Graylog vs. Datadog

Graylog vs. Datadog

Graylog and Datadog are the two popular log monitoring solutions or LMS tools used by many enterprises to monitor their infrastructure. These tools delve into logs that are created by connected devices to make sense of it by presenting the data in consumable and comprehensible graphical formats.

In this post, we will discuss both the Graylog and Datadog log analysis tools in detail and compare how they are identical or different, making it easier for you to choose the one that fits your requirements based on informed decisions.

Graylog and Datadog – usages and common applications

Both tools focus on monitoring three key aspects of infrastructures by extracting and analyzing their log data. These three aspects are:

  • Operating system It keeps track of various popular operating systems, including Windows, Linux, macOS, and Unix.
  • Network It is important to keep an eye on the traffic that is being sent over the network and detect if, for example, specific packets are being dropped.
  • Components Here the tools need to monitor all devices on the network to get constant updates on their health and performances.

With that agreed upon, let us have a look at each tool individually.


Graylog logo

Graylog is a tool that monitors systems using its advanced logging features. Among such features, we find that it can look at CPU utilization on a per-process basis and not just the overall CPU utilization. This is important to keep a track of, so we know when it is reaching its threshold limits. Because, if processes push the CPU usage to the limits, there will be a slowdown of all other mission-critical and system processes including web interfaces and the processing of the logs themselves.

‍Graylog exposes internal log messages after breaking them down by log level with severity ranging from traces, all the way to those that are deemed to be fatal. The polling or extraction of the log data can be set to various time intervals to help with identifying how many errors occur over a set amount of time.

What is Graylog? – An overview

The networks of today are chock-full of data traffic that comes from all types of devices, operating systems, and applications. All of this data can be tracked and monitored by Graylog – which aggregates, organizes, and presents it in an all-inclusive and comprehensive way.

In the modern business network, we deal with an abundance of data. This data comes from various sources like devices, applications, and operating systems. A centralized LMS like Graylog provides a means to aggregate, organize, and make sense of all this data.

Graylog threads together performance inputs from across the stack

It is a tool that was intentionally built for modern network traffic. It takes the log data and presents it in formats that are ready for modern log analytics. It removes complexity from data exploration, compliance audits, and threat hunting, so users can quickly and easily find meaning in their log data and resolve issues faster.

Graylog is a fully integrated open-source log management platform for collecting, indexing, and analyzing both structured and unstructured data. It is built for capturing, storing, and enabling real-time analysis of terabytes of machine log data.

It is a platform that can be used by any IT professional, especially network administrators and DevOps teams.


Datadog logo

Datadog does pretty much what we have just mentioned – and more. It can, for example, graph protocol usage and performance stats and keep track of them to check, for example, if you’re having any network latency issues. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Perhaps, the most important aspect of this tool, is that Datadog can bring together, not only all the data on a network but also present it in a highly customizable monitoring platform, regardless of the technology stack, geographical location, or function.

It has over 600 vendor-supported integrations and simple instrumentation for custom applications and business logic that can be collected in a matter of minutes.

Remote data teams – or other stakeholders – can collaborate and troubleshoot issues without tripping one another. They can easily share live data, their findings, or annotated graph snapshots over email, Slack, and other communication tools. For greater control, administrators can create sub-accounts for individual divisions or departments, while a central IT or support team manages alerts and dashboards across the company.

Let’s delve deeper and have an overview of these log management tools.

What is Datadog? – An overview

A Datadog dashboard showing the performance of network devices

Among many other functionalities, Datadog too has log management features that can cover log metrics of servers, cloud instances, and apps. All users can collaborate and see across systems, apps, and services.  It also comes with turn-key integrations that further allow it to seamlessly aggregate metrics and events across the full DevOps stack.

The tool serves as a single platform for collecting and analyzing logs, as well as infrastructure metrics, application performance data, as well as synthetic tests of frontend functionalities, to name a few data sources. It then automatically correlates these data sets, so users can seamlessly navigate between performance metrics and other distributed traces or logs to identify and resolve issues.

Troubleshooting is made more efficient – and much easier – thanks to the tool’s service and network maps, which visualize the data flow between services and infrastructure components. This helps create an “atlas” of the applications, software, and underlying hardware architecture for easier navigation and pinning of issues and their causes.

They can also search, filter, and analyze logs for insights and resolution of any issues. The platform has auto-tagging and correlation for a better understanding of the data, as well as alerting when issues have been encountered.

Key features for each tool

Right, let’s now look at each tool separately and pinpoint their key features:

Why choose Graylog?

The reasons to choose Graylog include:

  • APIs Graylog is a fully API-based system, which means all metrics are exposed through its API that can be easily pulled to serve as inputs to other systems.
  • Easy to master Graylog is easy to learn and use, which means users have a completely functional system in a short amount of time. It has a highly interactive and aesthetic GUI that delivers in-depth analytics that can handle various data formats.

