to speed on what New Relic is going to do for my company if I’ve got only 30 minutes to spare?”

This post is designed to answer that very question. First, I’ll provide a bit of basic information to get you oriented, then point you to videos designed to take you from “I’m still a New Relic newbie,” to “I get it, and I’m ready to start installing New Relic agents” in very short order.

A simple diagram

Let’s start with a diagram that I often find myself drawing during customer visits. It lays out the basics of New Relic software: how it relates to your stack, how it stores data, and what you’ll get from it. Take a look at the part that represents your company’s entire software and hardware stack. Simplified stackIf we were to really compress and reduce those components down to this extremely simplified stack, we could quickly draw it like this (left).

Pretty simple, right? You run servers. Those servers host your applications (and a lot of other components). And your applications are the backend that supports your frontend experience (web pages, mobile apps) by doing things like responding to requests for the next page or the next set of data in an API call, or processing batch jobs, or all the other work that your server-side web applications are doing every minute of every day. (One quick note about the drawing: It’s not meant to suggest that your mobile apps are dependent on your web pages. I drew it that way because the next diagram is a lot easier to read if everything is nicely stacked vertically like that!)

So, now let’s add the New Relic Agents to the picture:

New Relic Agents

Those agents, including APM, Browser, and Infrastructure, are also our actual product names. To use them, you simply install lightweight agents that monitor the performance of those areas of your stack. No need for heavyweight on-premise solutions with New Relic—everything but the agents are cloud-hosted SaaS products.

In addition to these agents, the New Relic Digital Intelligence Platform also lets customers set up synthetic monitoring:

Synthetic monitoring

Technically speaking, of course, New Relic Synthetics isn’t an agent at all—you don’t install it directly. Rather, Synthetics makes calls into your systems (asking for web pages, calling API endpoints, and so on) from selected testing locations around the world. This gives you a valuable external perspective on your website performance as well as your API endpoint performance.

Data processing

Once installed, the New Relic agents immediately start collecting powerful data for you and securely passing it into New Relic’s cloud-hosted data pipeline. A simplified version is shown on the right of the diagram above, along with the outputs you get back from New Relic:

  • Intuitive Views of your performance data, starting with overviews, then moving on to deep dives to help you identify and locate exact problems and bottlenecks.
  • Alerts, so you can quickly know when your performance drops below the levels you expect.
  • Data for New Relic Insights, which offers real-time analytics capabilities designed to help teams across the company better understand the end-to-end technical and business impact of your software performance.

With this application and infrastructure data, you can create your own, custom, real-time dashboards so that you can instantly get a deep understanding of your performance data and the impact of your software/hardware performance on your company’s overall business.

Watch the videos

Now that you understand the landscape, the series of short videos linked to below can help answer your next set of questions. You can watch the whole series in less than half an hour:

1. What kinds of performance data do the different agents collect?

A quick walk-through of what you will encounter first in the New Relic UI, and why those things matter for monitoring.

Introduction to Data Collection


2. How do I get a quick summary of all my performance data being collected by New Relic’s agents?

This video describes the “centralizing areas” of data: Alerts, Insights, and Service Maps.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 11.27.42 AM


3. What’s the level of effort required to install the agents? And how does it differ from other vendor solutions?

This two-minute video shows how straightforward it is to install New Relic agents. The sooner you master this step, the sooner you can start digging into the data.

Installing the Agents


4. How do I get a visual overview of my whole ecosystem?

This video describes two great visual overviews you can use: Service Maps and Health Map.

Health Map


5. How do I deep-dive into the performance of a single application server?

This video will give you a quick introduction to using our Overview pages, using New Relic APM as an example.

Application Performance Deep Dive


6. How do I deep-dive into the performance of my frontend webpages?

This video shows the Browser Overview page, which provides information about your software’s in-browser performance.

Frontend Performance Deep Dive


7. How do I start getting alerts on my performance data?

In this video, you’ll see how easy it is to start setting up alert policies and conditions, and to start receiving alert incidents over the channel (or channels!) of your choice.

Alerting on Performance Data


8. How do I start building custom reports on my data, and why would I do this?

In this video, you’ll see how our agents generate the metric data we’ve already looked at, but also create “event data” that feeds into New Relic Insights. There, you can write custom queries and assemble the resulting widgets into powerful dashboards for your teams and your whole company.

Building Custom Reports


9. How do I start customizing my software performance data so that it translates into business reporting data?

In this video, we show you how to quickly start using “custom attributes” on your Insights data, so that your software performance data is mapped to the business questions you want to ask.

Creating Business Reporting Data



We hope that reading this and watching the videos has given you a sense of how easy it is to start installing New Relic agents and looking at your data,. Come join us at the New Relic Online Technical Community to comment on or discuss the videos, or to find more content that will quickly take you from newbie to power user. And feel free to reach out to your New Relic sales representative to schedule time with a sales engineer like myself to dive deeper into your data!

Dan Stadler is a Senior Sales Engineer in New Relic's Portland office. View posts by .

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