Amazon CloudWatch vs Datadog

Amazon CloudWatch
Amazon CloudWatch

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Datadog
Datadog

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Amazon CloudWatch vs Datadog: What are the differences?

What is Amazon CloudWatch? Monitor AWS resources and custom metrics generated by your applications and services. With Amazon CloudWatch, you gain system-wide visibility into resource utilization, application performance, and operational health. Programmatically retrieve your monitoring data, view graphs, and set alarms to help you troubleshoot, spot trends, and take automated action based on the state of your cloud environment.

What is Datadog? Unify logs, metrics, and traces from across your distributed infrastructure. Datadog is the leading service for cloud-scale monitoring. It is used by IT, operations, and development teams who build and operate applications that run on dynamic or hybrid cloud infrastructure. Start monitoring in minutes with Datadog!.

Amazon CloudWatch belongs to "Cloud Monitoring" category of the tech stack, while Datadog can be primarily classified under "Performance Monitoring".

Some of the features offered by Amazon CloudWatch are:

  • Basic Monitoring for Amazon EC2 instances: ten pre-selected metrics at five-minute frequency, free of charge.
  • Detailed Monitoring for Amazon EC2 instances: seven pre-selected metrics at one-minute frequency, for an additional charge.
  • Amazon EBS volumes: eight pre-selected metrics at five-minute frequency, free of charge.

On the other hand, Datadog provides the following key features:

  • 14-day Free Trial for an unlimited number of hosts
  • 200+ turn-key integrations for data aggregation
  • Clean graphs of StatsD and other integrations

"Monitor aws resources" is the primary reason why developers consider Amazon CloudWatch over the competitors, whereas "Monitoring for many apps (databases, web servers, etc)" was stated as the key factor in picking Datadog.

According to the StackShare community, Amazon CloudWatch has a broader approval, being mentioned in 706 company stacks & 321 developers stacks; compared to Datadog, which is listed in 532 company stacks and 213 developer stacks.

Decisions about Amazon CloudWatch and Datadog
Attila Fulop
Attila Fulop
Team Leader at Artkonekt · | 3 upvotes · 3.7K views

I haven't heard much about Datadog until about a year ago. Ironically, the NewRelic sales person who I had a series of trainings with was trash talking about Datadog a lot. That drew my attention to Datadog and I gave it a try at another client project where we needed log handling, dashboards and alerting.

In 2019, Datadog was already offering log management and from that perspective, it was ahead of NewRelic. Other than that, from my perspective, the two tools are offering a very-very similar set of tools. Therefore I wouldn't say there's a significant difference between the two, the decision is likely a matter of taste. The pricing is also very similar.

The reasons why we chose Datadog over NewRelic were:

  • The presence of log handling feature (since then, logging is GA at NewRelic as well since falls 2019).
  • The setup was easier even though I already had experience with NewRelic, including participation in NewRelic trainings.
  • The UI of Datadog is more compact and my experience is smoother.
  • The NewRelic UI is very fragmented and New Relic One is just increasing this experience for me.
  • The log feature of Datadog is very well designed, I find very useful the tagging logs with services. The log filtering is also very awesome.

Bottom line is that both tools are great and it makes sense to discover both and making the decision based on your use case. In our case, Datadog was the clear winner due to its UI, ease of setup and the awesome logging and alerting features.

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Benoit Larroque
Benoit Larroque
Principal Engineer at Sqreen · | 2 upvotes · 397 views

I chose Datadog APM because the much better APM insights it provides (flamegraph, percentiles by default).

The drawbacks of this decision are we had to move our production monitoring to TimescaleDB + Telegraf instead of NR Insight

NewRelic is definitely easier when starting out. Agent is only a lib and doesn't require a daemon

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What is Amazon CloudWatch?

It helps you gain system-wide visibility into resource utilization, application performance, and operational health. It retrieve your monitoring data, view graphs to help take automated action based on the state of your cloud environment.

What is Datadog?

Datadog is the leading service for cloud-scale monitoring. It is used by IT, operations, and development teams who build and operate applications that run on dynamic or hybrid cloud infrastructure. Start monitoring in minutes with Datadog!
Why do developers choose Amazon CloudWatch?
Why do developers choose Datadog?

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    What are some alternatives to Amazon CloudWatch and Datadog?
    Splunk
    It provides the leading platform for Operational Intelligence. Customers use it to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine data.
    New Relic
    New Relic is the all-in-one web application performance tool that lets you see performance from the end user experience, through servers, and down to the line of application code.
    Prometheus
    Prometheus is a systems and service monitoring system. It collects metrics from configured targets at given intervals, evaluates rule expressions, displays the results, and can trigger alerts if some condition is observed to be true.
    AWS CloudTrail
    With CloudTrail, you can get a history of AWS API calls for your account, including API calls made via the AWS Management Console, AWS SDKs, command line tools, and higher-level AWS services (such as AWS CloudFormation). The AWS API call history produced by CloudTrail enables security analysis, resource change tracking, and compliance auditing. The recorded information includes the identity of the API caller, the time of the API call, the source IP address of the API caller, the request parameters, and the response elements returned by the AWS service.
    Amazon Kinesis
    Amazon Kinesis can collect and process hundreds of gigabytes of data per second from hundreds of thousands of sources, allowing you to easily write applications that process information in real-time, from sources such as web site click-streams, marketing and financial information, manufacturing instrumentation and social media, and operational logs and metering data.
    See all alternatives
    Interest over time
    Reviews of Amazon CloudWatch and Datadog
    Review ofDatadogDatadog

    Background

    We're a real-time financial services messaging company, so being able to monitor our servers and applications in real-time is important to us. We also like a good deal, so $15/server seemed a bargain.

