Hello Retrace and Prefix Customers!
In case you missed our Q1 survey invitation, I’m Netreo’s Vice President of Product Management. I joined Netreo for the opportunity to create great business solutions and customer experiences. My background – 30+ years in software engineering, engineering management, business operations, management consulting, and entrepreneurship – drives my passion for creating products that solve real business problems and deliver user experiences designed to fit real people’s daily jobs and work flows.
But wearing many hats over the years gives me additional insight. I know that without leveraging solid innovation processes that include customer interactions, product development never reaches its potential. Without customer feedback, even well-conceived products will fall short of expectations.
While we’re still early in our transformational journey, we’re seeing improvements in the operational processes for how we innovate. We hope you are beginning to see the results of that, too! We’ve been working diligently to better understand our current and prospective customers and their needs. With your help, we can improve existing products, develop even better solutions and ensure every Netreo solution delivers a great user experience.
I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to everyone who completed our survey. A couple weeks ago, we held our first, customer-only webinar to talk about what we heard from you and how we’re responding. Here are the top improvements you’re looking for in Retrace and Prefix:
- Logging-related features / Exporting logs
- Comparison reports / Daily/weekly reports
- Alerting enhancements / Time of day conditions for alerts
- More features related to Tracing
- Improvements in stability
- Recurring maintenance windows
- Ability to export APM and metric data
- Container/Serverless UI support
- RUM enhancements
Let’s talk about the progress we’ve made on improvements, based on your input and other requested features.
We introduced Distributed Tracing into our Prefix toolbelt to give developers better insights and troubleshooting into the services they create. The industry continues shifting to cloud-native technologies and agile architectures that utilize multiple services to make up their overall applications. Distributed Tracing in Prefix enables you to see how those services are interacting, identify bottlenecks and which hosts, databases or other services are integral to a request performing smoothly.
We also updated our traces to roll up data and show the root-level spans that make up a transaction. Each top-level span can be expanded to show developers the parent-child requests involved.
By easily seeing what steps a transaction takes from the very start of the journey to the end, developers can ensure optimum performance no matter what services or other dependencies are involved. This is paired with powerful trace details, so within each transaction you not only see the spans, request relationships and methods involved, but also are presented any related logs or errors to help with root cause analysis and issue correlation.
Distributed Tracing is available today for .NET and Java applications, so be sure to try it out in a free trial if you aren’t already using it.
We diligently focus on accommodating popular new technologies, and soon Prefix will have compatibility with M1 machines. We’re in the final stages of testing, so developers who upgraded to M1 machines can use Prefix on PHP applications. Up next will be support for M1 for developers of .NET applications.
We’ve moved our ideas portal into Retrace, so users can proactively submit their ideas for improvements directly from our solution. Customer feedback is a gift, and what better time to offer your ideas for enhancements than while you’re working within Retrace.
Recurring Maintenance Windows
Regular maintenance often leads to alert noise, which can have a negative ripple effect. Retrace Recurring Maintenance Windows now support flexible scheduling to help you eliminate false alerts related to normal maintenance. Added flexibility improves Retrace usability and increases team productivity by enabling users to block unnecessary alerts when systems are down.
Suppressing alerts during regular maintenance also improves the overall quality of alerts. When your team knows that every alert truly represents an issue, then everyone pays close attention to every alert.
Retrace users can now schedule daily, weekly or monthly frequencies for Recurring Maintenance Windows. Users can activate or deactivate maintenance windows for easily managing multiple schedules, and Retrace allows multiple maintenance windows to be scheduled at the same time.
Retrace helps you easily visualize your application’s performance by graphing response times per request. But your application’s response performance can be misleading with outliers in your data set.
Enhanced percentile support enables Retrace users to exclude outlier data sets from application response times and therefore present a more accurate representation of how your application is handling the vast majority of requests. Users can set different percentiles, such as 99, 95 and 90 percent of captured data, to get a more realistic picture of overall app performance.
Retrace translates requests and response times into new histogram charts with drill-down capabilities. Drilling into slow requests provides details for improved troubleshooting and issue resolution. It’s also valuable to drill down into outlier data sets for a better understanding of what is making a request an outlier. Users can also toggle between different data segments to better understand the impact of outliers.
Looking Down the Roadmap
Users generally rely on APM tools to fix application issues in a reactive mode. Retrace is much more than an APM tool and provides high-value features for proactively improving your app performance. Emailed Dashboard Reports are one of these new features in development.
Emailed Dashboard Reports
Although we’re still defining the specifics, our purpose is clear. Emailed Dashboard Reports are a mechanism for providing snapshots of dashboards with trend data on app scores, error rates, satisfaction scores, request times and more. Visibility into trends provides valuable insights on the performance of critical business apps by quickly identifying how apps are performing over time. When apps are trending toward poorer performance, appropriate steps can be taken before impacting users. When apps are trending toward better performance, users can research how that high performance might be replicated in other apps.
As we saw earlier, Trace Improvements was the top result in the survey. We’ll be reaching out for greater detail on specific use cases to refine exactly what gets our highest priorities. If you are interested in providing feedback, please reach out via the ideas portal.
While we already have a limited RUM solution in beta, we’ll be adding support for Single Page Applications, simplified collection of JS errors and other specifics identified by our RUM beta partners.
We’ve heard loud and clear that pricing needs to be clear and bills more predictable. We are actively making improvements to make this a better user experience, and you’ll see more information about this soon.
To all our valued customers, be sure to tune into our customer-only webinars every quarter for in-depth details on product improvements. But you don’t have to wait until fall. Be sure to check in next month for regular posts from my team to see how Netreo is enhancing functionality based on customer input.
Yours in monitoring,