Summary:

Software-as-a-Service startup New Relic has added a new, and free, capability to its application-performance management product that lets customers monitor their users’ experiences in real time. The bigger picture is how New Relic continues to show the way to do SaaS in a cloud-computing world.

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Software-as-a-Service startup New Relic has added a new, and free, capability to its application-performance management product that lets customers monitor their users’ experiences in real time. The new feature measures page-load time, network performance and rendering time, as well as users’ browsers, operating systems and geographic locations — all as the transaction is taking place. Although the real-time capabilities are the news, the bigger picture is how New Relic continues to show the way to do SaaS in a cloud-computing world.

Real-time monitoring is noteworthy, because application owners so inclined can determine the causes of performance bottlenecks much faster. They can determine whether it’s the application or the network that’s the issue and, with a little analysis, whether a particular browser or OS might be experiencing its own particular problems. As with most things in the world of performance monitoring, real time and granularity are better than post-hoc and limited scope.

In addition to the new capability of the New Relic service, the price — free  – is also very important. We’ve covered the company’s meteoric growth before, which is largely attributable to its freemium model and its integration with just about every leading cloud provider in the market. Apart from today’s new feature, New Relic Founder and CEO Lew Cirne promised on his blog this morning that even more free features are on the way later this year.

As use of public clouds continues to grow and as users — including other SaaS providers — begin to demand better performance for their cloud-hosted applications, New Relic is setting an example by making itself the de facto APM tool in the cloud with enough guts to ensure that developers give it a look.

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