New Relic Cure.org Case Study

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New Relic Cure.org Case Study

  1. 1. CURE.org Creates Roadmap forImproving App Performance withNew Relic DataMore than 100 million children in the developing worldsuffer from physical disabilities that can be cured throughsurgery. And that’s where CURE comes in. Through itsnonprofit network of charitable hospitals and surgicalprograms, CURE provides treatment for children withconditions like clubfoot, bowed legs, cleft lips, untreatedburns, and hydrocephalus. The organization openedits first hospital in Kenya in 1998 and since then CUREphysicians have seen more than 1.9 million patients,provided over 138,000 life-changing surgeries and trained6,100 medical professionals.EnvironmentWith a longstanding commitment to technical innovation,CURE actively encourages fellow nonprofits to explorelow cost, high performance commercial alternatives toindustry specific platforms and applications.CURE runs on Linux servers, with MySQL as the backenddatabase and PHP as the server-side scripting language.The public facing website is built on WordPress andhosted on Rackspace, with a frontend written in HTML5and JavaScript. CURE also maintains a patient recorddatabase system backended by WordPress and front-ended by a Sencha interface on Google Chromebooks.The organization favors open source solutions andprovides critical guidance to other nonprofits bycontributing code to the open source community.At a GlanceINDUSTRYNonprofitLOCATIONLemoyne, PennsylvaniaEMPLOYEES35 in the U.S.; 1,500 globally,primarily in developing nationsUSE CASEMonitor performance of public-facingwebsite, internal database, andCUREkids mobile appWHY NEW RELICComprehensive performancemonitoring down to the line of codeHIGHLIGHTS• Using Transaction Traces, CUREdiagnosed a ‘mystery’ problem thatcaused intermittent short outagesto a single page request taking 30seconds to load, with 99% of thattime spent in one specific commonfunction• Using New Relic for Mobile Appsfor development and real timemonitoring of a new CUREkidsapp, which allows donors to trackpatient updates in real time andsend ‘get well’ messages to patientsaround the world• Implementing a site ‘fitness plan’,100% driven by data from New RelicCASE STUDY: CURE
  2. 2. ChallengesWith only 35 employees in its Pennsylvania headquarters and anadditional 1,500 working in dozens of countries around the world,CURE maintains a small domestic footprint with a massive globalreach. “As in most nonprofits, efficiency isn’t just a nice thing to have— it’s absolutely critical,” says Joel Worrall, CTO at CURE. “We keepour central operations as minimal and efficient as possible, becausewe want to focus our energy and resources on helping disabled kids.As a result, we have a very small IT team (four people to be exact).Hiring more IT people simply isn’t an option.”The CURE.org website is the linchpin of the organization’s complexglobal operation. Not only is the site the primary channel for fundraising,but it also serves as the main communication link between headquartersand CURE’s sprawling network of donors and partners around the world.Global vision calls for global scale. As the organization expanded itsoperations worldwide – attracting increased media attention at thesame time – the CURE.org site began to experience bursts in trafficthat Worrall and his team found challenging to manage. “Up until 2012,we could get by with a few homegrown monitoring solutions,” he says.“But our patchwork approach couldn’t scale to meet our growth in traffic.The demands of what we do, and the number of people we serve, ledus to explore a more robust approach to monitoring.”One issue in particular prompted Worrall to seek out a more powerful,comprehensive toolkit for diagnosing problems on the CURE.orgwebsite. “We were experiencing random outages,” he says. “Theoutages were infrequent and very short in duration, but we couldn’treproduce them. Nothing in test or dev gave us any insight. Since wecouldn’t understand the issue, we had no way of knowing if it mightbe the sign of a much more significant problem. We needed bettertools to point us to the root cause.”In May 2013, the company launched CUREkids, its first native iOS app.From the start, the team knew it needed to accurately monitor appperformance.SolutionWorrall decided to try the free version of New Relic and immediatelygained greater insight into the CURE environment. “The free lite versionprovides some of the key New Relic capabilities, like error reporting andserver resource monitoring,” he says. “All of that was really helpful andeasily beat the homegrown solutions we were using. But we still weren’table to identify the source of those mystery outages. For that, we neededdiagnostics that would allow us to dig down to the transaction level.”CASE STUDY: CURE“… with New Relic, finding the source of an issue is almostinstant. That alone saves us hours each week, andsometimes hours every day.”Joel WorrallCTO, CURE
