The $5B DevOps Stranglehold

BY Jason Hable

June 01, 2020

Ten years ago NewRelic, DataDog, Splunk, Dynatrace and SolarWinds built tools we loved to use.  They were easy to implement and solved problems quickly and efficiently.  Each company was known primarily for a single, well-conceived product. NewRelic’s APM.  Splunk’s log file analyzer.  DataDog’s server monitor.  SolarWinds’ network performance monitor. These companies were beloved by users during the 2000s.

Fast forward to 2020 and the world is very different.  These “Big 5” companies control over $5 Billion in DevOps spending. They now look very different.  Each now offers products across multiple DevOps monitoring categories.  Many of the products were acquired along the way and are a far cry from the quality that once made the Big 5 adored by users.  It’s not surprising.  As you get bigger and bigger, you tend to worry about the needs of your bigger and bigger customers. Eventually, salespeople start to drive decision making instead of engineers and product managers.  The sales tactics get aggressive.  The products trend toward the mediocre, you can feel locked into a single vendor and the prices go up, up up.  

Who can blame them?  Collectively the Big 5 are valued at over $50 Billion! However, the path they have chosen means their key stakeholders are public shareholders and Fortune 500 IT departments.  

We are here to tell you there are alternatives for those of us who are not among the world’s top 500 companies.  There is a new breed of vendors who care about users, who build beloved products, who charge a reasonable price and back it up with fanatical service.

Below is a list of high-quality alternatives to the Big 5.  These companies are SMBs and mid-market companies like yours.  They are users like you and build products for you, not for the Fortune 500.  

Application Performance Monitoring and NewRelic Alternatives

APM tools “allow users to monitor and track the performance of particular software or web applications to identify and solve any performance issues that may arise.”  (G2)  Common customer concerns with New Relic include:

  1. Overly expensive, per server pricing does not match the containerized world
  2. Pushy sales and renewal experience
  3. Product bloat - only use a subset of the features


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Scout continually analyzes your app's performance to identify the root cause of performance bottlenecks down to the Git commit. Developers see an auto-prioritized list of performance issues like N+1 database queries, memory bloat, and expensive SQL calls. There's far less digging around with Scout. Scout APM supports the most popular languages and frameworks including Ruby, PHP, Node, Python and Elixir. Plans start at $129 per month and Scout is offering up to a 50% price reduction for customers who switch from NewRelic

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"With ScoutAPM we got a product we like better, and it saves us 39% over New Relic, it was a win-win"

- Brett Herford-Fell, CTO of Print Speak

Log Analysis and Splunk Alternatives

Log Analysis software “helps to document application log files for records and analytics. This type of software provides tools to increase the collection of logs and to supply centralized databases to store the data. From there, log analysis tools provide analytics components to identify the cause and impact of events.” (G2) Common customer concerns with Splunk include: 

1) Volume-based pricing quickly gets out of control

2) Built for the C-suite, not the end-user  

3) Steep learning curve due to proprietary search language

4) Security is a higher priority than DevOps

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Built by engineers for engineers, Logz.io offers a scalable log management solution built on ELK and Grafana.  Logz.io offers substantial savings vs Splunk and is free up to 1GB

Infrastructure Monitoring and DataDog Alternatives

Infrastructure Monitoring tools “offer a single pane of glass approach to keeping constant watch over a large spectrum of IT systems. These solutions allow businesses to monitor servers, applications, networks, databases, and more through a single dashboard, creating a more uniform, consolidated approach to systems monitoring.” (G2) Common customer concerns with DataDog include 

  1. Surprise increases in bill
  2. Platform lock-in increases with usage
  3. Great for shepherding flocks, but not specific issues
  4. Steep learning curve 

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MetricFire provides simple, easy-to-use infrastructure monitoring based on popular open-source tools like Grafana, Prometheus and Graphite.  MetricFire’s pricing is transparent and customers often save vs DataDog and Amazon CloudWatch. MetricFire also integrates with technologies such as Amazon CloudWatch, allowing users to reduce costs and amplify their monitoring.

Check out the MetricFire free trial, where you can send your metrics from hundreds of data sources, and build Grafana dashboards within minutes.  

"Metricfire is cost-effective, doesn’t require maintenance, and means we discover business issues quickly, which saves engineering time and improves productivity."

- Shahar Kobrinsky, Eyeview, VP of Architecture and Scale, Eyeview

Incident Management and PagerDuty and SolarWinds Alternatives

Incident Management is “an end-to-end solution that responds to, reports on, investigates digital incidents or errors and overall works towards incident resolution” (G2) Common customer concerns with PagerDuty and SolarWinds include 

  1. Price not aligned to value
  2. Web and mobile UIs fall short
  3. Noisy alerting

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xMatters helps customers solve technology problems before they become business problems.  In their own words,”when $hit happens, we minimize the blast radius.”  xMatters is free for up to 10 users and is currently offering free workshops on customer communications and crisis management.

Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) and Dynatrace Alternatives

Digital Experience Management software “is used to discover, track, and optimize web-based resources and the end-user experience. These tools monitor traffic, user behavior, and a number of additional factors to help businesses understand their products’ performance and usability.” (G2) DEM products include RUM and synthetic monitoring.  Common customer concerns with Dynatrace include:

  1. High price
  2. Deep learning curve and suboptimal support
  3. Difficult implementation, not cloud-native from start

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Raygun Real User Monitoring (RUM) empowers teams to deliver flawless digital experiences, each and every time. Raygun doesn’t just give you insights into page load speeds but also provides full journeys of each individual user's session. Where customers encounter errors or performance problems, Raygun highlights the areas of your application that need attention. 

Installation is simple and you can be up and running within minutes. Raygun RUM supports web, mobile, and single page (SPA) applications. Monitoring starts at just $8 per 10,000 user sessions. You can get unlimited monitoring for 14 days with their free trial

We hope you will join Scout APM in exploring these best-in-class alternatives to the Big 5! I look forward to your feedback and plan to update this list as more quality alternatives become available.  

Jason Hable, CEO, Scout APM

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