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New Relic vs Splunk: What are the differences?

Introduction:

New Relic and Splunk are both popular tools used for monitoring and managing IT infrastructure and applications. While they have some similarities, there are key differences between the two.

  1. Data Collection and Analysis: New Relic focuses on real-time application performance monitoring and offers easy-to-use, agent-based data collection. It provides deep insights into application performance metrics such as response times, error rates, and throughput. In contrast, Splunk is a log management and analytical tool that can ingest and analyze data from various sources, including logs, metrics, and events. It offers more flexibility in terms of data sources and provides powerful searching and reporting capabilities.

  2. Scope and Use Case: New Relic is primarily designed for monitoring web applications and infrastructure performance. It helps developers and DevOps teams identify performance bottlenecks and optimize their web applications. Splunk, on the other hand, has a broader scope and can be used for different use cases such as IT operations management, security investigation, and business analytics. It allows users to correlate and analyze data from multiple sources to gain actionable insights.

  3. User Interface and Visualization: New Relic offers a user-friendly and intuitive web-based interface with pre-built dashboards and visualizations. It provides out-of-the-box visibility into various performance metrics, making it easy to quickly identify and troubleshoot issues. Splunk's user interface is highly customizable and allows users to create their own dashboards and visualizations using search and reporting tools. It provides more flexibility in terms of data visualization but may require more configuration and expertise to get started.

  4. Alerting and Notification: New Relic provides robust alerting capabilities, allowing users to set up threshold-based alerts and receive notifications via email, SMS, or chat tools. It offers integrations with popular incident management tools for seamless incident response. Splunk also offers alerting and notification features, but it goes beyond threshold-based alerts. Users can create complex alerting rules using search queries and correlation searches to detect anomalies or specific patterns in the data.

  5. Integration with Third-party Tools: New Relic has a wide range of integrations with popular technologies and frameworks used in web application development. It provides plugins and APIs to easily integrate with tools such as Kubernetes, AWS, and Java frameworks. Splunk also offers a rich ecosystem of integrations and has extensive support for various data sources and logging formats. It provides connectors and add-ons for integrating with technologies like AWS, Azure, and popular security tools.

  6. Scalability and Deployment Options: New Relic offers a cloud-based SaaS solution, which simplifies deployment and scalability. It provides automatic scaling and load balancing capabilities, allowing users to handle varying workloads. Splunk offers both on-premises and cloud-based deployment options. It provides more flexibility in terms of deployment models but requires users to manage and scale the infrastructure themselves.

In summary, New Relic focuses on real-time application performance monitoring with a user-friendly interface, while Splunk offers a broader scope with powerful data analysis and visualization capabilities. Their differences lie in the scope of use cases, data collection, analysis capabilities, and deployment options.

Advice on New Relic and Splunk
Needs advice
on
DatadogDatadogNew RelicNew Relic
and
SysdigSysdig

We are looking for a centralised monitoring solution for our application deployed on Amazon EKS. We would like to monitor using metrics from Kubernetes, AWS services (NeptuneDB, AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon EBS, Amazon S3, etc) and application microservice's custom metrics.

We are expected to use around 80 microservices (not replicas). I think a total of 200-250 microservices will be there in the system with 10-12 slave nodes.

We tried Prometheus but it looks like maintenance is a big issue. We need to manage scaling, maintaining the storage, and dealing with multiple exporters and Grafana. I felt this itself needs few dedicated resources (at least 2-3 people) to manage. Not sure if I am thinking in the correct direction. Please confirm.

You mentioned Datadog and Sysdig charges per host. Does it charge per slave node?

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Replies (3)
Recommends
on
DatadogDatadog

Can't say anything to Sysdig. I clearly prefer Datadog as

  • they provide plenty of easy to "switch-on" plugins for various technologies (incl. most of AWS)
  • easy to code (python) agent plugins / api for own metrics
  • brillant dashboarding / alarms with many customization options
  • pricing is OK, there are cheaper options for specific use cases but if you want superior dashboarding / alarms I haven't seen a good competitor (despite your own Prometheus / Grafana / Kibana dog food)

IMHO NewRelic is "promising since years" ;) good ideas but bad integration between their products. Their Dashboard query language is really nice but lacks critical functions like multiple data sets or advanced calculations. Needless to say you get all of that with Datadog.

Need help setting up a monitoring / logging / alarm infrastructure? Send me a message!

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Maik Schröder
Recommends
on
InstanaInstana

Hi Medeti,

you are right. Building based on your stack something with open source is heavy lifting. A lot of people I know start with such a set-up, but quickly run into frustration as they need to dedicated their best people to build a monitoring which is doing the job in a professional way.

As you are microservice focussed and are looking for 'low implementation and maintenance effort', you might want to have a look at INSTANA, which was built with modern tool stacks in mind. https://www.instana.com/apm-for-microservices/

We have a public sand-box available if you just want to have a look at the product once and of course also a free-trial: https://www.instana.com/getting-started-with-apm/

Let me know if you need anything on top.

