While attending a recent PHP meetup, I was told about how great New Relic has been for a local company with some large PHP applications. I made a mental note that I would have to give New Relic a look to see if it is something that may be helpful for my personal work or application monitoring at Classic.
A week later, I was reminded about New Relic and decided to give it a go. New Relic supports monitoring a number of languages, operating systems, and application services. I thought I would keep things simple and setup the PHP monitoring module. Since I am testing a tool that allows deep access into my server stack, I fired up Digital Ocean's beta LAMP on Ubuntu 12.04 image and setup a working Drupal 7.23 core instance. Next, I created a New Relic free account (24 hour data retention) and followed the directions for getting the PHP monitoring module installed.
Once the setup was complete, ran a few ab tests to generate traffic. I also installed the devel module and generated a few hundred nodes. It only took a few minutes before I could begin reviewing New Relic's findings for my Drupal install. Let me tell you, the amount of information provided is at first overwhelming, so I suggest setting aside plenty of time to review each report page and check the help popups for details as needed. I am glad that I only installed PHP monitoring initially. Once I understand the provide PHP reports, I can explore additional server and plugin monitoring to cover the entire stack.
While New Relic provides a great deal of useful information, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there is direct support for Drupal monitoring.
Drupal specific reports:
Another interesting feature is the monitoring Map, which provides an overview of the app's performance from the user's browser through every service involved with the page generation.
I have included screenshots of these features from my test setup. See the screenshot thumbnails below.
I am still learning about New Relic's feature set and hope to add additional monitoring plugins to my setup and give their mobile app a try. From a security standpoint, this document is worth a serious read. New Relic's access to your stack is a requirement to produce the nice reports, but it comes at a cost that some may not want to accept. Since New Relic is a commercial solution, you will have to decide if the price is a good value for your needs. The jury is still out on that for me, but I am impressed with the feature set.