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Guide to key transactions

Key transactions are a way for engineering teams to create custom level monitoring on their most meaningful transactions. The APM monitoring tools of New Relic help you swiftly detect and solve problems before they impact your users by reporting on all transactions. But sometimes the information that is essential to running your digital business isn't the most highly trafficked. This is where key transactions can help you track essential transactions you want to monitor and manage—regardless of the overall application throughput.

Key transactions in practice

Let's think about a scenario where a customer logs in to your e-commerce application to purchase a phone. The customer experiences slow response when they try load the plans page and browse the services. This results in the customer leaving the site and abandoning the purchase. Your PlanService microservice team needs to quickly identify the root cause of this slowdown and fix it to avoid losing more customers.

Your team starts by identifying PlanService's most important business transaction: getPlans (which loads the plans page). Then, you need to make getPlans a key transaction, apply relevant tags, and analyze it within the context of the greater entity ecosystem.

You can learn more about transactions and if your framework supports them in our APM docs.

Tag key transactions

In APM, you can organize and filter the key transactions so you can quickly determine the teams, environments, or the priority levels, by adding a tag to your key transactions. These tags also provide context so you can isolate the issue when you get an alert notification.

Tags are metadata associated with transactions. They're useful for applying to transactions that have things in common. For example, you might apply a checkout tag to all key transactions that are part of the checkout process. Then you can filter by checkout to see all of those transactions in one place.

In our scenario, the PlanService microservice team is trying to identify slowdowns at checkout and they might want to easily filter by environment or accountid so they can identify problems and find fast solutions.

Group key transactions and create alerts

After you've created a key transaction you can increase its visibility by connecting it to our tools and workloads.

Use key transactions in context

After you've created a key transaction, added tags, created workloads, and set up alerts, you can start to analyze your data in context with other entities that you monitor. Once you understand its role within your wider system you can take any additional steps to improve uptime and reliability.

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