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Grindr rolls out New Relic in ‘comprehensive lifestyle’ push

How many API calls does it take to keep 1 million users a day happy?

Grindr is rolling out New Relic’s platform into its production environment as it looks to become a fully fledged “comprehensive lifestyle resource” for gay men and the men who want to meet them.

The hookup app turned lifestyle resource has been using New Relic's software analytics platform in its dev operation. The dating company has been something of a poster child for DevOps, ticking all the right boxes - scaling fast, running an open source stack on AWS and managing its engineers in small teams that are then deluged with with free food.

New Relic, in a blog posted on its site, gave a fascinating insight into exactly how much tech horsepower it takes to keep a substantial proportion of what Grindr’s founder describes as “gay, bi or greedy men” happy - from a tech point of view at least.

According to the blog, over the last few years CTO Lukas Sliwka has replaced home-grown components with “superior out-of-the-box solutions” such as Elasticsearch, Redis, Akka, and Apache Zookeeper.

This all supports around a million users active at any given minute, with 85 million chat messages and three million images being swapped every day, adding up to around a billion API calls. Which would result in an awful lot of unhappy chappies should the site go down.

According to Sliwka, the company needed to expand its performance monitoring beyond just its own stack. “If I looked at the different APIs or business transactions, I wasn’t able to actually click on them and drill into what was really going on.”

He said he was especially excited by the “layer cake” of visual data that New Relic could create, allowing engineers to reduce troubleshooting time, “even in the most severe cases”, to less than 30 minutes. So, after around six months using New Relic in development, the platform was now being rolled out to production as well.

Which should help Grindr CEO Joel Simkhai in his bid to “utilize the geospatial technologies and machine learning that we have developed to enable a more holistic experience for our users.” ®

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