Guest author Alex Bloom is founder and CEO of StatusCast, formerly Uptime.ly.
DevOps wants to focus on solving problems, not on communicating about them (especially not while those problems are still causing headaches). Marketing wants every interaction with the customer to cultivate a positive impression. But what do you do when customers can’t access your Web-based application? Or when they experience a disruption in performance?
It’s counterproductive to distract your IT staff by demanding they craft status updates—especially when you have an application performance monitoring (APM) tool like New Relic that can automatically report on system status in real time. StatusCast is a new tool built for New Relic customers and others who understand that application downtime is a marketing issue as much as it is an IT issue.
Given the dual impact on marketing and IT, you not only need to resolve downtime issues quickly, but you need to provide updates about the scope of the issue, the progress you’re making, and when full functionality will be restored. And you need to do it in a manner convenient for your customers, using simple, clear terminology that makes sense to them without sounding condescending.
StatusCast is designed to equip your DevOps and marketing teams to translate the technical information provided by New Relic APM into user-friendly status updates that go out to customers. In a matter of minutes, you can set up an application status page where end users can get status updates—and they can subscribe to receive updates via their preferred communication method (email, text, etc.). Your StatusCast page and update communication tools can also be valuable internally, informing executive staff, customer support, and whomever else needs to be apprised of your uptime/downtime status.
The combination of New Relic and StatusCast is designed to free your DevOps team to focus on what they do best, while still giving your customers the timely, professional communication they demand. Integrating the two services is simple. If you do not yet have both a New Relic and a StatusCast account, you can sign up here: newrelic.com/statuscast
For Existing StatusCast and New Relic Customers: 3 Immediate Steps to Implement Your Integration
1. Set up your API key
Before you get started, find your New Relic API key by logging in to your account and selecting Account Settings > Integrations > Data sharing.
Copy your API Key, navigate to the Integrations section of your StatusCast admin portal ([yourapp].statuscast.com/admin), and select the Install button under New Relic.
Enter your API key here and click the Install button. Now New Relic can communicate with your StatusCast application.
2. Automate incident posting
Navigate to the Monitors section. Select the New Monitor button to start the configuration.
Choose New Relic from the Choose Provider drop down.
Next, select the Alert Name from the list (this will correspond to a specific application in your New Relic account). Enter a name for Authored by, which defines who is the author of each incident. Just like normal incidents, a post can have only a single author:
The other Incident settings, including Type, Affected components, Subject, and Message, reflect the same general options you have when creating an incident. For more information on this process, please refer to StatusCast’s article How Do I Post a New Incident or Status?
At this point you can set up a workflow for the incident:
Once you set all the configurations, click Submit to save the configuration.
3. Add New Relic metrics to your StatusCast page
To configure the metric, navigate to the Layout section. Drag the Metric widget into your pages layout, select the pencil edit icon, and select New Metric.
From here you can configure the metric you’d like to display:
Display name: Enter a friendly name to identify this metric within StatusCast.
Choose provider: Select New Relic as your provider.
Choose application: Select the application from your New Relic account from which you want metric data made available to StatusCast.
Metric: Select the type of metric you wish to make available, e.g., Response Time.
Select Save to add the New Relic metric to your layout, and to finalize these changes, select the Save & Publish option on the right.
Now that your metric has been added to your StatusCast page, navigate to the page to see it in action!
Software-as-a-Service providers earn their customers’ trust by treating application downtime as a marketing issue just as much as a DevOps issue. Integrating APM reporting and customer communication systems helps accomplish this without distracting DevOps from resolving the issue. Combining New Relic and StatusCast lets you enjoy the benefit of the integrations webhooks make possible: Get started here!