New Relic launches a report card for website speed (how do you rank?)

speed

Web application monitoring service New Relic is adding a new site speed index to its product line-up, offering website and web application managers new insights into how they rank compared to similar sites … even competitors.

New Relic calls it the App Speed Index, and it measures how fast your site works for end users — from their perspective. The index shows companies how they are performing relative to their peers in 12 industry categories, including commerce, mobile, social networking, and online games.

Above: Average site speed in 12 industry categories

VentureBeat talked to Bill Hodak, director of product marketing at New Relic, to get the details.

“At New Relic, we’re sitting on a lot of customer data,” Hodak explained. “With 25,000 active customers on our platform, they’re sending us 55 billion individual metrics on a daily basis.”

Those metrics are individual touch points of customers on a website or web application: a page loaded, an image viewed, a button clicked, an error, or any other trackable action being taken. With over 1.5 billion pages loaded per day, that’s a lot of data to learn from.

“We wanted to take that data and turn it into an actionable feature for our customers,” said Hodak.

In addition, the app speed index reveals the fastest sites across all business categories. In the inaugural ranking, small business software provider Intuit took second place, while Groupon took fifth. Additional factors in the index include site reliability or uptime, and error rate.

The competitive ranking is both unusual and helpful, said Lew Cirne, New Relic’s founder and chief executive:

“Right now, most companies measure speed and performance against their own subjective benchmarks, but they’re operating in a vacuum because they don’t have insight into how other companies in their industry compare. With New Relic’s massive big data collection and our new app speed index capability, we’re giving companies a huge competitive edge by providing a real benchmark that they can measure against day after day.”

Participating companies will gain access to a dashboard with speed, responsiveness, and ranking data that includes a percentile ranking in their industry grouping and daily charts of their performance:

Hodak stressed that the data is not just server-based or theoretical data: “We’re leveraging our real user monitoring data — these are real people using our customers’ apps.”

This results in more valuable data, according to Gartner analyst Jonah Kowell, who explained that standard “benchmarking reports are typically driven by synthetic transactions, which can assume connectivity that is often uncertain in today’s mobile workforce.” By using live customer data, New Relic is giving companies better insight into how their sites perform in real-world conditions.

The ranking service is free and included with New Relic’s entry-level product offering.

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