Detailed DataDog vs Prometheus Comparison

Both Prometheus and Datadog are monitoring tools, but Prometheus is open source and Datadog is proprietary. Prometheus is the most popular tool for monitoring time series metricsopen in new window, and Datadog is an APM, logs, time series, and tracing tool that provides you with nearly everything in one place.

So, how to choose between Datadog and Prometheus? This guide provides a head-to-head comparison between both products based on installation complexity, user interface, running costs, and more.

DataDog Key Features

DataDog allows you to monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize cloud-based applications all the way down to a single line of code or individual user requests.

DataDog Kubernetes

DataDog is mostly used for cloud-based applications to measure and monitor performance. It provides end-to-end distributed tracing from user devices to backend databases.

DataDog installation is pretty straightforward and only requires creating an account and then installing DataDog agents on your servers.

DataDog comes with a large collection of premade dashboards, for example, the Kubernetes dashboard will show you an overview of Pods, Nodes, Deployments, and more. If you are not satisfied with the result, you can create your own dashboards.

DataDog offers an extensive alerting system that can notify you when a CPU load is above certain threshold or when DataDog detects an anomaly in data.

Prometheus Key Features

Prometheusopen in new window is an open-source monitoring system with flexible query language and real-time alerting.


The initial installation process is pretty easy and straightforward, but the task gets complicated if you want to use all available Prometheus features.

Prometheus does not have a lot of built-in functionality, but it can be easily extended with plugins. If you need an alerting system, you can install AlertManageropen in new window. If you want rich dashboards with vast range of charts and widgets, you can install Grafana and use Prometheus as a data source.

Prometheus has its own query language called PromQLopen in new window that lets users select and aggregate time series data in real time. Learning the language requires some effort and time, but it is worth doing so.

Promethes stores metrics in a time series database with unique metric names and key-value pairs for filtering. It uses HTTP pull model to collect time series.

Key Difference Between DataDog vs Prometheus

As you can see, there are some similarities between Prometheus and DataDog in terms of supported features and functionalities, but there are also considerable differences.

DataDog has much broader applicability and provides performance monitoring, alert management, and data analysis in one place. Prometheus primarily focuses on collecting and monitoring metrics.

You can start using DataDog immediately after creating an account and installing an agent, but with Prometheus you may need to install extra third-party plugins.

DataDog is a SaaS-based application with complex pricing tiers and can be quite expensive if you need to monitor lots of resources. As for Prometheus, it is completely free and does not require much maintenance.

In terms of sheer amount of features, Datadog comes out far ahead, but the initial setup can be a bit overwhelming. On the other hand, Prometheus is much simpler to start with and comes with a rich ecosystem of tools and plugins that can be added later.

Choosing the right tool

Both products have great features and robust monitoring capabilities, but before making your decision, think about your company’s resources and goals.

You can also consider DataDog popular alternatives such as Uptrace or SigNoz which can offer the same functionality for a lower price.

See also