Datadog vs. Outlyer Comparison

We know it seems like all infrastructure monitoring tools are the same: service integrations, dashboards and alerts, analytics on top. We assure you that is definitely not the case. There are critical elements to monitoring, particularly monitoring at scale, where certain platform design principles can make a big difference. Here we cover a comparison of our product with Datadog’s: where we are similar and where we are different. We dive deep into features (like our account and customization models) that will make a difference in your daily monitoring life.

Before you go on, a disclaimer or two:

Note that this page compares our infrastructure monitoring with Datadog’s. Datadog has recently launched APM (Application Performance Monitoring). Outlyer doesn’t do APM. Rather, we focus on being the best in the infrastructure monitoring space, and integrate with the most popular APM tools, like New Relic and AppDynamics.

We do not own or represent Datadog and its associated trademarks, and obviously represent Outlyer and our associated trademarks. We tried to be objective in this comparison utilizing DevOps expert feedback on the two products. With things changing so quickly, we welcome reach outs keeping this page up to date via:

~ The Outlyer team

Where we're similar

Both Datadog and Outlyer provide integrations with most common services in your application stack, like AWS, Docker, Cassandra, etc. It is worth noting that Datadog boasts over a hundred out-of-the-box integrations, whereas we currently have forty two. However, our turnkey integrations are faster to implement and update, and we make writing your own integrations (or, as we call them, packs) easy. Essentially, we made a tradeoff here of quality vs. quantity (more about that in the “Differences” section).

Like other SaaS infrastructure monitoring tools, we both provide visualization (dashboards) and analytics, as well as event correlation (annotations). Datadog currently has a prettier UI with front-end features like embeds and dashboard comments. Outlyer is investing in the UI and features we consider most relevant to DevOps day-to-day. Datadog has recently introduced outlier detection, which is also on our roadmap.

We both provide alerting, as well as what we call outbound integrations with tools like Slack, PagerDuty, Big Panda, OpsGenie, etc.

Dashboards & Analytics
Alerts & Output Integrations (Slack, PagerDuty, Big Panda, etc.)
Developer APIs
AWS Integration
Docker Integration

Key Outlyer differentiators

Affordable pricing with unlimited metrics

vs. per agent pricing with hidden costs for additional metrics

Quicker, easier setup today and in six months

vs. difficult customizations beyond the basic integrations provided

Open source standards

vs. proprietary plugins

One account, many teams

vs. juggling multiple logins

How we are different, in more detail

Open source standards = no vendor lock-in

Migrating your existing open source monitoring to a new monitoring system can take months when each existing script and configuration needs to be rewritten in a new, proprietary format, as is the case with Datadog. Having been on your side of the table (30 years of combined sysadmin/DevOps experience between our cofounders), we know how hard it is to write custom scripts. That is why Outlyer is open source compatible.

With Outlyer, you can consolidate or easily migrate from any open source tool: Nagios, Zabbix, Icinga, Prometheus, Graphite, StatsD, Open, InfluxDB, OpenTSDB. Our agent runs Nagios plugins and a Prometheus exporter scraper by default. You can push metrics via wire-compatible Graphite, StatsD, InfluxDB APIs. Basically, integrate with any open source collector, and you are done. This also allows you to export your monitoring in the future versus investing in proprietary monitoring with Datadog that cannot be used elsewhere.

Proprietary Open source
Rewrite all your open source monitoring Import your open source monitoring
When new OS technologies come out, write new scripts in Datadog’s proprietary format Integrate with OSS collectors and any new technology is monitored in minutes
Can’t export scripts and checks if migrating off Can export custom monitoring elsewhere

User Account Model

Mature monitoring environments have dozens of teams monitoring hundreds of services. If you are the person in charge of the entire infrastructure, Datadog will have you logging in and out of different team accounts to understand where the problem is or where an alert came from. Outlyer’s advanced account model (similar to GitHub’s) lets you have overall insight into the entire infrastructure, while allowing each team do its own monitoring.

You can think of our account model as a team model, assigning each functional team to its own account (e.g., web team, Docker team, etc.), or an environment model, where you can create an account for each environment (e.g., uat, dev, prod). Each account will have its own dashboards and alerts. Now imagine seeing the health of all your environments and teams on one screen, then digging deeper only when you want or need to.

Basic Advanced
Each team has a separate account; no central overview Teams have separate accounts, but all accounts are visible in one central place
Multiple logins to access all aspects of the infrastructure Infrastructure admin has holistic view, retains central control and oversight
No viewer role permission Role permissions: admin, member, viewer

Agent & integration quality for scalable monitoring

On day one

Initial setup with Outlyer is significantly faster than Datadog’s. Our auto-discovery process allows for simple integrations with your services—dashboards and alerts included. Here is what it looks like in detail:

In six months (or sooner)

Your monitoring needs will inevitably get more complex as you install more servers and microservices, and your software starts requiring custom monitoring. This is where Outlyer shines compared to Datadog.

Having to write lots of configuration management to roll out every addition or change across your environment is time- and resource- consuming, particularly when you need to restart the agent every time, service by service, server by server, as in the case with Datadog.

We built Outlyer so that any ops or dev team member can customize monitoring plugins for services that matter to them. This can be done right in the Outlyer browser and in any scripting language. The change can be automatically pushed to all tagged services: no re-inventing the wheel, no painstaking agent restarts, and limited configuration management.

Manual configuration Auto-discovery
Manually select integrations to install Agent auto-discovers services on your machines and suggests which packs to install
Multiple install steps with lengthy instructions Simple one-step installs
Must log into each machine and execute setup steps manually Packs are configured right in your web browser. No need to log into each machine
A few basic service metrics Key service metrics and focused dashboards, selected by our experienced ops team
Integrations do not include built-in alerts Built-in alerts
Manually SSH into each server, edit configuration files by hand Central, in-app admin by any team member
Agent must be restarted for each addition/change Changes can be pushed to agent automatically. No restart necessary.

Simple, Affordable & Predictable Pricing

Keep your Ops costs down and predictable. Outlyer costs 40% less than Datadog and has unlimited metrics and retention for as long as you’re a customer.

$27 per agent $15 per agent
13 month data retention 200 custom metric cap Unlimited data retention and unlimited custom metrics

Word to the wise...

Outlyer is great if:

  • You have a monitoring sprawl: too many isolated tools that you’d like to consolidate and standardize onto a single platform
  • You are moving to new technologies: cloud, DevOps, containers, microservices, and need a monitoring solution that can be used by the entire organization, not just Ops
  • You want to start monitoring: you can’t afford to spend much time on monitoring, want to make sure you can scale as you go, and not get locked into a proprietary tool
  • You have an in-house monitoring solution, but are spending too much time building and scaling it

Datadog is good if you want the instant gratification of many turn-key integrations and prettier UI, but are not looking for easy customization or scalability past a few teams or a few hundred servers.

Outlyer gets better as you grow. From one to thousands of servers, our advanced account model and fast, centralized deploys of easy-to-write customizations will have all your teams and environments covered at all times.