Graphite vs. Datadog

Graphite vs Datadog

Datadog and Graphite are arguably two of the most popular IT-monitoring solutions on the market today. They are used by enterprises to keep an eye on the overall health of their digital investments.

In this post, we will have a head-to-head comparison of these two solutions.

Graphite and Datadog – usages and common applications

Graphite and Datadog are two solutions that are used to monitor hardware performances to understand how effective – or not – they are over a set period.

Their similarities stop there.

Datadog is a more comprehensive solution that monitors different aspects of a device, while Graphite receives the data and displays them in a time-series format for easier comprehension and consumption. If a business were to use both solutions, it would use Datadog for monitoring and analytics, while Graphite would show this performance information in a user-friendly time-series format.

The result would be a comprehensive view of the performance of each device spread over a specific amount of time – making it easy to decide and take necessary actions to address any issues.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at each solution separately.

What is Graphite? – An overview

Graphite logo website

The best way to describe Graphite is that it is a free monitoring tool that monitors and graphically displays its findings spread across time constraints. Administrators can easily track the ebbs and flows of their system’s performance by glancing at interactive graphical displays.

Graphite is a data presentation tool.

It is a highly scalable real-time graphing system that can be implemented to monitor a single server or a myriad of hardware devices of a complex network. And because it is an open-source, enterprise-ready graphing system that runs seamlessly on the cloud or minimal hardware infrastructure, it can be plugged into any computing architecture.

Graphite performs two main tasks – it collects performance data from each device and renders it all on-demand into customizable graphical presentations. But it is also used to store, query, and visualize time-grouped data coming from anywhere in the IT environment.

Armed with this tool, administrators and operations teams gain visibility and understanding of the health, behavior, and performance of all the applications and devices in their domain. They have granular control to help with the accurate identification and resolution of errors before they hurt the business’s overall performance.

Graphite is used to monitor and improve the performance of a wide range of resources including, but not limited to, servers, websites, cloud solutions, and connectivity infrastructures. It can integrate with numerous other third-party tools.

What is Datadog? – An overview

Datadog logo website

Datadog, on the other hand, is a comprehensive monitoring tool that collects, analyzes, and represents data in different formats.

Datadog is a data collection tool.

This is a SaaS monitoring service aimed at IT, Operations, and DevOps teams who build and run applications on dynamic or hybrid infrastructures. It unifies logs, metrics, and traces from across distributed infrastructure settings.

It is capable of collecting large amounts of data from almost anything on a network – applications, cloud services, tools, servers, containers, web browsers, and mobile devices. Once collected, this data is presented on a unified dashboard showing critical metrics, traces, logs, and events.

Datadog monitors assets – be they single servers, clusters, or entire networks – non-stop, around the clock, and evaluates the collected information on different metrics against set benchmark values. Any deviations are causes that trigger alerts through configured channels that are sent out to all stakeholders.

It is an ideal tool for detecting bottlenecks in application code or the infrastructure as it closely monitors cloud services, apps, tools, hosts, and containers.  It can also correlate, analyze, and render graphs of large amounts of such collected data – in mere seconds – through its intuitive dashboards.

In case they have unique queries or need to see customized queries, administrators can build new dashboards using drag-and-drop graphs and other in-built widgets. They can then rank and filter key metrics to focus on, or drill down into specific events for detailed information.

This tool can also be integrated with many other third-party solutions for even better, enhanced reach and performance.

Now that you have a brief idea of the two platforms, let’s see how they compare against each other.

Key features for each tool


Graphite graphs and charts

Graphite Key Features:

  • Advanced data views and graphs
  • Bug tracking services that are detailed and easy to decode

Why choose Graphite?

  • An open-source and transparent solution that can be easily customized or enhanced, allows for the monitoring of any system
  • A data-focused tool that integrates into any current architecture makes it the ideal tool for any business
  • Users can monitor and view data natively with built-in graphics
  • It comes with a large dedicated development community that keeps improving and growing the solution


Datadog graphs and charts

Datadog Key Features:

  • Full API access allows for further data manipulation down the line
  • It can trace requests automatically across all libraries and frameworks and run auto-instrumentation to collect spans
  • Users can overlay event markers on the rendered graphs for correlation analysis

Why choose Datadog?

  • It offers numerous real-time usage monitors via numerous templates and widgets
  • This tool can monitor both internal and external assets to give admins a holistic view of network performance and accessibility
  • It allows for real-time insights as changes made to the network are reflected immediately
  • Also, it allows businesses to scale their monitoring efforts reliably through flexible pricing options

Graphite vs. Datadog: head-to-head

Next, we will have a head-to-head look at common features and see what Graphite and Datadog have to offer.

User Interfaces (UIs)

Graphite comes with a user-friendly UI that has all the functionalities that help gather, transform, process, and filter data presented in a graph. It has a dashboard that lets you see one or two visualization types, making it relatively straightforward.

