New Relic has always been a different kind of a company. Its CEO and founder Lew Cirne (and, yes, for the eagle eyed among you the company name is in fact an anagram of Cirne's own name) is well known for taking regular "coding holiday" breaks -- times where he removes himself from the day to day operations of his not insignificant business and tinkers around, coming up with new and innovative products and features for the company.
So hearing that such an experimental and innovative company is rolling out support for one of the newer application languages shouldn't come as a huge surprise. Golang was originally developed within Google, and is an open source programming language that has become an increasingly popular option for companies looking to move to cloud and microservices architectures. In the same way that Ruby on Rails somewhat defined the early SaaS companies, Golang is a defining language of the microservices crowd.
And it brings some specific advantages -- Golang’s concurrency model, simple deployments and runtime efficiency enables applications to scale elegantly and increase the velocity of deployments. Analyst firm, RedMonk, reported in their bi-annual 2016 RedMonk Programming Language Rankings (January 2016), that Go has risen significantly in popularity and ranked 15th by the end of 2015.
So it makes sense that as Go is adopted by companies to modernize services written in other languages or build new applications, those companies want the same level of production visibility into their Go applications as they currently have with applications built with other programming languages.
Which is where New Relic comes in -- using the new functionality, developers can wrap instrumentation and monitoring around their Golang apps using just a few lines of code as an agent within the app.
With New Relic’s support for Go, developers can get started quickly instrumenting and monitoring their applications with New Relic APM. As with New Relic’s other language agents, with just a few lines of code, a Go application will report runtime metrics, transaction tracing and other real-time metrics vital for software teams to understand the health and performance of their Go application. Golang joins Java, .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python and Ruby as supported languages.
For any developer-facing company, there is always the tendency to jump onto the "new shiny thing." Golang is certainly the new shiny thing, so it would be easy to believe that this is more about trend chasing than real utility.
The fact of the matter, however, is that much of New Relic's customer base originates from a bottom-up, developer-first approach. As such, the company needs to ensure that it remains relevant to these developers and retains its air of coolness -- especially important since it is now a significant business, with all the impediments to agility that public listing brings.
Beyond the trends, however, the fact is that Golang is attracting a vehement and vociferous user base that is expanding -- as such it is functionally important for New Relic to be seen to be moving with the puck.
And, if nothing else, it gives Cirne something new to play with!
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