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Leigh has been in the technology industry for over 15 years, writing marketing and technical documentation for Sun Microsystems, Wells Fargo, and more. She currently works at New Relic as a Marketing Manager. Leigh is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 106 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Case Study: Rumble Entertainment Diagnoses Issues In Production 1,000 Times Faster with New Relic

04.08.2013
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 Gamers are a passionate crowd. And Rumble Entertainment has passion to match. The company dares to deliver synchronous, multi-player games with the highest possible production values to browsers and mobile devices — all for free. And it is dedicated to building polished games and shared experiences that embrace the digital world.

“Everything is real time. People are playing our games around the globe, 24/7. We can’t be down for even a second,” says Albert Ho, Product Manager at Rumble Entertainment. “If a server isn’t giving a response back in 20 to 30 milliseconds, it has an impact on gameplay. People won’t enjoy it. And if people don’t enjoy what we do, we’re no longer in business.”

Getting Beyond Guesswork
Before New Relic, diagnoses performance issues required a lot of time and even more guesswork. “For our first 16 months in business, we relied on a few open source tools to monitor our applications, but everything was piecemeal and inefficient,” explains Ho. “We didn’t have easy access to historical data. We had some error monitoring capabilities, but we couldn’t tie the data together without writing Python script and exporting it to Excel. All of our tools required manual workarounds, which felt like a waste of time. And when we’re wasting time, we run the risk of wasting our users’ time as well.”

Ho and his team considered writing an in-house tool for monitoring applications, but that would require at least four months of work and would distract them from their core business. They had been aware of New Relic for some time, but didn’t try implement it until late 2012. Since then, New Relic has become a critical part of the Rumble environment. “We subscribe to the Chaos Monkey theory,” says Ho. “If you’re building a service, flexibility is key. You should be able to destroy any machine in your infrastructure and still keep everything running. We’ve put New Relic on every server to make that approach possible — and frankly, we should’ve been doing that from the very beginning.”

For Ho, the core value of New Relic is the UI. “Collecting and instrumenting data is a solvable problem,” he says. “But delivering that information on a real time basis in a way that’s easy to consume? That’s a major differentiator.”

Kings Road screenshot

Addressing Bugs in Production
With New Relic, Rumble can address bugs in production at speeds that were formally unthinkable. “Before using this software, investigating a bug meant poking around the server, looking at error logs, running some tests,” says Ho. “It would take a minimum of 60 to 90 minutes just to figure out what the problem was. And if the issue happened to occur in the middle of the night, it would often take much longer to diagnose, because we had no easy way to search for the log. With New Relic, we’ve cut the time required to locate a bug from one hour to a matter of seconds. It’s literally 1,000 times faster.”

Ogres

With the data available in New Relic, Ho and his team have the information they need to budget more accurately — an especially important consideration, considering the company’s big plans for growth. “Before New Relic, we weren’t sure how many concurrent users we could handle on a given number of servers,” he says. “Now we can quantify that. So when the CEO asks me to scale to 100,000 users, I know exactly how much budget that will require.”

For all its features and functionality, the real key to New Relic’s success at Rumble may be something less quantifiable — namely, that it’s just a lot of fun to use. “I came from Apple, so I put a lot of value on UI,” says Ho. “The New Relic UI resonates emotionally with our internal teams. It’s truly fun to look at the data, to click on graphs for more information. Everything flows together beautifully. I believe that you can never underestimate the usability of things, and using New Relic is a total delight.”

Read the Full Case Study
To find out how New Relic helped Rumble Entertainment diagnosis issues in production faster, read the full case study. And if you’re an AWS customer, like Rumble Fish, you can get New Relic Standard for free. Go to newrelic.com/aws for more information.



Published at DZone with permission of Leigh Shevchik, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)