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Sky-high web app performance gauge reaches into browsers

New Relic monitors from back to front

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New Relic has long offered an online service for gauging the performance of web applications on the back-end. And now, its eponymous service can monitor your application on the front-end as well.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco-based outfit announced that the service now includes "real user monitoring", using JavaScript to gauge application performance within the user's browser. "Our visibility into performance is going beyond the internals of the web application, all the way up to the web browser," New Relic CEO Lew Cirne tells The Register.

"We can tell you how fast your customers can see webpages on your application, measuring the total browser load time across all your real users. But then, if necessary, we can go all the way down into the application server code to diagnose performance problems."

To use New Relic's service, you install a software agent on each server running your web application. This agent gathers data from the application back-end, and as of today, it will also inject JavaScript into the application's pages to monitor performance on the front-end. You then analyze data collected by the service – and diagnose bottlenecks – via your own web browser.

The service is available for a monthly fee, and this fee, Cirne says, has not increased with the addition of the new front-end monitoring tools. Pricing starts at $24 per month per server and climbs to $129 per server, but the company also offers a free version of the service.

New Relic is currently used by over 10,000 customers in 141 countries. About a dozen customers beta tested the front-end monitoring tools, tracking the performance of about 150 million page views a week.

At launch, in 2008, New Relic's service monitored Ruby on Rails applications, but it now covers Java, PHP, and .NET as well. It also runs atop various cloud hosting services, including not only a raw infrastructure cloud like Amazon EC2 and Rackspace Cloud, but also so-called platform clouds such as Heroku, Engine Yard, PHP Fog, and Microsoft Azure. More than half of the company's customers are monitoring applications served up from the proverbial cloud, according to Cirne.

Lew Cirne is the former CEO of Wily Technologies, the application performance management outfit purchased by Computer Associates in 2006. New Relic, you'll notice, is an anagram of his own name. ®

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