    What were we looking for?

    We wanted to monitor our MS infrastructure (servers, SQL) and apps (C#) to understand performance issues and be able to rectify. We also want to be able to do long-term trending. And we wanted to go from nothing to live in a short time.

    Experience

    Installing the Datadog agent on the servers was a breeze and enabling the integrations for SQL and Windows trivial.

    Using the StatsD based API was also very easy - no worrying about JSON or UDP calls. The ability to add tags to all metrics is also a key benefit. We run multiple (100+) instances of a single application and being able to distinguish events from each one via tagging, or to see aggregates, is extremely useful.

    In all it took 2 days R&D to instrument our key applications sufficiently for production deployment. Deploying the agent to our production servers took 30 mins, giving our Ops team complete visibility for the 1st time.

    What have we learned

    Since we've been live Datadog has given us numerous insights into the way our system behaves, from uneven server loadings and sporadic memory usage to performance tuning a key application that resulted in a 50% increase in throughput. Knowing what's taking the time has been a boon.

    Continuous evolution

    The other nice surprise has been the evolving nature of Datadog. It seems like every couple of weeks there's a new feature on the site.

    Other points

    • I like the transparent pricing. Services that won't show me the price without having to talk to a sales person are really annoying.
    • Support has been good. We've contacted them several times with questions and always had a quick response (time zone considered...we're in London) and a helpful answer.

    So What's bad?

    Probably the weakest aspect at the moment is the long term trending of data. Whilst you can wind the time bar back to see what happened last week you can't ask questions like "show me the peak period each day for the last x months". The "get data" API is also fairly weak. Neither are concerns at the moment, and I'm sure they're on the to-do list.

    Review ofDatadogDatadog

    I've been a systems administrator most of my career. Everywhere I went, I'd have to rebuild the same monitoring + graphing system. And then make sure that every machine wrote to that system and every application handed up the proper metrics through whatever mechanism seemed good at the time.

    Then, as CTO of SimpleReach, single-handedly managing over 200 servers in addition to everything else, I found Datadog. We were already using statsd to instrument our applications, now it was just a matter of getting that data to Datadog. We use Chef, so I installed the Datadog agent on every machine in about 10 minutes and we were up and running.

    The best part was that we had a deploy problem the next day with one of our main applications and troubleshooting took minutes instead of hours (and Datadog immediately paid for itself). Now no new features go out without instrumentation and no machine gets created without being monitored.

    Datadog just scales with us. Great service and I highly recommend it to anyone not looking to reinvent the wheel with monitoring and instrumentation.

    Review ofDatadogDatadog

    Datadog makes running a service with 800,000 unique users a month possible as a single developer/maintainer. I bought a separate monitor just to keep my datadog dashboards always visible and rely on triggers to keep watch over 20+ servers.

    Highly recommended.

    Review ofDatadogDatadog

    We use datadog to monitor our servers and some application metrics. Easy to get started and scale to many servers. Datadog support engineers are always quick to respond to bugs and other challenges.

    How developers use Amazon CloudWatch and Datadog
    Avatar of DigitalPermits
    DigitalPermits uses DatadogDatadog

    We just started looking into Datadog, but from what we see, it's like New Relic meets Loggly. It's really easy to plugin different services (like the one on this list) and get detailed analysis of what is happening on your servers and services. It makes tracking down sparse and difficult to understand problems possible.

    Avatar of CloudRepo
    CloudRepo uses Amazon CloudWatchAmazon CloudWatch

    If you have a single server, checking log files is as easy as SSHing to it and viewing logs. When you move to the container world, with many servers, you need a place to aggregate and search through all of your logs. CloudWatch provides us with this and it was trivial to setup.

    Avatar of Sail Tactics
    Sail Tactics uses DatadogDatadog

    Monitoring day-to-day operations of multiple high-performance computing assets distributed across several networks. Monitoring vendor provided data and setting up alerts when things do not show up on time.

    Avatar of AngeloR
    AngeloR uses DatadogDatadog

    Datadog was used as an agent for monitoring and as for the statsd daemon included. This way we are able to have automated system stats and include whatever other metrics we want to track.

    Avatar of Volkan Özçelik
    Volkan Özçelik uses Amazon CloudWatchAmazon CloudWatch

    CloudWatch is “on by default” in Amazon. And by just configuring a few alarms you can have a near-zero-cost monitoring service of your own.

    Avatar of Dynamictivity
    Dynamictivity uses DatadogDatadog

    Datadog is used because it has a great free tier and it provides us with great insights and integrations into our infrastructure and tools.

    Avatar of Flux Work
    Flux Work uses DatadogDatadog

    Powerful all-in-one monitoring solution as a service. Good integration with AWS. Very affordable price for small-scale startups.

    Avatar of Bùi Thanh
    Bùi Thanh uses Amazon CloudWatchAmazon CloudWatch
    • Collect metrics for Grafana.
    • Alerts for AutoScale.
    • Centralized-logging: rds, ec2, app logs with CloudWatch Log
    Avatar of Promethean TV
    Promethean TV uses Amazon CloudWatchAmazon CloudWatch

    CloudWatch is used to monitor various aspects of our production infrastructure deployed at Amazon.

    Avatar of Banyan
    Banyan uses Amazon CloudWatchAmazon CloudWatch

    CloudWatch is used to monitor our servers on AWS including our EC2, RDS and ElastiCache.

    How much does Amazon CloudWatch cost?
    How much does Datadog cost?
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