Amazon CloudWatch vs New Relic: What are the differences?
Amazon CloudWatch: Monitor AWS resources and custom metrics generated by your applications and services. With Amazon CloudWatch, you gain system-wide visibility into resource utilization, application performance, and operational health. Programmatically retrieve your monitoring data, view graphs, and set alarms to help you troubleshoot, spot trends, and take automated action based on the state of your cloud environment; New Relic: SaaS Application Performance Management for Ruby, PHP, .Net, Java, Python, and Node.js Apps. New Relic is the all-in-one web application performance tool that lets you see performance from the end user experience, through servers, and down to the line of application code.
Amazon CloudWatch can be classified as a tool in the "Cloud Monitoring" category, while New Relic is grouped under "Performance Monitoring".
Some of the features offered by Amazon CloudWatch are:
- Basic Monitoring for Amazon EC2 instances: ten pre-selected metrics at five-minute frequency, free of charge.
- Detailed Monitoring for Amazon EC2 instances: seven pre-selected metrics at one-minute frequency, for an additional charge.
- Amazon EBS volumes: eight pre-selected metrics at five-minute frequency, free of charge.
On the other hand, New Relic provides the following key features:
- Performance Data Retention
- Real-User Response Time, Throughput, & Breakdown by Layer
- App Response Time, Throughput, & Breakdown by Component
"Monitor aws resources" is the top reason why over 70 developers like Amazon CloudWatch, while over 411 developers mention "Easy setup" as the leading cause for choosing New Relic.
Airbnb, Spotify, and StackShare are some of the popular companies that use New Relic, whereas Amazon CloudWatch is used by Airbnb, 9GAG, and Asana. New Relic has a broader approval, being mentioned in 3142 company stacks & 576 developers stacks; compared to Amazon CloudWatch, which is listed in 721 company stacks and 334 developer stacks.
I haven't heard much about Datadog until about a year ago. Ironically, the NewRelic sales person who I had a series of trainings with was trash talking about Datadog a lot. That drew my attention to Datadog and I gave it a try at another client project where we needed log handling, dashboards and alerting.
In 2019, Datadog was already offering log management and from that perspective, it was ahead of NewRelic. Other than that, from my perspective, the two tools are offering a very-very similar set of tools. Therefore I wouldn't say there's a significant difference between the two, the decision is likely a matter of taste. The pricing is also very similar.
The reasons why we chose Datadog over NewRelic were:
- The presence of log handling feature (since then, logging is GA at NewRelic as well since falls 2019).
- The setup was easier even though I already had experience with NewRelic, including participation in NewRelic trainings.
- The UI of Datadog is more compact and my experience is smoother.
- The NewRelic UI is very fragmented and New Relic One is just increasing this experience for me.
- The log feature of Datadog is very well designed, I find very useful the tagging logs with services. The log filtering is also very awesome.
Bottom line is that both tools are great and it makes sense to discover both and making the decision based on your use case. In our case, Datadog was the clear winner due to its UI, ease of setup and the awesome logging and alerting features.
I chose Datadog APM because the much better APM insights it provides (flamegraph, percentiles by default).
The drawbacks of this decision are we had to move our production monitoring to TimescaleDB + Telegraf instead of NR Insight
NewRelic is definitely easier when starting out. Agent is only a lib and doesn't require a daemon
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