Make No Small plans

I recently came across a quote that really resonated with me. It’s attributed to a Chicago architect called Daniel Burnham in the late 19th century:

Make no small plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.

New Relic is a small company, and yet we have aspirations to ultimately make a large, positive impact on the way the web works – more specifically, how web applications just work, and work fast. Despite the fact that our team lives in a tsunami of daily change that virtually every startup experiences, we have a high level vision for the company that keeps the organization aligned, motivated and focused on our long-term objectives. I would like to share that vision with you here.

As Web Applications Move to the Cloud, a Completely New Approach is Required to Manage Their Performance and Availability.

It is no longer a question of whether a significant percentage of web apps will move into a public or private cloud environment, but rather when and how many. I can’t predict exactly when it will happen, but I’m convinced that before long, the large majority of production web apps will run in the cloud.

There are some fundamental differences about cloud-based application environments that drive new requirements for application performance management. All solutions built in the pre-cloud era are modeled on jvms (or their equivalent), hosts and ports, rather than the logical application running in a more fluid environment. If the solution identifies a web application by host/port or some other infrastructural id, then you cannot effectively manage it in a cloud environment, since the app will move and grow, and your management system (that is, everything offered by the Big 4, as well as all infrastructure management companies that pay lip service to the application) will provide nearly-useless visibility and extraordinarily high TCO.

The Cloud changes the role of IT Operations, and the Focal Point Moves Up from the Infrastructure to the Application.

As apps move into the cloud, the the cloud provider (eg AWS, Rackspace and their peers in the public cloud, or the IT administrator of a private cloud) takes a most of responsibility for virtually all of the infrastructure, but cannot take responsibility for the application. The client of the internal or external cloud – that is the app team – must take responsibility for the application in the production environment. Therefore the cloud adopter has a vested interest in managing the application as the key focal point for production visibility. It’s what they own and must manage with precision. So application management becomes the strategic center or gravity for the client of a public or private cloud, and infrastructure-centric tools (even ones that claim to be cloudy) take on a lesser role.

This mass migration towards cloud drives virtually every business with a web application to consider – or reconsider – how their app(s) must be managed, and what their strategic management tools should be. The old approaches are no longer viable. Of course, New Relic works great in traditional dedicated environments. But our cloud-readiness gives our customers confidence that they can grow with as they migrate to the cloud.

Ultimately the Vast Majority of all Web Applications will be Managed via SaaS.

I have blogged in the past about many of the game-changing benefits that management via SaaS provides. Our solution is priced at literally a fraction of the cost of traditional on-premise APM software, with none of their considerable TCO headaches. Unlike the other offerings in the market, New Relic RPM requires no professional services to get fully deployed and start delivering value. And because we have the world’s largest application performance database, and the world’s top experts in web application performance management, we actually offer a far superior solution to any other vendor, on-premise or not. Better. Cheaper. Zero TCO.

There will always be a minority of customers who will never adopt SaaS for application performance management. For these unfortunate souls, there are plenty of very expensive, very difficult to use solutions for them to put up with. But for the rest of the world, we offer a value proposition that is impossible to ignore.

New Relic aims to manage at least 80% of SaaS-managed web applications.

Our long term goal is to reduce the total cost of application performance management by 90% while delivering the best product in the market, on-premise or SaaS. As a result, we aspire to be the dominant leader in a market space that we believe has incredible growth potential.

So if you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m kind of excited about New Relic’s opportunity. There are many stars aligning to create something that matters for any business considering adopting the cloud. We are having a lot of fun tackling this challenge and love what we do.

Founder and CEO, New Relic. View posts by .

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