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Case Study: Manheim Scales Up to Meet Major Growth in Online & Mobile Business

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Case Study: Manheim Scales Up to Meet Major Growth in Online & Mobile Business

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Manheim logoIn the world of online auctions, every second counts. And for Manheim’s customers, the stakes are often higher. The company specializes in auction services for registered automobile dealers and is the world’s leading provider of vehicle remarketing services. In 2012 alone, Manheim handled nearly 8 million used vehicles, facilitating transactions representing more than $50 billion in value.

Established in 1945, Manheim is a global company 106 physical locations in 11 countries and a number of digital products including Manheim.com, Simulcast Everywhere and Ove.com. “We’re essentially a business-to-business (B2B) organization,” explains Rick MacConnell, Senior Director of Development at Manheim. “Our online presence serves as an additional buying channel for automotive industry professionals, giving them valuable research tools to determine the current wholesale market value for any given vehicle. If one of our sites is not performing well, we can affect our ability to operate at maximum capacity and properly service our customers.”

The Decision to Use Open Source Technology
MacConnell joined Manheim in 2006. Although his background was mostly in Java, he and his team decided to build Ove.com on open source technology using Ruby. “Time-to-market is very important to us, so it was critical to build applications as quickly as possible,” he says. “Open source gave us that kind of speed, but it lacked the sophisticated monitoring tools that were available in Java. As a result, we learned as we went along, sometimes with less insight into our environment than we would have liked.”

Mobile Presented New Challenges
As use of new consumer technologies grew, Manheim was present with a very different set of challenges. Automotive professionals had become accustomed conducting much of their business on smartphones. To keep us with the demand, Maheim made a major expansion of its mobile capabilities. From 2011 to 2012, mobile visits increased by 368%, from 2 million to 6 million. “The mobile space is a huge opportunity for us in terms of growth,” says MacConnell. “At the same time, these mobile apps also add complexity to our environment. We’re now running on a huge range of components, and that level of complexity can sometimes make it challenging to diagnose problems.”

End-to-End Monitoring Improves Team Communication
Today Manheim relies on New Relic to monitor Manheim.com, Simulcast Everywhere and OVE.com, along with the mobile versions of those properties. The Operations team consults a dashboard to keep an eye on performance, alerting the Development group when an issue emerges. Then engineers use the Transaction Traces feature to dig deeper into the root of a problem. “The Ops team has New Relic up and running all day long,” says MacConnell. “Transaction Traces is a great precision tool for our engineers, because they can sit down and say, ‘OK, we’re making 81 different calls to Memcache, and this one page load is bringing us down.’ So let’s focus on that and fix it.”

And it also gives Manheim’s entire Development group unprecedented visibility into the company’s fast-moving online and mobile environments, providing a common set of tools that all team members know and trust. MacConnell sums it up this way, “Now more than ever, our customers are rapidly taking advantage of our mobile products and capabilities. By partnering with New Relic, we can offer high performance mobile apps to an exponentially growing audience.”

Read the Full Case Study
Read the full case study to see how New Relic helps Manheim scale up and maintain high performance for its online and mobile business.

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