New Relic vs Datadog: Fight for Observability | In Practise

New Relic vs Datadog: Fight for Observability

Former Head of Marketing, EMEA at New Relic

Learning outcomes

  • The position and role of application performance monitoring in the DevOps stack
  • The potential advantages for Datadog from starting at the infrastructure monitoring layer in the enterprise stack
  • Core drivers of consolidation and the relative position of Datadog, New Relic, Splunk, Dynatrace, etc
  • How Datadog captured so much market share from riding the migration to the cloud
  • Potential disruption from the New Relic One prodcut
  • New Relic One pricing structure and how Datadog could respond
  • Outlook on potential M&A and the strategic value of assets to legacy incumbents

Executive profile

Baxter Denney

Former Head of Marketing, EMEA at New Relic

Baxter is the Former Head of Marketing, EMEA at New Relic and one of the first marketing hires at the business. Baxter joined in 2013 when the company had under 150 employees and Datadog was just entering the market with a competing APM solution. He led the company from a bottom-up developer-focused to an account-based go-to-market strategy focusing on larger enterprises. Baxter is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Red Points, the brand protection software solution. Read more

Can you please provide a short introduction of your role and original responsibilities at New Relic?

I was hired by New Relic, in September 2013, to head up the marketing operations team as part of the online marketing group. I joined New Relic as director of marketing operations and then I had various other roles there throughout my five-year tenure.

What exactly is APM and what was the original value proposition in those early days?

The goal of application performance monitoring – or application performance management depending on who you're talking to – is to provide visibility to the folks who are building and deploying software into what's happening within their application. It's crazy to think about, but there was a time where people would build and deploy software and the only way to really debug and find issues was to actually sort through error messages and logs in order to find out what was going on. APM provides data back to developers, operations people, anyone in the business really, into what's happening with the application so they can troubleshoot, fix errors, change the way that they're building and deploying applications and so forth.

So the original proposition was mainly for tech-based companies to monitor an application, both on-prem and in the cloud?

In the case of New Relic, it was really focused on cloud. It was really oriented towards developers, delivered as a SaaS platform; so developers working with modern software languages who were building and running applications.

How does the technology actually work? For example, where are the agents really deployed on the customer stack?

APM is quite clever. For those who are familiar with Google Analytics and how web analytics works, it's similar but for applications. What happens is, a developer installs a little snippet of code inside their application and that code, with a little bit of customization, will track and send metrics back to the APM provider, whether that's New Relic or any of the other providers in an open source tool. That provider will then look within the application and gather important, relevant metrics and then present that back, in a much more easy to digest format, in terms of dashboards, reports and being able to track things over time and also highlighting what's happening within that application.

How is that different from where Datadog started, which seemed to be in the infrastructure layer? How is the deployment of the agents very different versus the old APM for New Relic?

APM is a little bit different from infrastructure monitoring, although they're both crucially important these days. Datadog focused on infrastructure monitoring and the key for that is really around your infrastructure environment which, most days now, means who you're using for your cloud provider. In the case of Datadog, what’s most important is connecting your AWS instances or your Google Cloud platform instances, with Datadog in order to provide the relevant metrics back. APM is totally different because it works within the application layer so it doesn't care, necessarily, what kind of cloud platform you're using because you're focusing on the application. They deploy it slightly differently although, coming together, they're really important in order to provide visibility of what’s happening within the organization's application and infrastructure.

Do you think there's any advantage to starting in that infrastructure layer for Datadog versus the traditional players that started elsewhere, in logging or APM?

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New Relic vs Datadog: Fight for Observability

September 16, 2020

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