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Attila Fulop
Management Advisor at artkonekt · | 2 upvotes · 321K views

I have hands on production experience both with New Relic and Datadog. I personally prefer Datadog over NewRelic because of the UI, the Documentation and the overall user/developer experience.

NewRelic however, can do basically the same things as Datadog can, and some of the features like alerting have been present in NewRelic for longer than in Datadog. The cool thing about NewRelic is their last-summer-updated pricing: you no longer pay per host but after data you send towards New Relic. This can be a huge cost saver depending on your particular setup

https://docs.newrelic.com/docs/accounts/accounts-billing/new-relic-one-pricing-billing/new-relic-one-pricing-billing

I'd go for Datadog, but given you have lots of containers I would also make a cost calculation. If the price difference is significant and there's a budget constraint NewRelic might be the better choice.

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Decisions about New Relic and Splunk
Attila Fulop

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
Principal Engineer at Sqreen · | 4 upvotes · 419.1K 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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Pros of New Relic
Pros of Splunk
  • 415
    Easy setup
  • 344
    Really powerful
  • 245
    Awesome visualization
  • 194
    Ease of use
  • 151
    Great ui
  • 106
    Free tier
  • 80
    Great tool for insights
  • 66
    Heroku Integration
  • 55
    Market leader
  • 49
    Peace of mind
  • 21
    Push notifications
  • 20
    Email notifications
  • 17
    Heroku Add-on
  • 16
    Error Detection and Alerting
  • 13
    Multiple language support
  • 11
    SQL Analysis
  • 11
    Server Resources Monitoring
  • 9
    Transaction Tracing
  • 8
    Apdex Scores
  • 8
    Azure Add-on
  • 7
    Analysis of CPU, Disk, Memory, and Network
  • 7
    Detailed reports
  • 6
    Performance of External Services
  • 6
    Error Analysis
  • 6
    Application Availability Monitoring and Alerting
  • 6
    Application Response Times
  • 5
    Most Time Consuming Transactions
  • 5
    JVM Performance Analyzer (Java)
  • 4
    Browser Transaction Tracing
  • 4
    Top Database Operations
  • 4
    Easy to use
  • 3
    Application Map
  • 3
    Weekly Performance Email
  • 3
    Pagoda Box integration
  • 3
    Custom Dashboards
  • 2
    Easy to setup
  • 2
    Background Jobs Transaction Analysis
  • 2
    App Speed Index
  • 1
    Super Expensive
  • 1
    Team Collaboration Tools
  • 1
    Metric Data Retention
  • 1
    Metric Data Resolution
  • 1
    Worst Transactions by User Dissatisfaction
  • 1
    Real User Monitoring Overview
  • 1
    Real User Monitoring Analysis and Breakdown
  • 1
    Time Comparisons
  • 1
    Access to Performance Data API
  • 1
    Incident Detection and Alerting
  • 1
    Best of the best, what more can you ask for
  • 1
    Best monitoring on the market
  • 1
    Rails integration
  • 1
    Free
  • 0
    Proce
  • 0
    Price
  • 0
    Exceptions
  • 0
    Cost
  • 3
    API for searching logs, running reports
  • 3
    Alert system based on custom query results
  • 2
    Dashboarding on any log contents
  • 2
    Custom log parsing as well as automatic parsing
  • 2
    Ability to style search results into reports
  • 2
    Query engine supports joining, aggregation, stats, etc
  • 2
    Splunk language supports string, date manip, math, etc
  • 2
    Rich GUI for searching live logs
  • 1
    Query any log as key-value pairs
  • 1
    Granular scheduling and time window support

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Cons of New Relic
Cons of Splunk
  • 20
    Pricing model doesn't suit microservices
  • 10
    UI isn't great
  • 7
    Expensive
  • 7
    Visualizations aren't very helpful
  • 5
    Hard to understand why things in your app are breaking
  • 1
    Splunk query language rich so lots to learn

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What is New Relic?

The world’s best software and DevOps teams rely on New Relic to move faster, make better decisions and create best-in-class digital experiences. If you run software, you need to run New Relic. More than 50% of the Fortune 100 do too.

What is Splunk?

It provides the leading platform for Operational Intelligence. Customers use it to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine data.

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What are some alternatives to New Relic and Splunk?
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!
AppDynamics
AppDynamics develops application performance management (APM) solutions that deliver problem resolution for highly distributed applications through transaction flow monitoring and deep diagnostics.
Airbrake
Airbrake collects errors for your applications in all major languages and frameworks. We alert you to new errors and give you critical context, trends and details needed to find and fix errors fast.
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.
Sentry
Sentry’s Application Monitoring platform helps developers see performance issues, fix errors faster, and optimize their code health.
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