App Performance Monitoring Vendor New Relic Branching Out Into Big Data

New Relic has quickly climbed to the top of the heap in application performance management software since its founding in 2008. On Thursday, it gave a glimpse into a coming software analytics SaaS product that represents a whole new direction for the company.

Code-named "Rubicon," the service gathers live metadata from a company's apps, analyzes it and presents it in realtime. It's slated for launch next year.

Just as Agile software development gives developers instant feedback, Rubicon will let them ask questions about an app and get immediate answers, which will result in better software, Lew Cirne, New Relic founder and CEO, told a crowd of 1,000 hooting and hollering attendees at the company's FutureStack13 event in downtown San Francisco.

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With Rubicon, a company could see which customers were on a website when an application glitch occurred, and send them a note to explain what happened and offer compensation, Cirne said.

"The number of problems you're going to be able to solve is kind of mind-blowing," he said.

With the new direction, New Relic is aiming to carve out the same dominant position in application metadata that Oracle once enjoyed with database software, Cirne said. "We want to build something with lasting impact and Project Rubicon is a step in that direction," he said.

New Relic's core application performance management business is still going like gangbusters -- it's on track to double in size this year, Cirne said. APM ensures that apps are running as they should and also gives visibility into databases, load balancers and network devices.

Nike uses New Relic's APM for its website that lets people build their own customized shoes, and Zumba is using it to keep track of technology it uses to let its gym members track fitness goals, Cirne said.

On Thursday, New Relic added support for Node.js -- a revelation that triggered a near-standing ovation from the FutureStack13 audience -- as well as a new iPad mobile APM app that's free for existing customers. New Relic also is working on an Android version, Cirne said.

New Relic is upgrading its New Relic for Mobile Apps product, released in April, to give developers a better view of how apps are performing on mobile devices. The update is currently in beta and slated for release later this year, Cirne said.