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In this review I’m going to share my analysis and evaluation from my hands-on experience with New Relic. But first, if you’re just beginning your search for the best software testing solutions, check out my pick of the best software testing tools. You probably already know New Relic is among the most popular software testing products out there, but you need to better understand what’s good, and not so good about it. This in-depth New Relic review will walk you through pros and cons, features and functionality, to help guide you to better understand its capabilities and suitability for your needs.

A photo focused on the vulnerability management tab of New Relic
I appreciate that New Relic automates application and infrastructure scanning and analysis to identify and address security vulnerabilities.

New Relic Product Overview

New Relic APM provides real-time monitoring and insights into software performance, particularly focusing on application performance management (APM). It caters to developers, operations, and various stakeholders in a technology-driven company who need to monitor and optimize their software stack and infrastructure. The tool offers the advantage of detailed performance metrics and actionable insights, enabling quick identification and resolution of issues. It effectively addresses the pain points of downtime, system bottlenecks, and inefficiencies in application deployment.

Pros

  • Real-time analytics: New Relic excels in delivering immediate insights, allowing teams to detect and respond to issues as they occur.
  • Extensive integrations: The platform integrates with a wide array of services and systems, providing users with a centralized monitoring solution.
  • Customizable dashboards: Users can tailor their monitoring dashboard to highlight the metrics that matter most to their specific context.

Cons

  • Learning curve: New Relic comes with a steep learning curve for new users unfamiliar with APM tools.
  • Resource intensive: Some users find the tool to be heavy on system resources, which can be a drawback in resource-constrained environments.
  • Cost at scale: While not including pricing as a con, scaling with New Relic can introduce complexities that may require additional investment in time and resources.

Expert Opinion

In my experience, New Relic stands out for its comprehensive APM capabilities, rich with features like detailed transaction tracing and custom analytics. It offers a robust set of tools for monitoring applications, but some users might find it more complex than its competitors. When judged against other APM solutions, New Relic shines in environments that value in-depth data and are equipped to act on the detailed insights provided. It's best suited for larger teams or organizations where software performance is critical and where the investment in learning and using an advanced tool can be fully leveraged.

New Relic: The Bottom Line

New Relic distinguishes itself with its advanced APM features and the depth of insight it provides into application performance, which many other tools don't match. The capability to customize and analyze data down to the code level is particularly impressive. It offers an unparalleled level of detail and a range of features that cater to those who need deep dives into their data to inform decision-making and improve performance.

New Relic Deep Dive

Product Specifications

  1. Application Performance Monitoring (APM) - Yes
  2. Real-time Analytics - Yes
  3. Infrastructure Monitoring - Yes
  4. Digital Customer Experience (Browser & Mobile) Monitoring - Yes
  5. Synthetic Monitoring - Yes
  6. Server Monitoring - Yes
  7. Cloud Service Monitoring - Yes
  8. Alerts and Notifications - Yes
  9. Custom Dashboards - Yes
  10. Incident Detection - Yes
  11. Distributed Tracing - Yes
  12. Log Management - Yes
  13. Error Tracking - Yes
  14. Application Diagnostics - Yes
  15. Database Monitoring - Yes
  16. Scalability Analysis - Yes
  17. API - Yes
  18. Integration with Cloud Platforms - Yes
  19. User Experience Tracking - Yes
  20. Performance Benchmarking - Yes
  21. Deployment Tracking - Yes
  22. Plugin Support - Yes
  23. Multi-Language Support - Yes
  24. Code-level Diagnostics - Yes
  25. Collaboration Tools - Yes

New Relic Feature Overview

  1. Application Performance Monitoring: New Relic's core feature allows users to track their application's performance such as apdex scores in real time, providing insights into transactions and potential bottlenecks.
  2. Real-time Analytics: The ability to see application data in real-time helps teams quickly identify and rectify issues before they affect end-users.
  3. Infrastructure Monitoring: Alongside APM, monitoring the underlying infrastructure provides a complete picture of both system health and performance metrics.
  4. Synthetic Monitoring: This simulates user interactions to test and ensure application availability and performance, which is key for maintaining service quality.
  5. Custom Dashboards: Users can create customized views of their data, which can be tailored to the specific needs of different team members or departments.
  6. Incident Detection: New Relic detects and debugs anomalies and unexpected behavior in applications, facilitating proactive issue resolution.
  7. Distributed Tracing: Provides an overview of requests as they travel through distributed systems, critical for modern microservices architectures.
  8. Log Management: Integrating logs into the monitoring platform allows for easier correlation between log entries and performance metrics.
  9. API: New Relic's API enables integration with other systems, allowing for automation and custom data feeds.
  10. Plugin Support: With plugins, users can extend New Relic's monitoring to cover niche or proprietary systems not supported out of the box.

Standout Functionality

  1. Distributed Tracing: What sets New Relic apart is its distributed tracing functionality, providing end-to-end visibility in complex, distributed applications which is more advanced compared to many other APM tools.
  2. Custom Dashboards: New Relic’s dashboards are particularly flexible and powerful, offering more customization options than typical monitoring tools, allowing users to drill down into the metrics that matter most.
  3. AI-driven Incident Detection: With the use of artificial intelligence, New Relic offers predictive alerts and incident detection that learns and adapts to an application's unique patterns, which is not a common feature among traditional monitoring tools.

Integrations

New Relic provides out-of-the-box integrations with popular cloud services, CI/CD tools, and notification systems. These integrations allow for seamless workflow within development and operational processes. They offer an API that enables custom integrations, giving users the ability to tailor New Relic's capabilities to their unique ecosystem. Additional add-ons are available through New Relic One’s catalog, enhancing the platform's native capabilities with plugins for specific technologies or services.

