Datadog vs. AppDynamics: 2022 Software Comparison

Datadog and Cisco AppDynamics both offer advanced application performance monitoring (APM) features. Both are well established APM platforms, and both are graded as Leaders in the latest Gartner APM Magic Quadrant.

There are plenty of similarities in terms of features and functionalities for these two APM tools, and yet also quite a few differences. So how do users go about determining which APM solution is best for their business?

Here’s a look at both AppDynamics and Datadog: how they compare across many categories, including features and use cases.

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Datadog vs. AppDynamics: Key Feature Comparison

Datadog is focused on cloud monitoring and security. It offers the ability to see inside any stack or application at any scale. Infrastructure monitoring, APM, log management, device monitoring, cloud workload monitoring, server monitoring, and database monitoring fall within its feature set.

Datadog is particularly effective at dealing with the performance and visibility of multiple clouds operating on the network and in managing cloud services. Datadog helps IT to drill down into performance data. It generates alerts about potential problems and helps IT to discover any underlying issues. It can assemble data from logs and other metrics to provide context that is helpful in minimizing incident response time.

AppDynamics APM software aims to simplify the management of complex applications by delivering traceability and bridging APM and business product usage. It provides full-stack observability with business context, allows users to monitor the performance of the entire IT stack, and view the performance through the lens of the business. It is easy to implement, enabling IT to prioritize the most critical issues before they impact customers.

Both APM platforms offer a wealth of features. This category is a tie.

Datadog vs. AppDynamics: Comparing Implementation and Ease of Use

Datadog installation is straightforward via the deployment of agents, but some command line scripting is required. It is relatively easy to customize dashboards and interfaces to the way you want them. The main interface covers a lot of ground. It is great for experienced users, but it might be tough for new users who may be overwhelmed by the number of options.

Users report AppDynamics as being easy to install via agents. Some find its interface easy and intuitive, and its drill down capabilities simple to use. Others, though, complain about the need for improvements to its dashboards and lack of advanced search capabilities.

Overall, there is not enormous difference in this category. Datadog gets the nod by a whisker on implementation and ease of use.

Also see: Data Analytics Trends 

Datadog vs. AppDynamics: Support, Integration Comparison

Datadog can work with numerous data sources and formats, but it is not a platform that is set up deal with a large number of information sources. Data formats like .xml, .csv, and .json are not supported, for example. That said, it can integrate well with other security and IT management tools. Datadog supports community APIs and extensions to integrate into existing IT infrastructure. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Since being acquired by Cisco, AppDynamics can offer integration with a wide range of networking, storage, and compute platforms. It supports almost all servers and platforms courtesy of Cisco’s partner relationships and decades of integration work.

Datadog support is graded ahead of Cisco in several areas but overall, AppDynamics wins in this category.

Datadog vs. AppDynamics: Comparing Security

Clearly, cybersecurity has come to the forefront in the last few years. Now, most vendors have to address security as a vital aspect of application development or face serious repercussions. Similarly, in APM, vendors have to ensure they are providing a safe environment for users.

As a SaaS application, Datadog has had to up its game on security. It has been steadily adding security features in recent years. It has gotten certified (SOC 2 Type 2, CSA STAR, HIPAA, FedRAMP-Moderate Authorized). But it has further to go. Its basic query language supports relatively simple logic/count functions in its detection rules. Further, it is not yet PCI compliant.

Security for AppDynamics benefits from Cisco’s long history in the security arena. It is backed by an experienced cross-functional team that designs, builds, deploys, operates, and maintains tools, technologies, and processes that provide a strong foundational security platform.

Unquestionably, AppDynamics wins on security.

Datadog vs. AppDynamics: Data Analytics Comparison

Datadog supports a variety of open standards, including OpenTelemetry and OpenTracing. Datadog offers search and can correlate sampled sets of data together using breadcrumbs. Datadog is very good on analytics capabilities. Its primary weak point is lack of real-time analysis.

AppDynamics is less capable in terms of search. Some users complain that controller setup takes up a lot of resources and this slows the runway before good analysis of metrics can be accomplished. That said, AppDynamics offers real-time ingestion and analysis of data across the stack, auto-discovery and mapping, anomaly detection and more.

With its full-stack observability (FSO), AppDynamics enables users to identify and address performance issues across applications, as well as contextualize IT performance insights with real-time business data. By viewing the performance of the application through real-time business analytics and helping businesses understand the impact that application performance issues have on their KPIs, AppDynamics enables users to prioritize their work based on impact to the business.

AppDynamics wins in the data analytics category. 

Also see: Best Data Analytics Tools 

Datadog vs. AppDynamics: Price Comparison

Datadog prices out at around $15 per user per month, roughly (and it is $23 for the Enterprise version). Datadog has an open pricing policy with published prices, and generally low prices. Its pricing per-month options include per-host, per million events, and per GB of analyzed log files. But Gartner noted that some large deals entail large upfront spending. According to the analyst firm, this can lead to over- and under-provisioning.

Cisco AppDynamics pricing is based on a completely different model than Datadog. Cisco charges per CPU core monitored per month. The cost is $6 for infrastructure monitoring, and $60 when APM and database monitoring are added in for its Premium edition. The Enterprise edition price rises to $90 per month per core.

It is very hard to compare pricing models, but Datadog gets the nod as it appears easier to predict its rates.

Also see: How Database Virtualization Helps Migrate a Data Warehouse to the Cloud

Datadog vs. AppDynamics: Conclusion 

There is no doubt that Datadog and Cisco AppDynamics are both excellent APM tools. They can solve a great many challenges related to application performance monitoring, log management, and more.

Datadog takes an infrastructure monitoring approach geared toward analytics and application performance. It is focused on performance measurement for cloud services and is particularly adept at measuring the performance of databases and servers as well as measuring performance in a multi-cloud world. Since Datadog is aimed at monitoring infrastructure at scale, it’s used primarily by mid-sized companies and large enterprises. It is also favored by DevOps and IT to address cloud and infrastructure performance.

AppDynamics has features that connect application performance to customer experience and business outcomes. This helps to reduce noise, makes teamwork more efficient, and makes it possible to analyze data across the entire stack. By tapping into the Cisco world, AppDynamics offers the ability to monitor customer-facing applications as well as core network and infrastructure via the FSO offering.

In summary, those with Cisco tools in the infrastructure may find it difficult to look beyond AppDynamics. Those without Cisco gear in-house may prefer Datadog.

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