“Moving faster, with confidence.” In front of hundreds of New Relic customers, partners, journalists, and analysts at FutureStack: New York this morning, New Relic founder and CEO Lew Cirne shared his vision for the conference as well as for the company.

Back in the day, Lew said, enterprises shipped monolithic software releases perhaps once a year, with a “heavy QA cycle” that included months of testing. But, as he noted, “That’s not the way it is today.” Now the most innovative companies deliver a steady stream of deploys—thousands of times a day in some cases.

“This is the direction of the future,” Lew declared, adding that it’s not enough to just go fast. You can’t simply slap a rocket on the back of a go-kart and expect things to go well. The real question, according to Lew, is “how do you go fast at scale?”

New Relic's Lew Cirne at FutureStack New York

The answer, Lew said, requires a mindset built around four key tenets:

  1. Establish a service quality culture. In the antiquated waterfall development world, Lew said, “it was QA’s job to figure out if you had bugs in your code and IT’s job to keep it running.” In the modern DevOps world, it’s everyone’s job to make sure software is running well.
  2. Reduce the cost to find and fix problems. The goal is to go into production with perfect software, Lew noted, but “what’s more important is the ability to rapidly respond to and resolve problems.” Knowing you have that ability is what gives you the confidence to move fast.
  3. Know where to spend your time and resources. Customers want to be confident deciding what features and capabilities they should invest in, Lew said. They need to know which features are actually being used, for example. “You’ve got to be super data-driven about it.”
  4. See the impact and know the value 
of every change. Not every change goes exactly as planned, Lew said, so “you have to be prepared to watch production like a hawk.”

New Relic is the catalyst to help you do that, Lew said, as he and other New Relic execs announced and demoed a raft of exciting new updates focused on two key concepts: instrumentation and intelligence.

Ubiquitous instrumentation

In the old days, nothing shipped without QA giving the OK. Today, Lew said, nothing should go to production without instrumentation, from every browser interaction to deep into the application to the entire infrastructure.

instrument everything

To support the goal of instrumenting everything, Lew welcomed special guest Gabe Monroy, Microsoft’s principal program manager for containers, to the stage, where they announced support for Microsoft .NET Core 2.0 (beta) and new integrations with the five most popular Microsoft Azure services. “Modern applications are sufficiently complicated that they need to be flown by instruments,” Gabe said.

microsoft's gabe monroy at futurestack new york

And that was only part of the new instrumentation announcements. Vowing to “Let nothing go invisible in your production environment,” Lew also announced new AWS integrations for New Relic APM and on-host integrations for New Relic Infrastructure, among other new features.

Of course, instrumenting everything generates a lot of data, Lew said—especially on your company’s biggest days. Ironically, the time when your app is under the most stress is when your monitoring is most likely to fall down. But as Lew pointed out, “whatever is your biggest day is just a normal day for New Relic.” Our platform serves more than 15,000 customers and handles 1.5 billion metrics and events every minute, he said, some 400 times the number of Google searches executed every minute. “You don’t want to be in the business of doing this on-premise,” Lew said. “We are professionals at this.”

1.5B metrics and events

Applied intelligence

But dealing with massive volumes of data takes more than computing horsepower. “It creates a pretty darn big haystack,” Lew said. “Too big for you to find all the needles on your own.” Our customers need intelligence, Lew said, but not some buzzy AI hype. They need applied intelligence that can actually help solve problems for them.

Customers have told us they need three key capabilities, Lew said:

  1. Find important stuff in their data.
  2. Predict problems before they occur.
  3. Tell them exactly what’s wrong, and how to fix it.

New Relic is uniquely positioned to help. The vast amount of data collected by our customers that goes into our fast multi-tenant cloud informs us on how to make our applied intelligence algorithms smarter and faster, Lew said. And New Relic Applied Intelligence is being baked into the entire New Relic Digital Intelligence Platform.

new relic digital intelligence platform

Demoed on stage by New Relic Director of Product Management Nadya Duke Boone, NRAI is not a single feature. Instead, it’s a set of services that power smart new features like Error Profiles, and now NRQL Baseline Alerts and New Relic Radar, presents a personalized smart feed of actionable suggestions by applying smart statistics, algorithms, and machine learning to your data. (Learn more here: Introducing New Relic Applied Intelligence: The Brains Behind Radar and Dynamic Baseline Alerts.)

new relic's nadya duke boone at futurestack

Interconnectivity and distributed tracing

But wait, Lew wasn’t done. It turns out there’s actually a third dimension to moving fast with confidence. It’s one thing to add ubiquitous instrumentation and applied intelligence to find out more about what your team is working on. But how do you deal with the complexity of all the things that your whole company is doing? In large enterprises, Lew notes, there are many teams that all need cross-service visibility to understand how everything works together.

Designed to give you the information you need to understand and troubleshoot complex, distributed service-oriented architectures, distributed tracing was previewed on stage by New Relic Group Vice President Aaron Johnson.

new relic's aaron johnson at futurestack new york

Distributed tracing is designed to provide a quick end-to-end understanding of an entire request, from the time the user first interacts with your application through all of the individual services and queries within the request. That can help you identify which services—and thus which teams—you should look at first. Distributed tracing also tracks traces over time to help you understand overall system performance and health. And it’s built on the OpenTracing standard for long-term compatibility. (For more information, see New Relic Previews Distributed Tracing With Alignment to OpenTracing Standard.)

How to move faster with confidence

New Relic announced a huge list of products, features, and previews at FutureStack: New York today, all in the service of enabling our customers to move faster, with confidence.

futurestack presentation: move fast with confidence

Ubiquitous instrumentation is essential to enable our customers to instantly find out if something is wrong and see where to fix it. Applied intelligence helps customers surface issues proactively and identify problems quickly so they can fix them faster than ever before. And interconnectivity and distributed tracing put it all together in an end-to-end view that reveals where problems may be hiding in today’s complex microservice architectures.

All together, they’re designed to give our customers the information they need to boldly move at the speed of modern business, confident that they can quickly identify and correct any issues that crop up without having to slow down. That’s crucial, because in almost every business, as Lew said, “success correlates with how fast companies can move.”

Watch the full FutureStack: New York opening keynote presentation in the video below:

For more information on the products, features, and previews mentioned here, check out newrelic.com/whatsnew.


FutureStack: New York photos by Andres Otero


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, AllBusiness.com, 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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