Monitoring Market: Comparison of Splunk, DataDog, and New Relic Pricing Metrics

For most businesses, software monitoring services are essential to ensure their technology is functioning correctly and securely. Demand for these products has soared in the wake of the pandemic, but buyers complain that purchasing these solutions is confusing, because there’s no way to easily compare the offerings of different providers.

Quantity is as important as price in software purchasing, but in this segment, there is no standard metric for measuring volume. And because there is no single best metric, customers are left to their own devices to determine which is the best fit for their business. In response to this challenge, we have distilled the pros and cons of the metrics used by the top three observability suppliers -- Splunk, DataDog, and New Relic.

Splunk Traditional Ingest Pricing

Under this model, the customer pays a one-time fee to index their data, after which they can perform unlimited searches of the data and store it for as long as they like.


  • Offers complete flexibility in infrastructure deployment, with no restriction on number of nodes, cores, or sockets

  • Does not require the client to actively administrate their searches or infrastructure


  • Limits the types and amount of data that can be put into Splunk

  • Clients often run out of space and need to buy additional capacity to accommodate more data

  • Requires an accurate forecast of usage to be cost-effective

Splunk Workload/Infrastructure Based Pricing

The price of this model is based on search activity rather than the amount of data indexed. This is available for both on-premise solutions, like Infrastructure and vCPU, and Cloud-Based solutions, such as SVCs and Workload. Overall, this model is very flexible and a good fit for clients who are ingesting a lot of data (5TB or more), since there is no need to choose between “important data” and “less important data”.


  • No data limits

  • No charges for additional data put through the solution, only additional charge is storage (which will fluctuate given customers data retention requirements)

  • Does not require a precise prediction of the ingest volume ahead of time


  • ·Likely to require more time and effort to maintain. Clients typically need a dedicated resource to ensure the solution is being used efficiently since it is driven by searches performed rather than the GB/day metric.

  • · This is a custom metric and is not as intuitive as the traditional ingest model. There is no direct way to calculate your usage related to vCPUs in comparison to traditional ingest metrics.


Each of DataDog’s monitoring services has its own metric, which makes it difficult to even compare DataDog products among themselves. Each uses a consumption-based metric: customers commit to a certain amount of spend for one to three years and draw against the dollar pool as they consume the monitoring services. For security monitoring, DataDog charges the amount analyzed in GB for each month. For logging, DataDog charges the ingested logs per GB and indexed logs per one million events.


  • Charges conform to exactly what the customer is using

  • Customers can adjust upwards with ease

  • “Logging without limits” model may reduce costs, compared to services like Splunk


  • Customers have more options for monitoring services, but they require a lot of work to sort through and determine which is the best fit

  • While adjusting upwards is easier, adjusting downwards is more difficult due to the pool of funds to which you’ve committed

  • Must choose an initial dollar value spending for one to three years, which is difficult to predict

New Relic

This company recently introduced its “Annual Pool of Funds” model, a consumption-based model incorporating both amount of full stack users per month and data ingested in GB per month. This could be a good fit for customers who have smaller, more centralized monitoring needs due to its user-based pricing metric.


  • Only two major metrics to understand, which is less cumbersome for customers

  • Licensing model is flexible; users can be reassigned without limit

  • Per GB fee is a flat rate of $.25/GB for all customers


  • Still requires customers to project spending years in advanced

  • If user licenses aren’t managed properly, the customer can incur significant cost overruns

Overall, understanding the metrics of monitoring services is vital to ensure you are buying the right amount and optimizing your budget. To learn more about Splunk’s pricing models and negotiation strategy, view the recording of our Splunk webinar. To learn more about negotiating with confidence, read our blog titled Leverage: The Key to Every Deal, or contact your ClearEdge representative.

- Analysts Kevin Cammarn, Christina Costa, and Alex Haukness contributed to this article.