  3. 3. An upgrade to New Relic Pro quickly followed. CURE now dependson New Relic to monitor the WordPress installation running its website,along with the patient database used by surgeons in the field to trackpatient outcomes. “We no longer need to cobble together a few solutionsin order to get full visibility into our global environment,” says Worrall.“We can consolidate everything into this one tool. Nothing else comesclose to providing the level of insight we get from New Relic.”Worrall depends on a number of New Relic features — including appavailability alerts and reporting capabilities — but Transaction Tracesare proving to be the most valuable of all. “Within the first week ofupgrading to Pro, we identified and fixed a half-dozen issues that wedidn’t even know were there,” he says. “That’s because we were ableto drill far deeper into our environment than ever before, getting detailson any transaction all the way down to the SQL.”CURE started using New Relic for Mobile when they started developingCUREkids. The integration was surprisingly straightforward – it tookonly an hour to bake the monitoring into their new mobile platform.“New Relic for Mobile helped us accelerate the testing of the app,”said Worrall, “and it’s helping us deliver consistent high performance,improve our mobile engagement experience and optimize our devel-opment resources. New Relic has proven to be essential to us — bothin our web app and in our new mobile app. It’s critical for our team andhelps us get a lot more done on a very small budget.”ResultsNew Relic saves CURE huge amounts of time. “Previously, we woulddiagnose problems by going into the boxes and manually searchingthe logs,” says Worrall. “Now with New Relic, finding the source of anissue is almost instant. That alone saves us hours each week andsometimes hours every day.”The mystery outages that troubled Worrall and his team for so long areno longer a mystery. “New Relic immediately pointed me to the exactfunction that was causing the problem,” he says. “The trace functionalityshowed that a few variable page requests were taking 30 seconds toload and 99% of that time was spent in one specific, common function.Two days later, we had eliminated the down events caused by this issueand had identified a task list of a half-dozen other items to improve thereliability and responsiveness of the site. Today, we’re implementing a‘fitness plan’ for our site that’s being 100% driven by data from New Relic.”Recently, the CURE team released their CUREkids mobile app. It allowsusers to follow a patient’s progress before and after surgery as well asCASE STUDY: CURE“We no longer need to cobble together a few solutionsin order to get full visibility into our global environment.We can consolidate everything into this one tool. Nothingelse comes close to providing the level of insight weget from New Relic.”Joel WorrallCTO, CURE
  4. 4. © Copyright 2013, New Relic, Inc. All rights reserved. All trademarks, trade names, service marks and logos referenced herein belong to their respective companies. 5.21.13About New RelicNew Relic is an all-in-one SaaS-based application performance management solution that provides comprehensive, real time visibility into weband mobile applications regardless of where they’re run. Our platform combines Real User Monitoring, web monitoring, server monitoring, and iOSand Android mobile monitoring in one powerful dashboard experience. Our 40,000+ customers use our cloud solution every day to optimize over108 billion daily performance metrics. Learn more at: newrelic.com.through the recovery process. Through the app, users can also send‘get well’ wishes and other encouraging messages to patients aroundthe world. To ensure the app is successful, the team knows it mustalways be available and running at top performance. Thanks to NewRelic for Mobile Apps, the CURE team is making informed decisionsas they try to push the standards for nonprofit communication anddonor engagement.Maintaining a lean organization — and providing maximum support topeople in the field — means choosing smart operational tools. In a veryshort period of time, New Relic has already become a key componentin CURE’s innovative, efficient global tech operation. “If our website isn’tworking, then our organization isn’t working,” says Worrall. “Without it,our communication with folks in the field would be severely limited.And just as importantly, every outage affects our fundraising efforts.People don’t generally go wandering around the Internet looking foropportunities to give away money. Instead, they’re often struck by adesire to donate, and if we’re unable to process their donation in thatmoment of unplanned generosity, then we may lose them altogether.Every outage represents a missed opportunity to engage with internalstakeholders, reach potential donors, and of course help kids all overthe world. New Relic helps us keep those outages to a minimum.”With in-depth, real time intelligence from New Relic, the CURE teamcan create a roadmap for improving performance in the long term.“With this tool, we’ve already uncovered usage patterns that require usto think differently about issues on the site,” says Worrall. “Thanks toNew Relic, we have a clear idea of what we need to do in order toimprove performance in the coming year. That’s invaluable. For us,New Relic isn’t simply about discovering what happened on our siteyesterday, or even what’s happening right now. It’s also about helpingus define a path for the future.”CASE STUDY: CURENew Relic instantlyidentifies the causesof performanceissues.

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