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Datadog vs. Splunk: Which Is the Better Observability Solution [2024 Comparison]

Datadog and Splunk are among the most popular performance monitoring tools available on the market. If you’re looking for such a solution and looking to scratch one off your shortlist, look no further than this article. In this Datadog vs Splunk comparison, we will take a deep dive into everything each tool has to offer. We will point out their similarities and differences to help you decide which tool can meet your needs better.

By the way, we’ve compared both Sematext vs Datadog and Sematext vs Splunk. Hint: maaaaajor cost differences in both cases! Check this 3-minute pricing comparison video.

What Is Datadog?

Datadog overview screenshot

Datadog is a comprehensive monitoring tool that provides end-to-end visibility into your infrastructure, whether it’s on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment. It unifies logs, metrics, and traces to help you optimize and troubleshoot performance issues.

With Datadog, you can automate infrastructure monitoring, log management, application performance monitoring, and real-time observability, enabling you to manage and maintain your entire tech stack effectively and securely. Datadog’s alerts and anomaly detection help identify and prevent issues, making it a valuable tool for developers, business owners, and security engineers alike.

While there are many Datadog alternatives on the market, it’s full-stack monitoring capabilities and focus on end-to-end visibility make it a top choice for those looking for a comprehensive observability tool. One notable alternative to Datadog is Splunk, which offers similar monitoring capabilities and is also a popular choice among businesses and IT professionals.

What Is Splunk?

Splunk overview screenshot

Splunk is a comprehensive observability tool that enables developers and business users to analyze monitoring data, optimize performance, and improve IT operations. With Splunk, users can gain end-to-end visibility into their infrastructure and secure their monitoring process effectively.

The tool offers a range of services, including application performance monitoring, app personalization, workspace collaboration, data ingestion, analytics, and business intelligence. Splunk’s user-friendly interface allows for easy collaboration among team members, making it a popular choice among businesses and IT professionals.

Datadog vs. Splunk: Side-by-Side Comparison

Now that you have the bigger picture, let’s explore the Datadog vs. Splunk comparison in greater detail to help you decide what tool is best for you.

Key Features Overview

When it comes to monitoring tools, Datadog and Splunk both offer similar capabilities in terms of monitoring logs, infrastructure (including databases and servers), Real User Monitoring (RUM), and synthetics. However, there is one key area where they differ – Datadog offers Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) capabilities, while Splunk does not.

SIEM is a critical component for many businesses, particularly those in regulated industries. Without SIEM, businesses may struggle to monitor potential security threats and respond to incidents promptly and effectively.

While there are other tools on the market that offer SIEM capabilities, Datadog’s inclusion of this feature gives it an advantage over Splunk.

In terms of their overall approach, Datadog and Splunk differ somewhat. Datadog focuses heavily on real-time monitoring and observability, with an emphasis on automation and the use of machine learning to identify potential issues. Splunk, on the other hand, places more emphasis on data analytics and visualization, with a focus on providing actionable insights from the data it collects.

Overall, both Datadog and Splunk are excellent monitoring tools that offer a wide range of features and capabilities. While there is some overlap in terms of what they monitor, Datadog’s inclusion of SIEM gives it an advantage in specific industries. Ultimately, the choice between these two tools will come down to the specific needs of the business, as well as personal preferences and budget.

Installation and Ease of Use

Datadog and Splunk differ in terms of installation and ease of use. Datadog is primarily a cloud-based solution that allows users to easily create an account and start monitoring their infrastructure without worrying about maintenance. The process is straightforward and well-documented, making it easy for new users to set up and configure their monitoring quickly.

In contrast, Splunk offers both cloud-based and on-premise solutions, with the latter requiring installation and maintenance on the user’s part. This can make the setup process more complex and time-consuming, especially for users who are not familiar with managing on-premise software. Splunk’s documentation is comprehensive, but it can be overwhelming for new users due to the tool’s complexity. Therefore, users may require more time and effort to get comfortable with the platform.

Dashboards and Reporting

Datadog and Splunk have distinct approaches when it comes to dashboards and reporting.

Datadog offers pre-configured dashboards that provide end-to-end visibility into the entire stack, giving users a quick overview of the system’s health and performance. Its customizable dashboards make it easy to create personalized views of relevant metrics, and the tool’s anomaly detection and alerting features notify users when things go wrong.

