datadog versus prometheus tool comparison.
Image: monstArrr_, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Network downtime can create significant issues for companies and their customers, but the right monitoring tools can reduce such instances. This feature comparison takes a look at two good network monitoring solutions — Datadog and Prometheus — to help guide your purchasing decisions.

SEE: Hiring kit: Network administrator (TechRepublic Premium)

What is Datadog?

Datadog is a monitoring tool for cloud applications, third-party services and infrastructure. Its features include error tracking, log management and user experience details, helping clients use that data to improve app performance.

What is Prometheus?

Prometheus primarily provides real-time application monitoring with time-series data. It uses a dimensional model that makes the information identifiable with key-value pairs and metric names. Prometheus pulls data from defined endpoints, and clients can use that information to gauge app performance.

Datadog vs. Prometheus: How are these network monitoring products similar?

Both of these products have monitoring dashboards that help users access reliable information about current app performance and possible anomalies.

Datadog and Prometheus also offer integration capabilities, helping you use them with other products and services. Datadog currently has more than 500 integrations. The Prometheus site does not mention a specific number of integrations. However, it says that not all of them are listed there, and some are still in development.

Both of these products also have alerting capabilities. They allow users to specify what conditions should trigger alerts, then choose the notification method for the relevant parties. In addition, Prometheus enables users to have screenshots sent along with notifications if they set the delivery method to email.

SEE: CRM Software: Choosing the Right CRM for Your Business (TechRepublic)

Datadog vs. Prometheus: How do these network monitoring products differ?

One of the main things to keep in mind is that Datadog offers substantially more in-depth monitoring for enterprises. For example, people can monitor how apps perform on specific devices or within certain infrastructures.

The Datadog business model also emphasizes that users can achieve better visibility for any app or software stack. Perhaps you’re part of an industry that relies heavily on field service agents and currently uses an app to streamline workflow. Datadog can monitor apps like that, along with countless others. It recently began offering security-based monitoring services as well.

Another major difference between the two products is that Prometheus is a free and open source tool, whereas Datadog is a proprietary product with two premium tiers and a complementary plan. However, you can get a free trial of Datadog, which should make it easier to decide if you want to pay for some of its services.

The deployment options for Datadog and Prometheus also differ. Datadog operates solely through the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Thus, the product runs on Datadog’s servers, and users access it by creating accounts. Prometheus is a downloadable product for either Windows or Linux. There is also at least one company offering a hosted Prometheus package that comes with storage space and customizations that help clients scale how they use the product.

The way you get tech support while using these products differs, too. Since Datadog is a SaaS product, it has a customer support team that operates through phone and email. On the other hand, the support options for Prometheus are noncommercial, such as a community forum and a documentation database.

Datadog vs. Prometheus: What are the potential downsides?

Datadog does not support certain file formats, including .xml, .json and .csv. People also say they wish there was more transparency about monthly billing and that Datadog offered a notification feature to prevent unintentional actions that increase bills.

Users also say that some of the documentation is outdated or not clear, particularly regarding using Datadog with integrations. Relatedly, people note that since Datadog has so many features, the initial setup can be a bit overwhelming. Many users advise that people who are just starting to use the product should set aside time for training. And some users say that troubleshooting an issue, whether in the early phases or later, is not always straightforward and could be easier.

Prometheus has its own query language. Although people typically like it once they get the hang of it, some users say the learning curve for getting to that point was steeper than expected.

Similarly, some people who use Prometheus say the initial setup and configuration takes time. They note that there is not much out-of-the-box functionality, so clients should plan to go through the necessary processes slowly and not try to rush.

Despite these negative aspects, most people who used and reviewed Prometheus and Datadog have high opinions overall, saying that the monitoring capabilities improved their workflows and provided better visibility.

Are you ready to use a network monitoring platform?

This Datadog vs. Prometheus breakdown should help you get off to a strong start while researching these two application-monitoring options. Before finalizing your decision to use one of them, think about your company’s resources and goals.

It’s also wise to consider how much time you can devote to the setup and tweaking of the product. Ironing out details like those makes it easier to decide which product more closely aligns with your company’s needs and what your leaders expect from their tech solutions.

Subscribe to the Developer Insider Newsletter

From the hottest programming languages to commentary on the Linux OS, get the developer and open source news and tips you need to know. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays

Subscribe to the Developer Insider Newsletter

From the hottest programming languages to commentary on the Linux OS, get the developer and open source news and tips you need to know. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays