New Version of RPM Now Available

Tonight New Relic released Version 1.3 of RPM. This version contains new features available for all levels of RPM. The three new features in this release are described below.

Apdex Support

RPM's Apdex PageThis feature is available in all RPM levels. What is Apdex? Its a vendor-neutral, independent standard for measuring your users’ satisfaction with the responsiveness of your application. The standard is published by Apdex Alliance, the organization chartered with the creation and dissemination of the specification for the Apdex standard. Why did we implement Apdex support? So that you and your business managers — the business application owner — can have an agreed upon target for the performance of the application. If they say “the app seems to be slow today,” you can say “but we are actually meeting our Apdex target which you set.” The way Apdex scores work is that you set the target for the response time of your app or for specific transactions (controller actions.) This target is usually something like 1 or 2 seconds. The target is referred to as T. T is the level at which users will be satisfied with performance. RPM takes over from there, continuously scoring your whole app as well as any controller actions you want scored. The scores will appear on the Overview Dashboard and on an Apdex Dashboard. Try using the score. Begin by having a serious conversation with the business team about user satisfaction and show them the Apdex score. Refer to it when you hear those dreaded words “I think the app is slow today.”

Capacity Analysis

RPM's Capacity Analysis ScreenThis feature is in our RPM Gold service. One way to plan for increased user traffic is to increase the number of instances in a host (mongrel or passenger.) Typically more instances, better throughput. But there is a trade off. More instances, more CPU, more memory, bigger hosts. Bigger hosts, bigger hosting invoice each month. This can be especially true in a Cloud deployment, like EC2. Its easy to increase instances and spin up new hosts. But if this increase in capacity is a knee-jerk response to what might be a temporary condition, you could end up with too much capacity and an expensive hosting charge. On the other hand, if you have not configured enough instances, all the tuning in the world won’t improve your throughput. If your queues get too long, your users will see the wait times lengthen. That’s bad. The new Capacity Analysis feature continuously analyzes your instance utilization and shows you vividly whether you are have too many or not enough instances. The page also shows you the ideal instance count so that you can “dial up or dial down” the number of instances. The goal is to find that sweet spot and then recalibrate it as your application and load changes over time. This is a powerful addition to the RPM capability. Its a must have for any application with heavy load and a moderate to large number of  instances. Check out Bayard Carlin’s App Server Provisioning and Tuning article over on RailsLab. He used the Capacity Analysis feature extensively.

Custom Dashboards

A Sample RPM Custom DashboardThis feature is in our RPM Gold service. Ever wanted to create your own RPM dashboard? You know there is all that incredible data collected by RPM. Ever been asked by your business team for a real-time view of the business transactions running through your applications? Now both of these are possible with Custom Dashboards. In minutes, you can create new metrics, select a display widget, add your logo or company name, pick out some meaty business metrics like number of new customer accounts created, purchase transactions, cancellations, or new subscribers, compare the numbers to this time last week, and bang! Show that to the boss and watch him light up. Where did you get this data? This is so cool! The great part is you already have the tool — RPM — and you already have the data. Now with a few minutes of HTML coding, you have a whole new set of flashy dashboards your whole team can use every day. This is big.

Not a Gold customer? Watch this space. We are going to have a very special announcement next week during RailsConf. But don’t wait. Sign up for RPM Gold now and you will get in on our special deal next week.

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