In contrast, Splunk’s dashboard requires more configuration but offers more flexibility in terms of customization. Splunk also has a broader range of reporting features and can generate more complex reports, making it a better choice for more extensive data analysis.

That being said, Datadog’s dashboards are easier to use, and its alerts are more user-friendly, making it a better option for users who need a quick overview of their system’s performance.

Incident Management and Alerting

Datadog and Splunk both offer incident management and alerting features, but there are differences between the two tools.

Datadog’s ML-based tool, Watchdog, uses machine learning algorithms to detect and notify users of issues within their IT infrastructure. The system sends alerts via PagerDuty, email, and Slack, providing actionable insights to help resolve issues. Datadog offers greater integration options than Splunk, making it a more flexible solution in terms of defining alert rules.

On the other hand, Splunk provides a more sophisticated alerting process, including notifications, detectors, and events, with particular alerts designed to notify admins of anomalies. Splunk also offers its incident response and alerting tool called Splunk On-Call.

When it comes to anomaly detection for alerting, both tools are capable, but Splunk’s alerting process is more advanced.

In terms of flexibility, Datadog offers more options for defining alert rules, including the ability to correlate metrics, while Splunk is more focused on delivering in-depth alerting.

Overall, Datadog is a better option for those who want an easy-to-use incident management system with simple alerting capabilities, while Splunk is the go-to choice for more advanced alerting and correlation options.

Third-Party Integrations

When it comes to third-party integrations, both Datadog and Splunk offer a wide range of options. However, Datadog takes the lead with more than 500 integrations available. These integrations allow users to collect logs and metrics from a vast range of technologies, including databases, containerized technologies, cloud providers, and more. Additionally, Datadog also supports bare metal servers and virtual machines.

On the other hand, Splunk offers out-of-the-box support for about 250 technologies, including popular ones. While this number is significant, Datadog’s variety of integrations is far more extensive, making it a better option for those with complex systems that use or run on various service types.

It’s worth noting that it’s essential to ensure the plug-ins and integrations you choose support multiple data formats and are suitable for your suppliers.

Pricing and Support

When comparing Datadog and Splunk, one of the major differences between the two is their pricing plans.

Splunk’s pricing structure is complex and can be quite expensive. Access to all of its features, including SIEM and ITSM capabilities, comes at a high cost. Additionally, adding new models to Splunk can exponentially increase the cost of using the tool.

That said, Datadog is extremely expensive, too. In fact, some users even take to X to complain about the prices!

On the other hand, Datadog offers a simpler and cheaper pricing structure compared to Splunk. As a log management tool, Datadog’s costs are lower as it focuses on working with unstructured raw data. It includes installation and support, and skips real-time management capabilities. However, keep in mind that Datadog’s pricing structure is based on data usage and the number of hosts monitored. It’s important to note that both tools offer free trials.

When it comes to pricing, Datadog may be a better option for those on a budget, while Splunk may be the preferred choice for those who need real-time management and monitoring performance and are willing to pay the price for it.


When choosing between Datadog and Splunk, it’s important to consider the audience and their monitoring needs. The selection between the two instruments depends on the type of services being monitored and the amount of data that will be processed.

Datadog’s audience is primarily developers and DevOps teams, who require real-time monitoring and quick incident resolution.

On the other hand, Splunk’s audience includes larger enterprises, with a focus on Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and IT Service Management (ITSM). Splunk is designed to handle vast amounts of data and is best suited for companies that require detailed analysis of data to derive insights.

Ultimately, the choice between Datadog and Splunk comes down to the unique needs of your audience and what you want to achieve with your monitoring tool.

Datadog vs. Splunk for Metrics Monitoring

Datadog metrics monitoring pane of glass

Datadog metrics

Splunk metrics monitoring pane of glass

Splunk metrics

Datadog and Splunk are both comprehensive metrics monitoring solutions that can collect a wide range of metrics from various sources.

Datadog’s approach is focused on simplicity, providing users with an easy-to-use platform for collecting and visualizing metrics. The tool can collect metrics from more than 450 different sources, including custom metrics, logs, and traces. Datadog can also automatically detect anomalies and send alerts to users.

