Monitoring tools have come a long way since the early days of Big Brother. Today's solutions have evolved into powerful software troubleshooting and performance analytics platforms capable of deconstructing and analyzing the entire application stack—infrastructure up—for bugs and issues. Datadog and New Relic are leading vendors in this category; let's take a look at the two and see how they stack up.
The two are commonly referred to as application performance monitoring (APM) tools, since most web offerings monitored these days are multi-tiered applications. Contemporary developers and operators therefore need monitoring and analysis capabilities for all layers of the application: cloud servers, databases, middleware, and any 3rd party integration points. Both Datadog and New Relic ensure optimal website/web app availability and performance through comprehensive end user monitoring, application monitoring, and server monitoring capabilities.
Datadog launched in 2011 as a SaaS-based monitoring service for web applications. The platform has since expanded to include infrastructure management and network monitoring capabilities as well as monitoring for both web and mobile apps. Using an agent-based architecture, it can monitor 100s of different OSes, web apps, containers, cloud hosts, and the like. Custom agents can also be written for custom use cases.
Information is displayed via a series of graphs, charts, and rolling timelines, allowing enterprise cloud adopters to monitor their cloud infrastructures for efficiency and performance visually.
New Relic's footprint in the APM space has been gradually expanding over the years since its founding in 2008. It was the first to offer a SaaS-based APM product and has won many over for its developer-focused strategy. The platform also gained a bit of attention back in 2013 when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services used it to troubleshoot the Healthcare.gov website meltdown.
The solution is a real-time monitoring platform for web and mobile applications that runs in cloud (public or hybrid) or on-premise in traditional data centers. Moving forward, the company plans on moving past monitoring to provide more operational insights to drive strategic decision-making.
Side-by-Side Scoring: Datadog vs. New Relic
1. Capability Set
Both monitoring platforms offer strong APM and reporting capabilities rolled up in a streamlined dashboard. When it comes to capability set, however, Datadog is strong on infrastructure monitoring and metrics/logs while New Relic shines brighter for monitoring applications. In general, though, New Relic is considered a better "jack-of-all-trades" APM solution.
2. Ease of Use
Both platforms sport intuitive web interfaces that make them easy to get up-to-speed with. Datadog is widely lauded for its straightforward UI and quick dashboard creation capabilities while New Relic's application troubleshooting tools are trivial to learn. In general, both solutions excel at presenting data to users in an understandable format, making it easier to diagnose performance issues and gain operational insights. When it comes to installation, however, Datadog requires some command line scripting for its Windows/Mac installs and its agent installations have been known to be problematic upon setup.
3. Community Support
Datadog is highly active in its community-building efforts and maintains a repository of APIs, libraries, and community contributions in support of its platform. New Relic also possesses a myriad of community forums and other resources—both vendor-maintained and grassroots efforts—for supporting its platform. Its New Relic Community Site features events/meetups, blogs, support via social channels, and other community resources.
4. Release Rate
Both Datadog and New Relic are born-in-the-cloud SaaS applications that are continuously updated. Despite being founded in 2011, Datadog launched its first product in 2013; New Relic was founded in 2008 and has seen regular releases since then. In 2013, New Relic launched an open SaaS platform for developers to deploy or build their own custom plugins to the New Relic Dashboard.
5. Pricing and Support
Both Datadog and New Relic are reasonably priced with a low barrier to entry. New Relic APMs lowest plan charges on a per-host per-month basis at a metered rate of $0.10/hour, which comes out to 750 hours of host run-time per-month as a fully-scaled host. This pricing schema is more difficult to cost and pricier than Datadog's lowest paid plan of $15 per-host per month for up to 500 hosts. Both vendors offer comprehensive support options with free/paid options for online and phone support.
6. API and Extensibility
The two platform's rich RESTful APIs are what truly make them shine as modern, extensible SaaS solutions. New Relic's API lets you access data directly from their products, while its REST API Explorer lets you browse available API endpoints, interact with the API through a user interface, and view a live documentation source. Similarly, Datadogs's REST API make it easy to get data in and out of the platform, but its API tools are not as sophisticated as New Relic's.
7. 3rd Party Integrations
Both platforms features a long list of integrations with popular 3rd party solutions; actually, the two share quite a bit a common: VictorOps, Bitium, Slack, PagerDuty, and more. New Relic even lists Datadog amongst its list of integration partners.
8. Companies that Use It
New Relic and Datadog are widely used among both startups and enterprises, and their customer lists certainly reflect this broad range. New Relic claims it has more than 11,000 customers including Runkeeper, Tableau, Nike, Gawker Media, ESPN, and Sony, among others. Some companies using Datadog include Adobe, Samsung, Facebook, HP Cloud Services, Electronic Arts, and Spotify.
9. Learning Curve
Both platforms have been designed for ease-of-use in mind, allowing users to quickly go from account setup to seeing the health of their entire application stack. A plethora of vendor-supplied and community resources for getting up to speed certainly helps, as do the heap of training video available for both products.
10. Security Rating
Scoreboard and Summary
Both platforms are competent SaaS-based monitoring platforms known for their vast array of integrations and customization options. In general, New Relic considered more of a DevOps tool and heavy on the application side of affairs: your quintessential APM product. In contrast, Datadog's ideal user base—admins, operators, and the like—will appreciate the platform's strengths as a highly-extensible IT monitoring service. Unsurprisingly, the two work well together and implementing the pair as complementary platforms is certainly a viable option as well.