The crash and instability of the HealthCare.gov site at its rollout in 2013 was the nightmare scenario that keeps every IT professional up at night. While there was not a single, smoking-gun issue (it was a combination of many commonplace IT issues), there did prove to be a key solution: Application Performance Monitoring (APM).
As has been widely reported, New Relic was brought in to provide APM support in the HealthCare.gov war room. The software was able to send data to New Relic’s own servers, which then generated analytics reports on issues such as the amount of time it takes web pages to load, database errors and database response times. The information contained in the reports was presented as a color-coded dashboard accessible via the web. These reports helped baseline user experience and pinpointed the key areas of concern.