Datadog alternative: history, comparison and use cases

Do you know the Datadog software? Datadog is also the name of the company that produces it, and here we bring it in a comparison with Pandora FMS. First of all we want to tell you that Datadog is actually a Software as a Service (SaaS), while Pandora FMS is both an autonomous program and a service. Do you want to know more about the alternative to Datadog? Come and read next!

Datadog alternative

Alternative Datadog at the AWS Toronto Summit 2018

Datadog Alternative

The Datadog alternative is Pandora FMS, a software that has been accumulating experience since 2004. Both software combine both free and proprietary solutions, although Datadog decided to settle only in the cloud to centralize its operations and adapt to the way of working in the United States. For this reason, they place the support in the background and predict a learning curve of between one and two weeks.

As each monitoring software calls its components differently, we will use Pandora FMS glossary, which is more extensive due to the longer time in the market; the Datadog glossary is in this link.

Free software and proprietary software

While Pandora FMS is open source and is necessary as the basis for the Enterprise version, Datadog is proprietary in its core, which runs on Amazon Web Services® (AWS) servers. Pandora FMS is in AWS since March 2016 with an Amazon Machine Image (AMI), so we will be able to install our server in the cloud without any problem. Both develop for GNU/Linux, Windows (Datadog for Windows 7 onwards) and Mac OS X. Datadog is based on the development of agile system and Pandora FMS on the continuous integration of software and the rolling release software from version 7.0 NG.

The alternative to Datadog offers a high availability scheme; in the following graphic, we draw you the high availability architecture of Pandora FMS:

Datadog alternative

Datadog high level architecture

Let’s explain component by component.

Software Agent (S.A)

A delicate issue for Datadog was to have an open source S.A v5 based only on Python language; then they switched to v6, also open source, based on Go language and some Python. They have embedded a web server that only accepts local connections on port 5001 (in 32-bit Windows this feature is not included) and we observe tutorials to revert or move from v6 to v5.

Datadog alternative

Ansible Logo

On the other hand the alternative to Datadog, Pandora FMS, offers perl versions for monitoring Unix / Linux devices without installing additional packages. In Windows environments the Software Agent is written in C and compiled, so no additional packages are necessary. In addition, Pandora FMS has a system to auto-update agents from the console.

The alternative to Datadog proposes Ansible and Puppet for the installation of A.S. as well as the possibility of deploying agents using the Active Directory functionality of the Enterprise version, being much more convenient for companies that use these services. This will serve to deploy many other applications. Datadog is designed to go computer or device, one by one (each software agent with its web console), although in the case of Docker (from 2015) the scenario is another highly automated. On October 18, 2018 they presented the Datadog Cluster Agent that allows from 20 thousand pods, which entails a decrease in the workload of the API servers. All this compared to Pandora FMS falls in the monitoring section distributed with several servers (in this link we also present all the different possible combinations).

API Servers

Both applications can connect their A.S. through API but the A.S. of the alternative to Datadog, Pandora FMS, connect using Tentacle as primary option, accepting deliveries by FTP or SSH; in this case, the A.S. do not use the API, but it is accessible to be consulted by whoever the administrator considers appropriate (plugins, scripts, integrations, etc.).

In the event of a communication failure, Datadog would lose the connection and thus the data. Pandora FMS on the contrary, when sending the information in XML files, it would not lose the data because it saves them until it can send them. As soon as the connection is re-established they are sent, respecting the time stamps.

Like all SaaS, Datadog has its maximum limits on the number of API connections and additional charges in certain amounts.

Datadog emphasizes its support to third parties, and that it is capable of receiving direct data from a statsd agent that sends by UDP (obvious, without data encryption and without confirmation or verification of delivery) without representing a greater load to the monitored device. However, Datadog incorporates it -this is the good thing about free software- to its own A.S. -it calls them DogStatsD– to allow labeling.


Datadog uses four reserved tags (system tags) called host, device, service, and source. We think that Datadog starts from a normalized or standard scenario (in two screens called TimeBoards and ScreenBoards and that can be shared by public URLs and in JSON format) and that from there each user starts his customizations up to the specified limit.

There is a free version up to five devices and data registration with a maximum of 24 hours without any alert; Pandora FMS in its OpenSource version is completely free, free, without limit in quantity of devices and without ties (except if we lodge in AWS, as we explained previously).

Plugins of the Datadog alternative

We count 260 (Datadog calls them Integrations), both internal and external. We can mention SNMP (internal) that allows us to create our own MIB with the help of Python (pysnmp) and to control our source code stored in GitHub with a web hook (in the same style as Jenkins). The alternative to Datadog, Pandora FMS, has 530 plugins that are totally free and 158 in the Enterprise version for a total of 688 by the end of November 2018; not counting those that each user has designed for their environment in a specific way. The simplicity of the development of plugins in Pandora FMS is one of its strong points.


Watchdog observes patterns and trends in application metrics, such as application rate, error rate and latency, and unexpected behavior. Watchdog evaluates all services and resources without having to configure a monitor for each service. Of course, you need a certain amount of time to gather information. It is the equivalent to the Prediction Server in Pandora FMS available since 2008.


Both in Pandora FMS and Datadog we can define them via console, but in Datadog there are third party solutions such as Barkdog (Ruby Gem), Dogpush (YAML) or datadog_monitor.

Do you want to know more about the alternative to Datadog? Do you need to monitor a large number of devices? Click here to learn more about Pandora FMS Enterprise:

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