Minimizing downtime and optimizing system performance isn't an option for modern enterprises but a necessity. Failing to monitor IT infrastructure can lead to network outages, unstable applications, and other issues that jeopardize business performance.
Datadog and Prometheus are two application performance monitoring (APM) tools that ensure applications are reliable and function properly. In this post, we review both of these tools based on their features, capabilities, pricing, and other factors.
Datadog is an APM tool that monitors logs, gathers requests, and provides a 360-degree overview of how well your infrastructure performs. IT and DevOps use Datadog to monitor databases, servers, cloud services, and other components of their IT architecture, with the tool serving as a single source of truth for performance metrics.
Prometheus also collects performance metric data, helping you monitor your infrastructure. The APM tool generates insights into system behavior, allowing IT and DevOps teams to identify issues quickly and prevent these problems from impacting the health of their systems.
The main difference between Datadog and Prometheus is that the former has features for your entire monitoring workflow, such as security monitoring, network monitoring, cloud management, and log management. It's a SaaS tool with a simple user interface that manages almost every incident your DevOps team will come across.
Prometheus is an open-source tool that gathers time-series data and presents it as metrics, providing insights into system behavior. This tool doesn't have the scope of Datadog when it comes to specific monitoring use cases, such as network monitoring and log management. That said, its time series capabilities let you identify system issues over time.
With Datadog, you can benefit from scalable log ingestion and filter and view log data from a single control panel. You can also monitor your networks and view traffic on a dashboard as it moves between different servers, containers, and availability zones. Some of the network monitoring metrics you can access include latency, connection churns, and TCP/IP statistics.
Datadog lets you view your monitoring workflow on a single dashboard, which increases observability — awareness of what is happening with your infrastructure. You can trace end-to-end requests, track log data, monitor user journeys, and access different reports from a centralized location.
You can create your own dashboard that displays the metrics with the most value. Choose the custom metrics you want team members to view when they log into the tool.
You can set up custom notifications for your IT and DevOps teams when Datadog identifies issues with your infrastructure, allowing them to rectify these issues quickly. This type of proactive monitoring can prevent issues like network outages from threatening your business.
You can view monitoring data via reports, charts, graphs, and other visualizations, which helps your team identify patterns and trends in that data.
You can share insights generated by Datadog with anyone you like with a few clicks of a mouse. For example, you can send system events data to a particular DevOps engineer.
The biggest benefit of Prometheus is that it gathers monitoring data and stores it as time-series data, which can help you identify issues that impact your systems over time. For example, view system outages over a specific period and work out why these problems keep occurring.
Prometheus offers a functional query language called PromQL, which lets you aggregate time-series data in real-time. You can view this data on a graph, in Prometheus' expression browser, or in external systems via the tool's HTTP API.
You'll receive instant alerts when Prometheus is unable to receive data from an endpoint, suggesting a network outage. These alerts will allow your team to quickly fix the outage and restore business operations.
While Prometheus' data visualizations are far more limited than those on Datadog, you can integrate the APM tool with the open-source tool Grafana and view monitoring data on charts, graphs, and reports.
Datadog integrates with hundreds of third-party tools, including Docker, Kubernetes, and Amazon Web Services. You can also create your own integrations and APIs and access programming libraries and software development kits (SDKs).
Prometheus integrates with fewer platforms than Datadog but can still connect with data sources, messaging systems, storage systems, and APIs. Some of the most popular integrations are Kubernetes, MySQL, AWS, and Grafana.
You can set up the Datadog monitoring solution on Windows, Kubernetes, Ubuntu, macOS, and Linux, as well as other platforms. Signing up for a new account and installing the Datadog agent on a host is relatively easy.
Prometheus has more of a steep learning curve than Datadog. Perhaps the easiest way to set up the APM tool is in a Kubernetes cluster. However, you'll need a tool that automates the deployment of Kubernetes applications such as Helm.
Datadog has a pay-as-you-use pricing model, where you pay separately for features such as real user monitoring (RUM), app security, and log management and analytics. For example, RUM prices are $0.00225/session. You can try out Datadog's features with a free 15-day trial.
Prometheus is an open-source tool, which means it's free to use. However, you might want to pay a third-party vendor for hosted Prometheus services, as this tool can be complicated to manage.
We think Datadog and Prometheus are both useful for application performance monitoring. However, Datadog is a better fit for companies that want to monitor their entire DevOps workflows and generate insights about log management, security monitoring, and network monitoring. The Prometheus monitoring system, on the other hand, uses time-series data to provide insights about system behavior, which might be useful when monitoring other aspects of your IT infrastructure isn't a priority.
For more guidance on which of these monitoring tools is best for you, reach out to us at Adservio for personalized support and guidance.