Running queries in Graphite is easy and can be used to perform relatively advanced analytics using the tool. It has flexible functionalities that perform calculations, groupings, aliasing, and exclusion methods that help get clearer insights.

On the other hand, Graphite’s UI is minimalistic with not-too-flexible visualizations. But, for a better user experience (UX), it can easily be integrated with numerous backends with advanced tools. Such tools include Grafana and MetricFire.

Datadog too has an easy-to-use UI with customizable dashboards and graphs that allow for the unification of KPIs in real-time.

Right out of the box, Datadog offers several dashboards that allow for monitoring of platforms like Kubernetes, EC2, and RDS on top of allowing the building of new dashboards. It is a user-friendly interface for experts and novices alike.

Monitoring Capabilities

Graphite is a solution that caters to users with a time-related data storage capability and its efficient graphical presentation using a query language. Other, more enhanced, functionalities are addressed by third-party solutions – and there are many of them.

Graphite is composed of sets of back- and front-end components. The back-end components are used to store numeric time-series data, while the front-end components are used to retrieve the metric data and render graphs.

The three main components of the solution are:

  • Carbon A high-performance service that listens for time-series data and feeds the stack
  • Whisper A simple database library for storing the collected time-series data that is delivered by Carbon
  • Graphite-web A UI and API for rendering graphs and dashboards by interacting with the other components

Graphite works and integrates with various data collectors and backend solutions which is further enhanced by its plug-and-play capabilities.

Moving on to Datadog, we find that it offers SaaS-based monitoring features along with visualization, metrics, and alerting functionalities of cloud or hybrid environments.

This solution can be deployed anywhere – be it on-premises, multi-cloud, hybrid, or IoT platforms. It is further empowered with its capabilities to integrate with over 600 systems, apps, and services.

It has a Live Process Monitoring feature that tracks the impact of each process running in the infrastructure. It collects large amounts of data from all types of running various apps and tools and monitors their entire lifecycle. Datadog also has user alerting capabilities that are triggered in case of milestone or threshold excesses and violations.

Datadog helps track and gain visibility into applications by tracking requests from multiple end-to-end systems, as well as code instrumentation with the help of open-source tracking libraries. This means software solutions are monitored at the code level.

It monitors application architecture – from the user interaction to back-end storage – and identifies bottlenecks, errors, traffic issues, slow-running queries, and more with its end-to-end tracing, latency breakdowns, and flame graphs that highlight inaccurate requests.

Other metrics that are monitored by Datadog include availability, response times, and error rates.

Platforms and installation

Graphite is a SaaS solution. During installation, it scans for and deploys its core components as well as its agent, data query engine, and StatsD daemon. It is easy to install, and configure while also making it a working solution straight out of the box – and even more so when solutions like Grafana are added as peripheral solutions.

Datadog’s installation is also pretty straightforward. Being a SaaS monitoring solution, users only need to create an account and install the agent on their platform. It works with Windows, and Linux (and derivative) operating systems. Once done, it is time to run the agent’s status command, and the installation will begin. And when that is done, Datadog immediately starts collecting metrics and events from hosts and their applications.


Graphite creates graphs for a better understanding based on data analysis. It has flexible and customizable graphs and dashboards that make them not only insightful and interactive but also a joy to look at.

Datadog too is a highly customizable tool that has advanced reporting features. It allows for customization and can also be integrated with Datadog Reporter to send scheduled reports out to stakeholders via email.


Although Graphite does not come with its own alerting capabilities, it does integrate with open-source tools like Graphite-alerts and Graphite-beacon to overcome the handicap.

Datadog, meanwhile, has an ML-based alerting feature that efficiently detects problems in apps, services, and infrastructure. These alerts are contextual for clarity and actionable for quick responses and minimal downtimes.


Users can get training for Graphite through online courses found on many websites – a simple search yields a lot of results.

On the other hand, Datadog has a Learning Center with multiple online courses. If you face any issues with the platform, you can contact their Learning team through [email protected] or visit their training Slack channel.


Graphite is an open-sourced and community-developed solution, which means it is FREE to download and install. For businesses that seek to implement a more business-ready version of the software, there is Hosted Graphite MetricFire – a Graphite-as-a-Service tool on a Grafana cloud – that comes with more user-friendly features. But, it comes at a price:

Datadog too has a free package – for up to five hosts, and a one-day retention of metric data. For premium packages, the prices are:

Graphite vs. Datadog – which is the better solution?

As we have seen throughout this article, these are two solutions that can be leveraged to perform two distinct tasks. While Datadog is best at keeping an eye out for issues with your IT assets, Graphite presents it all in a manner that makes it easy for you, the administrator, to understand what exactly is going on.

And so, to answer the question: Graphite vs. Datadog – which is the better solution? The answer is that you should implement both systems. Keep excellent track of your system and present the input in an excellent presentation. At the very least, get Datadog and implement the basic, standalone, and free version of Graphite – you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Leave a Reply