Why choose Datadog?

The reasons to choose Datadog include:

  • Deep insight The tool offers high-level and granular visibility into errors and crashes in backends, mobile, and web applications.
  • Powerful analytics It reduces noise by grouping related errors by type, error message, and stack trace and monitors issues over time to help understand when they started, how they have evolved, and how often they occur.

Graylog vs. Datadog Head-to-Head

Next, let us have a Graylog vs Datadog comparison of their features:

User Interfaces (UIs)

Graylog delivers a better user experience (UX) thanks to fast and efficient analysis capabilities. It offers scalability, flexibility, and exceptional navigational experiences allowing for the resolution of daily security, compliance, operational, and DevOps issues.

Datadog has a clean and modern design as well as a pleasant, easy-to-use, UI. This makes it easy to master. Apart from that, it was designed to make life easy for the user. For example, the tool comes with over 600 integrations that also have their own dashboards. The process is made easy with a checklist and a battery of tests to make sure the setup and configuration processes are successful.

Monitoring capabilities

When it comes to monitoring, Graylog offers in-depth information from the current data it collects and monitors in real-time – as well as reports extracted from retrievable archived data.

It performs configuration and performance assessment and has a health module with Graylog-supported performance and configuration monitoring dashboards to display it all in consumable formats.

Datadog is also a tool that can do it all. It offers the capability to monitor networks, devices, and containers, as well as the ability to oversee costs, auditing, and security of digital assets. These functionalities are enabled and enhanced thanks to Datadog’s modules for Network Performance Monitoring (NPM), Network Device Monitoring (NDM), Infrastructure Performance Monitoring (IPM), and Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tools.

Platforms and installation

Graylog can be installed in many different ways, as long as its requirements are met. This means it can be deployed on any Linux flavor of choice, including Debian and Ubuntu, to name a few.

Datadog, meanwhile, works with Windows, Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Red Hat, SUSE, and Ubuntu.


Graylog reports are easy to build and configure. They leverage its dashboard functionalities to provide scheduled reports, meaning there are already built-in chart types, relative time frames, and advanced target data rules that come straight out of the box. Then there are the APIs to share data into its report builder using data from the entire stack.

A sample Graylog report on DNS performance and response

Users can then drill down into them for detailed information to help identify key trends and take action.

Datadog also offers several reports that users can use to stay informed about their systems’ health. For example, there is the dashboard, Datadog’s tool for visually tracking, analyzing, and displaying key performance metrics, which enables users to monitor their infrastructure.

And then it has an integration, Datadog Reporter, which is used to schedule reports and email them out at set intervals. Any existing dashboards can be used by adding the URL to the reporter web application and setting the mailing interval. The plugin automatically sends it out to the addressed stakeholders.

Finally, users can use the Log Analytics API to build custom reports and dashboards by combining information from the infrastructure and other services on top of log data.


Graylog alerts are created using Event Definitions that consist of filters and conditions. When a given condition is met, it is stored as an event that can trigger an alert.

A typical Datadog errors report - drilled down to the code level

Alerts in Datadog are called Monitors. These can be based on nearly any metric that Datadog can capture, and this goes far beyond simple up or down capabilities. Thresholds can be set and ranges on common values like CPU usage let you know via email whether or not an asset is working.

Datadog is an intelligent solution that can foretell a system’s possibility of failure by reporting on any erratic or outlying performances.


Anyone looking for training on the Graylog tool has several options. For one, they can go through the company’s documentation to read about it. Then there is the Graylog Academy, where courses are available for free. Alternatively, there is the Graylog Community where users and contributors can come together to share their knowledge and help each other out with any issues they may encounter.

Datadog training is offered in their Learning Center. Apart from that, there is documentation that users can go through and even a Udemy course for those that may need a full online training course. For those looking to specifically pursue a course in log management, they offer their course – “Log Management Fundamentals Learning Path”.

Of course, as these two tools are popular, it means a simple online search yields plenty of informative content that users can browse through.


Graylog Open is only available as a self-managed (on-premises) experience, and it is completely FREE.

Meanwhile, to begin with, you can try Datadog FREE for 14 days. Once you are happy with the performance, you can then go on and buy the proprietary or commercial versions. The prices can be seen in the table below:

Datadog is an affordable solution - even at the Enterprise level

Graylog vs Datadog – which is the better solution?

The most common users of Graylog are from mid-sized companies (51-1,000 employees). Datadog, on the other hand, is a monitoring tool that is preferred by larger enterprises. Perhaps, the main reason behind this could be the fact that they can afford it in a sustainable format.

But, more importantly, Graylog is solely a log management solution while Datadog is a complete IT monitoring solution that offers log management as a feature. Therefore, another reason for smaller businesses to opt for Graylog would be that they would be wasting the remaining features (and paying for them) that come with Datadog.

Let us know what you think, and leave us a comment.

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