Datadog and Splunk cover a lot of ground, as application performance monitoring (APM) tools. Both offer extensive monitoring and in-depth data analysis. Buyers looking for a high-quality performance monitoring platform will likely find both on their list of strong candidates.
However, there are as many differences as there are similarities between these two solutions. In short, they are very different products that will attract buyers with different goals in mind. Here’s a look at both, how they stack up, and their ideal use cases.
Datadog vs. Splunk: Key Features Comparison
The Splunk platform allows you to search, network monitoringand analyze large amounts of IT data to identify data patterns, provide metrics, diagnose problems, and aid IT and business decision making.
To understand the scope of Splunk: Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) it can be considered only a small part of its arsenal of functions. Beyond security, includes APM, compliance, automation, orchestration, forensics, as well as many functions related to IT service management (ITSM) and IT operations management (ITOM)
Datadog focuses more on cloud monitoring and security. Provides the ability to see inside any stack or application at any scale, anywhere. Infrastructure monitoring, APM, log management, device monitoring, cloud workload monitoring, and database monitoring are included in its feature set. As you can see, there are certainly large areas of overlap. But Datadog falls short of calling itself a full SIEM, ITSM, or ITOM platform.
Digging deeper into both tools, the best way to differentiate them is how they operate. The Splunk app takes a log management approach, making it ideal for managing and monitoring the large amount of data generated by devices running on the network. Datadog, on the other hand, takes a more analytics-oriented approach to monitoring. Therefore, IT and DevOps teams tend to favor Datadog in addressing cloud and infrastructure performance.
While Splunk comes across as a complete platform to handle all things SIEM, security, and ITOM, Datadog is happy to serve a smaller subset of the market. In fact, you’re very keen to integrate with other IT and security management tools, while Splunk wants to be king of the mountain.
Therefore, the existing stack of security and management tools should be considered before deciding between Splunk and Datadog. Those with outdated tools that need a complete overhaul should probably gravitate towards Splunk due to its much broader feature set. Those who only need APM and some analytics should favor Datadog and update other toolkits in parallel.
Another way to differentiate them is by looking at what you want to address. Generally speaking, Datadog monitors the performance of servers, databasesand infrastructure. Splunk is more focused on monitoring and analyzing data generated by various machines, converting it so that it can be analyzed by developers. Therefore, Splunk is excellent for analyzing the large number of log files generated by business systems. Eliminate the need for IT to spend hours sifting through all logs for that performance needle in the IT haystack. It uses search processing language to find terms present in log files. Datadog, on the other hand, is probably best when it comes to dealing with the performance and visibility of multiple cloud providers operating on the network and managing cloud services.
A great strength of Splunk and a key differentiator is its ability to integrate data streams from a large number of sources. It supports a wide range of data formats, such as .xml, .csv, and .json files. Those with needs that require such data stream integration of multiple data formats should opt for Splunk, as Datadog offers little support in this regard.
That being said, Datadog users will start running much faster than Splunk. Due to Splunk’s size and complexity, it requires a higher level of trained internal resources as well as vendor support to implement and operate. Installation and commissioning of Datadog are straightforward. And it’s much easier to customize dashboards and interfaces using Datadog than it is with Splunk. Datadog seems to have a philosophy that we will adjust to whatever way you do things, while Splunk is more geared towards providing access to a large amount of monitoring data if you agree to follow their methodology.
Datadog vs. Splunk: Management
Splunk’s wide range of products and features is added to the Splunk Observability Suite. The platform can be used to analyze, ingest and store data for later use, as well as to detect problems affecting customers. Overall, it offers a breadth of management that Datadog doesn’t try to compete with.
Those who want to manage all information and security events (SIEM) or all IT operations (ITOM) or all IT services (ITSM) will find Splunk to be much more comprehensive than Datadog. Overall, Splunk spans much more of the IT landscape than Datadog. Splunk’s comprehensive approach certainly benefits companies that choose it. For example, Splunk offers a host of real-time visualization and analytics capabilities that Datadog cannot compete with. If real-time monitoring and management are vital, then these issues are not a challenge.
However, while Splunk indisputably gains in management breadth, Datadog excels in depth, at least in a limited feature set. Purely within APM and cloud services, Datadog offers better drilldown and general management capabilities. Plus, it handles itself better. While Splunk relies on IT to detect and fix Splunk-related problems, Datadog generates alerts about actual or potential problems within itself and helps IT identify underlying problems.
Datadog vs. Splunk: Prices
It is well known that Splunk is not a low cost option. Once it rose to become a SIEM and ITSM darling a few years ago, it set its prices accordingly. The various Splunk modules also have a reputation for being expensive.
Also, upsells can make the budget much higher, that is, if you want to SIEM module. If you need performance monitoring that adds an APM module and slowly other modules are introduced and the price goes up. This is quite normal for YOU. But when it comes to an expensive rig already, it’s important to determine what you really need and what you can do without.
For example, Splunk offers a host of real-time visualization and analysis capabilities that Datadog doesn’t. If real-time monitoring and management are vital, then Splunk is the best option. But it comes at a price.
Real-time monitoring sounds great, but not everyone needs it enough to pay this premium. Datadog skips real time and is considerably cheaper than its great rival. When it comes to implementation and support, Datadog also stands out in terms of keeping costs low. Splunk implementation and support costs may increase as the software is deployed.
Datadog vs. Splunk: conclusion
Splunk and Datadog are excellent tools designed to solve a host of challenges related to security and performance monitoring. You can’t go too wrong with either one. They are both strong in APM. In fact, both are considered leaders in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for APM. Both also offer many advanced features for your money that go way beyond APM. And both are pioneers when it comes to innovation and future roadmaps.
In reality, however, it’s not so much about one versus the other as determining what you really need. Datadog is all about cloud service performance measurement and is particularly adept at measuring server and database performance and measuring performance in a multi-cloud world. It does not attempt to cover the entire SIEM, ITOM, ITSM spectrum. Rather, it takes a slice and it does that portion really well. Those who have already implemented many tools for IT security and management can therefore gravitate more towards Datadog to complement ongoing efforts.
Splunk, however, is a much larger platform and toolset designed for a large heavy-duty business. His log management approach is often invaluable in quickly analyzing log files and making sense of mountains of data so IT knows what’s going on. Whether it’s a performance slowdown or a security foray, Splunk is a good way to stay one step ahead of problems. Those who need an all-encompassing security and IT management platform will therefore find Splunk closer to their needs. Plus, those with outdated apps that are ready for a major management makeover will find Splunk a good fit. Covers a large amount of terrain, if you have the budget for it.