On the other hand, Splunk has a more flexible approach to metrics monitoring, offering users the ability to collect data from virtually any source. Splunk’s platform can also process larger amounts of data than Datadog, making it an excellent choice for larger organizations with more significant data processing needs. However, Splunk’s interface can be more complex, and the tool requires a more extensive configuration process.

In summary, Datadog is a simpler and more straightforward option for collecting and monitoring metrics, while Splunk offers greater flexibility and processing capabilities.

Datadog vs. Splunk for Log Management

Datadog log monitoring screenshot

Datadog log management

Datadog log monitoring screenshot

Splunk log management

When it comes to log management, both Datadog and Splunk provide extensive capabilities.

Datadog can collect logs from various sources such as Docker, Kubernetes, AWS, and more, making it easy to monitor and troubleshoot different components of a system. Splunk also has a wide range of log sources it can collect from, including network devices, servers, and cloud platforms.

In terms of log processing, Datadog offers real-time search and analytics, and users can customize and create their own dashboards. Splunk, on the other hand, is known for its powerful search and reporting features, including the ability to search across multiple log sources in real-time. However, it’s worth noting that Splunk can be more complex to set up and use compared to Datadog, which may make it less suitable for smaller teams with limited resources.

Overall, both solutions offer robust log management capabilities, but the choice between the two will depend on specific needs and use cases.

Note that Datadog offers log forwarding capabilities. This allows you to ship logs to Datadog and then have Datadog ship your logs elsewhere. This can be handy if you want to test out other log monitoring vendors’ capabilities or compare their costs to Datadog’s cost. For example, this is how you could forward logs from Datadog to Sematext to make such comparisons.

Read more about the 10 best log monitoring solutions and software that you can use and see how the two compare with other competitors.

Datadog vs. Splunk for SIEM

Datadog SIEM screenshot

Datadog SIEM

Splunk SIEM screenshot

Splunk SIEM

When it comes to SIEM, Datadog and Splunk differ in terms of their key features. Both tools provide anomaly detection, correlation between events, and the ability to create alerts based on them. However, Splunk stands out with its wider range of security events that it can collect.

In contrast, Datadog offers integrations with third-party incident management systems, as well as an incident management feature in its own platform. Both tools provide an easy way to search and analyze data, as well as visualize it. Splunk, however, offers more advanced filtering capabilities to help users correlate events and identify the starting point of an issue. Additionally, Splunk provides scheduled jobs to send reports on the system.

Datadog vs. Splunk for Real User Monitoring

Real User Monitoring (RUM) is an essential aspect of tracking website and application performance, providing visibility into user behavior and experience. In terms of RUM, Datadog and Splunk differ in their approaches.

Datadog real user monitoring overview

Datadog RUM

Datadog real user monitoring overview

Splunk RUM

Datadog is focused on application performance and provides RUM as a built-in feature. It captures real-time user data, including page load times, browser types, and user locations, providing a detailed view of website or application performance from the end-user perspective.

In contrast, Splunk’s approach to RUM is more limited, and it requires an additional plugin. The plugin captures user experience data such as page load times, errors, and user engagement, but it may not provide the same depth of insights as Datadog’s built-in RUM feature.

Datadog vs. Splunk for Synthetic Monitoring

Synthetic monitoring is an important aspect of application performance monitoring. When it comes to Datadog vs. Splunk, both offer synthetic monitoring solutions.

Splunk synthetic monitoring presentation

Datadog Synthetic Monitoring

Datadog Synthetic Monitoring screenshot

Splunk Synthetic Monitoring

Datadog Synthetic Monitoring uses a combination of tests and scripts to emulate user journeys, simulating traffic from different locations, and testing page load times. The tool also supports mobile application monitoring, ensuring that mobile applications are functioning properly.

On the other hand, Splunk offers synthetic monitoring via its Splunk Synthetic Monitoring Cloud. This solution allows users to create custom tests, monitor availability and performance, and perform end-to-end transaction monitoring.

While both tools provide synthetic monitoring, Datadog has a more comprehensive solution that supports both web and mobile applications. However, Splunk’s solution allows for more flexibility and customization in creating tests. If you want to see how Splunk compares to other top synthetic monitoring solutions, we have created a comprehensive article just for that.

