Dynatrace and New Relic are both capable application performance monitoring solutions. Which is better for your enterprise?

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Application performance monitoring is crucial for seamlessly delivering services to end users. Small bottlenecks and inefficient resource management can quickly grow into a large issue, slowing down delivery and frustrating users. Being able to receive instant and actionable data to address these issues is vital.

Thankfully, several robust APM tools exist, and two of the most popular are Dynatrace and New Relic. We’ll take a look at each and compare their strengths and weaknesses.

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What is Dynatrace?

Dynatrace is a fully integrated APM solution with deep AI capabilities and a strong focus on security. Being an agent-based system, Dynatrace collects extremely detailed data which then feeds into their AI engine known as Davis to provide root cause analysis and other actionable data to help teams quickly diagnose and solve problems.

Dynatrace works with all the popular cloud services right out of the box, including AWS, Azure and Google. Dynatrace also offers options to be run as cloud based, on-premise or hybrid depending on your existing infrastructure.

What is New Relic?

New Relic is a powerful APM solution that uses user-set thresholds and correlation data to define and find faults or issues instead of an AI based approach like Dynatrace.

New Relic only offers their service as a SaaS option and no on-premise ability is offered. New Relic does provide an extensive list of plug-ins, which is one of its greatest strengths, along with a strong community of users and knowledge base. Users also like the very intuitive dashboard which requires very little customization after install to provide crucial data via easy to read graphs.

Dynatrace vs. New Relic: Feature comparison

Both of these APM tools look to achieve the same goals, but there are some differences between the two when it comes to features.

Feature Dynatrace New Relic
Extensive plug-ins and AWS integrations No Yes
On-premise or hybrid option Yes No
AI fault detection Yes No
Continuous automation Yes No
Configurable dashboard Yes Yes

Head-to-head comparison: Dynatrace vs. New Relic

These two options both offer similar core functions, but they both offer a different experience for users, along with different strengths. We’ll look at some of those core features below.

Dashboard

Both options here offer a robust dashboard to allow users to quickly access crucial data and spot issues. With New Relic, this is achieved through primarily displaying graphs that are easily readable and offer instant feedback without the need to drill down and menu dive.

Dynatrace offers a dashboard that is built up using user-selected modules or widgets. While this offers greater flexibility and customization, it does require setup and the knowledge of what exactly you want. For this reason, many users prefer the New Relic dashboard as it works well right after installation. Dynatrace does require some effort to set it up, but once done, it can offer a more customized set of data for your needs.

Installation

Dynatrace offers a very easy installation process which provides an automatic discovery tool. Once started from the dashboard, this tool quickly discovers all assets in your entire technology stack, and produces a topology map showing the entire network. This ease of installation is one of the key features users of Dynatrace enjoy the most.

New Relic, while still easy to install, does not offer an automatic discovery and installation option, so there is a little more initial setup involved. While this initial setup may require extra steps, it is relatively easy and most non-developers should be able to handle the task given they understand the environment New Relic is being installed on.

Fault and error detection

These APM tools will both detect bottlenecks, faults and issues. But they go about it in very different ways and give the user a much different experience.

Dynatrace heavily relies on their AI system known as Davis, which integrates their three modules which are One Agent, Smartscape and PurePath. This suite fully monitors the entire technology stack and sets a dynamic baseline for performance, then detects deviations from that baseline. The AI system also provides root cause options when issues are detected. These can be automatically sent to corresponding teams to make responding to and solving issues much quicker.

New Relic does not use any AI style monitoring, and instead uses the industry standard Apdex scores. Users set baseline performance targets, and then New Relic detects deviations from the user-set baseline. Overall, it’s a simpler system which can be more useful in some settings, but does not provide the detail or dynamic monitoring like DynaTrace.

Is Dynatrace or New Relic the better choice?

Both of these APM tools offer great options for those who need to monitor their technology stack and maximize efficiency. However, they each do have their strengths which makes choosing one over the other easier based on your needs.

For those who need deep and highly granular data to solve complex bottlenecks and performance issues in a large environment, Dynatrace is the clear winner. It also works well for dispatching multiple teams to deal with issues that may cover several areas. This combined with the option of being on-premise or hybrid and high security, makes it ideal for complex and larger enterprises.

New Relic which has a slightly more involved install, is overall the easier of the two. Being only an SaaS option, it works best for dedicated cloud based environments. The quick to understand dashboard and extensive plug-ins make getting up and running quick, even for non-developers. So despite it being less detailed in some areas, the ease of use is New Relic’s main strength.

Both of these solutions are capable APM tools, and depending on the size and complexity of your environment, each will do well when chosen for the right task.