Many tools are available today for monitoring your infrastructure, and two such two tools are Graylog and Datadog. That said, these two tools are not identical in terms of functionality, though there is some overlap in their offerings. In this article, let's understand these tools, and how they are identical or different, so you can make informed buying decisions.
Graylog is a log management tool designed for handling modern log analytics. This centralized logging solution captures and stores logs from different sources, so you can analyze them in real-time to glean rich insights. In the process, it unlocks the data and insights you need to leverage opportunities and mitigate risks.
There are three individual components in Graylog, and they are:
- Graylog Security This is a SIEM solution built on the Graylog platform. It detects anomalies and provides the context for fixing them.
- Graylog Operations This is a centralized log management solution that provides visibility across your organization, enhances productivity, and sends relevant alerts.
- Graylog Open This product collects, stores, and analyzes your data, and is built on open standards.
Both Graylog Security and Graylog Operations are delivered for on-prem and cloud environments. There's a pure SaaS offering called Graylog Cloud that works only on the cloud.
Datadog is a comprehensive monitoring platform that stays on top of the performance of your cloud resources, servers, networks, devices, and more. This SaaS tool combines metrics from the different devices, analyzes them, and sends alerts in case of major deviations. It also comes with a host of other services for observability such as extensive log management, synthetic monitoring, user experience monitoring, security monitoring, and more.
Datadog also generates a wide range of reports that help with auditing, decision making, and compliance. Above everything, you get to see all the information you want through a single dashboard, and this greatly eases the time and effort required to understand a situation or problem.
Now that you have an idea of what Graylog and Datadog are, let's jump into a detailed comparison of the two platforms.
Graylog vs Datadog – A Detailed Comparison
As we saw earlier, Graylog offers many products. Probably, the one closest to Datadog is Graylog Cloud, so we will be doing a head-to-head comparison of these two products.
Let's start with log management as this is the central functionality of Graylog. Undoubtedly, it's one of the best tools in this space as it collects logs from different sources and showcases them in stunning visual images and graphs. It also has the capabilities to know which logs are more important than others, so your attention is directed towards the important ones. It also sends alerts in case of deviations.
Moving on to Datadog, this tool also comes with some excellent log management features. Like Graylog, Datadog also collects logs from many sources and displays them in easily-understandable formats.
So, which of the two is better? Graylog's paid version is the hands-down winner as it has a streamlined log collection mechanism and a better alerting system. That said, Datadog is not far behind and is better than Graylog's open-source version.
Both Graylog and Datadog come with a good-looking dashboard where you can find all the data about your network. A closer look shows that Graylog's user interface is cluttered and can feel wieldy and complex. Also, there are few customization options, even in the enterprise edition.
Datadog, on the other hand, has a highly intuitive and customizable interface. Though it opens with a default view, you can always add widgets, links, searches, and other things to the user interface to make it more usable for you.
Due to these superior customization features, Datadog is the better of the two in UI and dashboard usage.
An important feature of any logging system is its capability to collect data from any source and use many technologies. Both these platforms work well on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS systems. Also, they are compatible with many logging technologies such as Rsyslog, Winlogbeat, Logstash, and more. Graylog and Datadog also have native collectors for SNMP and Netflow technologies and can use them when needed to gather data.
In this sense, both tools are identical and have similar capabilities.
Customer support is another critical aspect of technological platforms. At the time of writing this piece, Graylog's customer support is limited as it offers only chat support through the website. However, Graylog offers in-person training, where a representative will visit your office to train your employees and answer any technical/general questions you may have about using Graylog. Note that this in-person training is available only in select cities.
Datadog, on the other hand, has a more extensive customer support system. In addition to chat, Datadog also offers email and phone options to users. Overall, its customer support response is also faster, especially in technical queries.
Undoubtedly, Datadog is the better choice when it comes to customer support.
Integrations help to extend the functionality of a platform and help developers “fit” the platform into their existing infrastructure. In this aspect, a key difference is that Graylog uses MongoDB while Datadog uses Apache Kafka as the database for storing logs.
Moving on to integrations with third-party tools, Datadog is more extensive as it integrates with popular options such as GitHub, GrowthSimple, Mendix, Fairwinds Insights, and more. Graylog doesn't integrate with any of these tools. Overall, Datadog integrates with about 170 tools when compared to Graylog's 16. So, if you want to integrate log management capabilities with other tools and in your overall infrastructure, go with Datadog.
Datadog supports only cloud deployment and has no option for on-prem or hybrid environments. This is a SaaS service that can be accessed from any browser.
The same is true for Graylog Cloud too. But the key difference is that Graylog also has two editions, namely, Enterprise and open-source version, that can be used for on-prem deployment. But the catch is that you can use Graylog directly only if you have Ubuntu or CentOS Linux installations. For other operating systems, including Windows, you can use Docker containers.
Network Monitoring and Security
Datadog is highly comprehensive when it comes to network monitoring and security. It comes with a host of features that can stay on top of the health and performance of different modules within your organization. The information gleaned from these tools is displayed in easy-to-digest reports and formats that can be used for further processing and decision-making.
When it comes to Graylog, you can use it in combination with other tools like Grafana, but such extensive monitoring and security are not exactly Graylog's strengths. Some of these tools can work well for small businesses, but for large organizations, you need a dedicated network monitoring platform like Datadog.
Finally, let's head to pricing.
Graylog's open version is the cheapest choice available for you. Even when you combine it with a few other tools to get a streamlined monitoring solution, still it can work out to be less of financial overhead. But if you go for the Enterprise edition, then the cost is comparable with Datadog.
When you compare Datadog APM with Graylog's Enterprise edition, Graylog is slightly cheaper, but Datadog offers better value for your money. You get a lot more features for a few extra dollars, and this is why Datadog is a bang for your money.
With these differences in our bucket, let's now head to a final verdict as to which of the two is better in a handful of situations.
Graylog vs Datadog – The Verdict
In all, if you don't have a 100% cloud environment, Graylog is the choice for you. But if you have a cloud environment, Datadog is hands-down a better choice as it comes with many advanced features that streamline logging and its display. A highlight is the user interface and the many customization choices that come with it.
Likewise, Datadog is the choice if you subscribe to many cloud services and tools and want to have centralized log management and network monitoring system that would encompass all these tools.
Another difference is the network monitoring capabilities of Datadog. If you're looking to monitor the performance of different devices and endpoints in your network, Datadog is the choice.
Now you might wonder where Graylog is effective. First off, if you're looking for a comprehensive log management solution alone, Graylog comes in handy. Also, if you have on-prem or hybrid environments, Graylog is better. In all other situations, Datadog is the better choice.
To conclude, log monitoring tools are an essential part of controlling and monitoring the performance of your network and its devices. Both Datadog and Graylog are good choices to achieve this objective. In this article, we have compared the two tools against a host of features to assess which of the two is better. Overall, Graylog is ideal for a top-notch log management system. But for everything else, Datadog works well.