Sematext: A Better Alternative to Datadog and Splunk

Sematext overview presentation

If this Datadog vs. Splunk comparison hasn’t helped you make a decision yet, the market is full of great alternatives. Sematext is one of them – a full-stack observability platform that gives you everything that Datadog and Splunk offer – and more – at a fraction of the price and via more flexible pricing plans.

With a unified approach towards metrics, logs, real user and synthetic monitoring Sematext optimizes and troubleshoots system performance, preventing potential issues with alerts and anomaly detection.

Compared to other monitoring tools like Datadog and Splunk, Sematext stands out as a better alternative due to its comprehensive suite of products:

  • Sematext’s Logs product provides centralized logging management, allowing you to collect, analyze, and store all your logs in one place.
  • The Monitoring product provides metrics monitoring and real-time visibility into system performance.
  • The Synthetic product offers advanced synthetic monitoring capabilities to ensure optimal user experience.
  • Sematext’s RUM product provides real user monitoring and tracks user interactions, enabling you to understand how users interact with your application.

Don’t forget that Datadog offers log forwarding capabilities. Use it to test out Sematext’s log monitoring capabilities or Sematext vs. Datadog costs. See how to forward logs from Datadog to Sematext.

Datadog vs. Splunk vs. Sematext: Comparison Table

InstallationSaaSBoth SaaS and on-premiseBoth SaaS and on-premise
Main CapabilitiesInfrastructure monitoring, log management, APM, RUM, and synthetic monitoringInfrastructure monitoring, log management, and security information and event management (SIEM)Full-stack monitoring, log management, RUM, and synthetic monitoring
CustomizationOffers various customization options and allows for easy customization of dashboards and alertsOffers limited customization optionsOffers various customization options and allows for easy customization of dashboards and alerts
PricingPlans start at $5/host/month for infrastructure monitoring and $0.10/GB for log management. APM and RUM are priced separatelyExpensive pricing with the cost of using this solution rising exponentially when adding new modelsSolution-based pricing with plans starting at $50/month for logs, $3.6/month for monitoring, $9/month for RUM, and $2 per HTTP monitor or $7 per browser monitor for synthetics. Free plans are available for monitoring and logs with low retention and data volume
Audience (best for)Best for medium to large organizations with complex infrastructure and a need for a variety of monitoring capabilitiesBest for large enterprises with a significant budget for monitoring and IT operationsBest for small to medium organizations looking for a cost-effective, full-stack monitoring solution with customization options and a wide range of integrations
ProsOffers a wide range of monitoring capabilities and integrations, easy to use, and customizable dashboards and alertsTop-notch real-time management and monitoring performance, advanced security features, and customizable dashboards and alertsFull-stack monitoring solution with a wide range of integrations, various customization options, and affordable pricing with free plans available
ConsPricing can be expensive for smaller organizations and may require additional costs for APM and RUMExpensive pricing, complex installation, and limited customization optionsLimited integrations compared to Datadog and Splunk, and may not be suitable for large enterprises with complex infrastructure

Note: The pricing information may vary based on specific needs, usage, and other factors. The pricing information provided here is for general reference only and may not reflect the latest pricing information.

We have also created a dedicated Sematext and Datadog comparison, as well as a comprehensive Sematext vs Splunk article, with further details on the difference and benefits that set each apart.

Choosing Between Datadog and Splunk

In conclusion, choosing between Datadog and Splunk ultimately depends on your specific monitoring and observability needs. Datadog offers a strong focus on metrics monitoring and real-time alerting, while Splunk excels in log management and security information and event management (SIEM). Both platforms provide comprehensive monitoring capabilities for cloud-based and on-premise infrastructure, with a variety of integrations available.

However, if you’re looking for a full-stack monitoring and observability solution, Sematext could be a strong alternative to both Datadog and Splunk. Sematext unifies metrics, logs, RUM, and synthetic monitoring, with a focus on optimizing and troubleshooting performance through alerts and anomaly detection. Additionally, Sematext’s solution-based pricing allows for flexible customization based on your specific needs.

Ultimately, it’s important to carefully evaluate your monitoring requirements and compare the features and pricing of each solution before making a decision. Datadog and Splunk are good choices in the observability and security monitoring realm. As always, it is not a matter of which is best, but which is the right one for your particular needs.

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