New Relic Pricing

New Relic's pricing model can be more expensive than some similar tools, reflecting its comprehensive feature set. They offer several pricing tiers:

  • Standard Tier: Free with limited features, perfect for small teams or projects.
  • Pro Tier: Priced at $/user/month (varies based on usage), including advanced APM, infrastructure monitoring, and full platform access. (min 5 seats) (billed annually)
  • Enterprise Tier: Custom pricing upon request, offering complete access to all features, support, and scalability for large organizations.

Each tier increases in features, support, and scalability options, with additional costs for high data volumes or premium features.

Ease of Use

Navigating New Relic can be complex due to its depth and breadth of features. The user interface is feature-rich which may overwhelm new users. The onboarding process is thorough but demands technical proficiency. Organizing and interpreting data requires a learning curve, yet for those familiar with APM tools, it remains manageable.

Customer Support

New Relic offers a range of support options, including comprehensive documentation, webinars, and a community forum. Some users may find response times on the slower side during peak times or for less critical issues, which can be a point of frustration.

New Relic Use Case

Who would be a good fit for New Relic?

I find that New Relic fits well with mid-sized to large tech companies that have complex applications and infrastructure. It is particularly beneficial for organizations with dedicated DevOps teams who can leverage their deep insights to optimize performance. Companies that deploy frequently and rely on continuous integration and deployment practices will find its real-time analytics and alerting capabilities invaluable.

Who would be a bad fit for New Relic?

New Relic might not be suitable for small startups or individuals with limited technical resources. Its comprehensive nature can be overkill for simple applications or for those with minimal traffic. Additionally, companies with stringent budget constraints might find it less attractive due to its cost at scale.

New Relic FAQs

Is New Relic suitable for both front-end and back-end monitoring?

Yes, New Relic provides full-stack monitoring capabilities which include both front-end (user experience and browser performance) and back-end (servers, applications, and databases) aspects of web and mobile applications.

Can New Relic be used for SaaS applications?

Absolutely, New Relic is designed to monitor SaaS applications, providing insights into their performance and helping in troubleshooting issues that may arise.

How does New Relic assist in troubleshooting application performance issues?

New Relic assists in troubleshooting by offering real-time analytics, error tracking, and detailed transaction traces, allowing teams to pinpoint and resolve issues efficiently.

Does New Relic support different programming frameworks?

Yes, New Relic supports a wide array of programming frameworks across various languages, making it versatile for monitoring applications built on different technology stacks.

Is there specific support for mobile app performance monitoring?

New Relic offers robust mobile app monitoring, giving developers insights into mobile application performance and user experience across iOS and Android platforms.

What are the monitoring capabilities of New Relic for mobile applications?

New Relic's monitoring capabilities for mobile applications include crash analysis, network request monitoring, and user interaction tracing, to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

How comprehensive is New Relic's monitoring for full-stack applications?

New Relic provides comprehensive monitoring for full-stack applications, covering everything from the user interface down to the underlying infrastructure, with powerful visualization tools for data analysis.

Does New Relic offer visualization tools for monitoring web application performance?

Yes, New Relic includes advanced visualization tools that allow teams to create custom dashboards, charts, and maps to visualize web application performance data effectively.

Alternatives to New Relic

If New Relic doesn’t seem like a great fit, or you want to check out a few more options, you should check out our pick of the best alternatives. I’ve given a quick overview below of a few tools that people often compare with New Relic.

  • Datadog: Datadog is often praised for its comprehensive integration capabilities, making it a better choice for organizations looking for extensive third-party tool integrations to centralize monitoring and observability.
  • Dynatrace: Dynatrace stands out for its AI-powered root cause analysis, which can be particularly beneficial for enterprises that require advanced, automated problem-solving for complex application environments.
  • AppDynamics: AppDynamics is recognized for its user experience journey tracking and business performance monitoring, offering a superior solution for those needing to directly correlate application performance with business outcomes.

New Relic Company Overview & History

New Relic, Inc. is a San Francisco-based company specializing in cloud-based observability and analytics for modern software applications, serving a wide range of businesses, from startups to large enterprises, across various industries. It's a publicly traded company under the ticker "NEWR" on the New York Stock Exchange. Known for its suite of SaaS offerings, New Relic provides deep performance analytics for every part of a software environment, enabling businesses to stay on top of their application health. Its clientele includes notable tech companies, retail giants, and financial institutions. The mission statement of New Relic revolves around helping companies create perfect software, improve customer experiences, and leverage data-driven insights.

Since its inception in 2008 by Lew Cirne, New Relic has marked several milestones, including its IPO in 2014 and consistent expansion of its product offerings, with an emphasis on full-stack observability and applied intelligence for proactive issue resolution. Their headquarters are located in the heart of San Francisco, CA, positioning them in the hub of tech innovation.

Summary

In summary of this full review, New Relic stands out as a robust, full-stack observability platform offering in-depth analytics for web and mobile applications. With its SaaS model, it simplifies troubleshooting, supports a variety of frameworks, and offers extensive monitoring capabilities that cater to both front-end and back-end needs. I encourage those considering New Relic to weigh its visualization strengths and real-time analytics against their specific needs. If you're on the fence or currently using New Relic, I'd welcome your comments and experiences to help others make an informed decision. Your insights could be the deciding factor for many in choosing the right tool for their software monitoring and analytics needs.

Paulo Gardini Miguel
By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo brings +12 years of experience in software development and team building, creating products for the Media and Advertising industries. With a track record of building high-performance lean teams, he specializes in handling large volumes of data and empowering his team to own their projects and products. When he’s not working, he’s a frustrated musician with a passion for football and technology.