The Opsmatic Journey—The Inside Story of How We Became Part of New Relic

MTTD? MTTR? MTBLS!

“Let’s increase the ‘Mean Time Between Loss of Sleep’ for Ops teams.”

We uttered these words three years ago as we began our quest to transform how teams manage their infrastructure. Like many startups, Opsmatic was born out of the frustrations of its founders. While working together at Flickr and after, Mike (Pancakes) Panchenko and I both struggled with the inadequacies of operations tooling. We wanted the ability to easily track and understand the large volume of changes driven by our fast-moving teams, and spent too much time dealing with incidents created by configuration errors.

Opsmatic logoIn the early days of Opsmatic we talked to nearly a hundred companies and confirmed that our pain was not unique—in fact Gartner reported in 2015 that more than 40% of outages were driven by configuration errors, so we knew we were onto something. Our focus was Configuration Monitoring: providing live-state visibility of all hosts and instant awareness of any changes being made to them. We built a data platform from the ground up with a total focus on tracking the state of hosts in real-time at scale. With our API, we made it easy to add data from other applications and operations management tools to provide deeper insight and instant answers to DevOps teams. Our early customers loved the visibility we were able to provide.

We’re still involved in those same critical issues, but now we’re working as part of the larger New Relic family. The transition has been awesome, and surprisingly seamless. This is the story of how it happened.

Meeting New Relic

In the Fall of 2014, our beta release piqued the interest of the SiteOps team at New Relic, and we had the good fortune to get to know people like Nic Benders and Alice Goldfuss as they ran the Opsmatic service through its paces. We stayed in touch as we moved out of the beta phase to launch in the spring of 2015.

As our business started to scale, it became clear to us that we’d hit a sweet spot with operations teams. In the midst of preparing for additional funding to help grow the company, we started weighing an early exit against growing our standalone business.

We were fortunate to get the personal attention of New Relic Founder and CEO Lew Cirne. We had always respected New Relic from the outside, and after just a few minutes talking with Lew it was obvious why the company was doing so well. He had a powerful vision for the future, a killer team, and the wisdom to create a very product-focused, builder-oriented culture.

new relic and opsmatic

Setting a high bar

I have sold one other company and been involved in the sale of others, and the team at New Relic set a very high bar with their thoughtful and respectful approach to working with us throughout the acquisition process. Several key engineering and product leaders were involved, and were very transparent about integration plans, their expectations for us going forward, and the good and the bad of their own product efforts. Like Lew, they were all genuinely invested in ensuring a positive experience for our team—and this continued across all of our interactions.

For example, when it was time for the routine work of I-9 employment verification—typically just a quick passport check and a form to sign—we arrived at the New Relic offices to find a tray of personalized cupcakes, bags with several t-shirts for each of us, and a visit from an all-star team of Lew, Chris Cook (COO at the time), and VP of People Operations Steve McElfresh. The next day, the company office manager came to our offices to personally help us get packed to move—we were settled at New Relic HQ and committing code two days later!

new relic cupcakes

Our first week, we were graciously introduced and welcomed at an all-hands meeting by the entire company. The next week I was invited on stage by Lew at the FutureStack15 user conference for a brief Q&A and demo of our service. In the months since we have arrived, we’ve continued to confirm we made the right choice with New Relic—we’ve found it a company of smart, driven, and passionate people focused on delighting customers with great products.

Opsmatic to Infrastructure Products

We’re now known as the Infrastructure Products team at New Relic—still focused on our same mission of transforming how teams manage their increasingly dynamic infrastructure. We’ve grown a bit since the acquisition, adding some amazing new team members, and have met with many New Relic customers who are giving us great insights that will help guide our development efforts.

We can’t think of a better place to continue our quest, and can’t wait to show you what’s next!

Jim Stoneham is Senior Vice President, Growth at New Relic. He was CEO and co-founder of Opsmatic. View posts by .

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