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New Relic Shifts Business Mode, Manages Unprecedented Growth with Amazon EKS

2021

Founded in 2008, New Relic is a leader in the observability space, providing engineers with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that analyzes, troubleshoots, and optimizes their entire software stack. In 2020, New Relic went on a journey to transform its business, moving from a host-based to a consumption-based pricing model. In addition, New Relic introduced a free service tier to all customers and prepared for a significant increase in demand on its platform. The company decided to migrate its entire platform to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to accommodate the projected trajectory of growth. In a period of 8 months, New Relic leveraged its own tools and processes, as well as AWS capabilities and offerings, to migrate over 20,000 servers and refactor its services platform. The refactoring of the platform utilized Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS). In this migration and refactoring program, New Relic saw material improvements in engineering efficiency and platform resiliency, along with a path for long-term scalability to support its aggressive growth targets.

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Consuming AWS lets us focus on our core competencies, enabling us to release better products faster and more frequently."

Andrew Harnett
Senior Director of Managed Services, New Relic

Enormous Data Growth and Increasing Customer Demand

New Relic provides customers with insights into the performance of their infrastructure, cloud resources, containers, and applications by aggregating telemetry data in one place and delivering actionable data to customers in real time. As of February 2021, New Relic ingests 120 PiB of data per month and expects that number to climb by 6 PiB per month. This explosive growth, coupled with the increase in demand for New Relic services, led to hard scalability barriers that threatened to make the mere act of updating the legacy hardware and software in their private cloud data center extremely burdensome. As a leader in the observability space, New Relic and its engineering team wanted to continue to focus on delivering a platform that improves how customers instrument their systems—not on managing infrastructure.

Unlocking Scalability to Fuel Product Growth with Amazon EKS

New Relic started its migration to AWS to take advantage of several fully managed services, including Amazon EKS and Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka (Amazon MSK), and has become one of the largest consumers of those services. New Relic initially migrated its own Kubernetes clusters to run on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) in preparation for the eventual move to Amazon EKS. While under this configuration, New Relic was able to quickly scale and innovate, migrating almost 30 percent of its ingestion in 6 months. Since the move to Amazon EKS, New Relic has been able to speed this migration and now ingests almost 90 percent of customer data on Amazon EKS clusters. While New Relic’s migration to Amazon EKS is still in its early stages, the company is already running dozens of Amazon EKS clusters, including over 19,000 total nodes and more than 150,000 pods with plans to triple these numbers over the next year.

Accelerating the Pace of Innovation with AWS Managed Services

Not having to perform Kubernetes upgrades and security patches saves the New Relic team over 10 percent of its time, allowing it to release code more frequently and develop new products and features that create additional value for customers. Migrating to Amazon EKS enabled New Relic’s engineers to focus on the customer experience, better aligning that experience with the company’s market position as the go-to solution for cloud, DevOps, and digital transformation initiatives.

Leveraging First-Party Expertise in Observability to De-risk the Migration

As an observability company, New Relic’s systems are instrumented, which hugely accelerated its ability to make large changes at scale, such as migrating its core platform to AWS. New Relic knew exactly where any potential bottlenecks could be. Rather than looking at low-level host metrics, the New Relic team had visibility into the topology of its systems and could look closely at anomalies that were developing in the system on a time continuum. Engineers used the New Relic platform to simultaneously visualize large-scale data migration from its monolithic private cloud data center to a microservice-cell based architecture and fully instrument Kubernetes workloads to detect individual system performance across the migration. This level of observability and information gave NewRelic the confidence to move massive amounts of data in a very short time and quickly switch production traffic to the Amazon EKS environment. In addition, early on in its migration journey, the New Relic engineering team used its own platform to understand its current private cloud compute needs. This made refactoring to Amazon EKS an obvious decision from a cost saving perspective as well.

Improving Performance, Reliability, and Security Using Built-in Capabilities of Amazon EKS

Customers trust New Relic with their most sensitive and timely data. By relying on a service like Amazon EKS, New Relic can focus on its core competencies instead of data center and hardware management. For example, any time physical hardware is involved, that hardware can fail. New Relic no longer has to deal with failure and recovery issues, which are now managed through automated tooling on Amazon EKS. That means no more waking up engineers in the middle of the night, quicker recovery from failure, and less downtime for customers, particularly during peak scaling events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Greater reliability increases customer confidence, as does greater security. Thanks in part to Amazon EKS, New Relic has already achieved FedRAMP certification and is currently working toward HITRUST certification by leveraging Amazon EKS image build capabilities. In addition, Amazon EKS itself is on the way to FedRAMP moderate/high certification, which aligns with New Relic’s plans to eventually achieve FedRAMP high.

By leveraging the compute elasticity provided by AWS, New Relic has increased engineering capacity and developed new opportunities for product innovation and market expansion. As a result, New Relic is well positioned to meet its most ambitious goal: building a more perfect internet.

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About New Relic

New Relic offers leading engineering teams a powerful cloud-based observability platform that allows them to view their software’s performance and improve their time to market.

Benefits of AWS

  • Migrated over 20,000 servers while refactoring its services platform
  • Saved more than 10% of operational time
  • Increased focus on core competencies instead of infrastructure management
  • Achieved FedRAMP certification and working towards HITRUST certification

AWS Services Used

Amazon EKS

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) gives you the flexibility to start, run, and scale Kubernetes applications in the AWS cloud or on-premises.

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Amazon MSK

Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka (Amazon MSK) is a fully managed service that makes it easy for you to build and run applications that use Apache Kafka to process streaming data.

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Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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