Leading Game Developer
Saves Millions While Scaling 10X

Reduction in custom metrics cost
Increase in custom metrics volume
Easy migration from Datadog with accelerated time to value
Highly responsive and knowledgeable support team

Business Need

  • Higher custom metrics scalability
  • Better unit price for custom metrics
  • Visibility into usage and flexibility to easily tune metrics
  • Rapid time to value
  • More responsive and transparent vendor support
“As we scaled, Datadog was becoming increasingly painful to work with. They started putting limits on what we could send, causing them to block reporting and metrics. As a result, metrics would disappear. We didn’t know it until we needed the metric, and by then, it was too late.”
Lead Engineer Game Development Company

Company Overview

Downloaded billions of times per month, the games built using this technology company’s platform are used by gamers worldwide on everything from mobile phones and consoles to desktop computers. A critical revenue stream for the company comes from an auction platform that delivers advertisements to these gamers. Hosted on one of the big three cloud providers, the auction platform allows advertisers to bid on each ad impression.

Infrastructure: Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

Orchestration: Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)

Solution: Sysdig Monitor


Spiraling Custom Metrics Cost

The development team responsible for the auction platform relies heavily on custom metrics, such as host and container metrics instrumented into applications that handle the auctions and serve the ads. The technology company sent these metrics to Datadog to monitor both the health of the applications and the performance of the auction business, using dashboards and alerts. Datadog, and monitoring tools in general, charge for custom metrics by volume. As the business from the auction platform grew, the volume of custom metrics generated by the platform increased at a much faster rate. As a result, the cost of custom metrics monitoring with Datadog became extremely expensive, skyrocketing to millions of dollars annually, and with a projected increase of 400% within a year. This sticker shock was the first red flag.

Scaling Issues

The second challenge the team was facing with Datadog was scalability. Datadog could not handle the high volume of custom metrics that the auction platform was sending. As a result, they were dropping metrics during peak periods, causing frequent visibility gaps. Most monitoring systems tend to throttle the number of custom metrics ingested beyond a certain volume.

“As we scaled, Datadog was becoming increasingly painful to work with,” said a lead engineer at the organization. “They started putting limits on what we could send, causing them to block reporting and metrics. As a result, metrics would disappear. We didn’t know it until we needed the metric, and by then, it was too late.”

This dual challenge of spiraling monitoring costs and a loss of visibility into business-critical metrics resulted in a hunt for an alternate monitoring solution.

Challenges at a Glance

  • Unexpectedly high custom metrics bills
  • No visibility into what custom metrics were being collected
  • Dropped metrics
  • Poor support and responsiveness from Datadog


The Criteria for Improvement

Once the team decided to evaluate alternatives, they identified four key criteria that the replacement solution had to meet:

  • Lower costs for custom metrics
  • The ability to handle both their current and projected metrics scale
  • Easy implementation and migration from Datadog
  • More responsive and transparent support

After researching multiple SaaS-based monitoring tools, the company decided to switch to Sysdig Monitor, because it met the above requirements better than any other product. At its core, Sysdig Monitor helps organizations monitor and troubleshoot issues in cloud-native workloads. And from a custom metrics monitoring standpoint, Sysdig can ingest custom metrics in any format – StatsD, Java Management Extensions (JMX), Prometheus, or Open Telemetry – at extremely large volumes and low cost, which are key requirements for this organization.

Custom Metrics Cost Reduced by Over 75%

The team quickly discovered that the unit cost of custom metrics in Sysdig was several times lower than that of Datadog and other SaaS monitoring tools. Given the custom metrics volume projected for the next three years, the company calculated a projected cost savings of over 75% for its custom metrics monitoring. This was a huge windfall that had an immediate, positive impact on the organization’s budget, saving millions of dollars.

Handling 10X More Custom Metrics Volume

Unlike Datadog, Sysdig does not impose any limits on incoming metrics, and scales linearly to ensure that operations teams have everything they need for monitoring. As a result, the organization can send the metrics that the development team requires. In addition, the dashboarding capabilities in Sysdig have helped this team fine-tune the auction platform to maximize ad revenue.

Easy Migration From Datadog

The company was able to implement Sysdig Monitor with minimal disruption by leveraging the existing metrics collection framework based on open source technologies. In addition, Sysdig provided easy mechanisms to convert hundreds of Datadog dashboards to Sysdig dashboards, accelerating their time to value. Sysdig’s native support for Prometheus Query Language, a query language that is open, extremely powerful and flexible, made it very easy to migrate from Datadog and helped the development team onboard quickly.

Superior Transparency and Support

Building a business case for a new vendor is often more than just reducing costs. Effective vendor partnerships are built on transparency, trust, and responsiveness. Sysdig dedicated a solutions engineer who supported and coordinated the migration. This made a vast difference for the company. “I really appreciate how proactive the Sysdig technical support team is with identifying issues, and how open they are to our feedback,” concluded the company’s vice president of engineering. “At the outset, I got the sense that the Sysdig team would be responsive to our needs. I’m delighted that hunch seems to have held true throughout our engagement.”

Sysdig Benefits

  • Monitoring performance at scale with custom metrics, Kubernetes insights, and troubleshooting
  • Cost-effective pricing model

About Sysdig Monitor

You can do more than save money on custom metric costs with Sysdig Monitor. It is a modern Prometheus-compatible observability solution built from the ground up for cloud-native workloads, used by hundreds of enterprises for monitoring workloads running in Kubernetes or virtual machines, hosted in public or private clouds. Learn more about Sysdig Monitor here, or Request a Demo.

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