There are no tools quite like Honeycomb on the market.
Here's how our approach, feature set, and value compare to four traditional categories.
Monitoring & Metrics
(DATADOG, SIGNALFX, STATSD, KIBANA, ETC.)
Dashboards that answer specific questions about metrics (essentially, a "dot" of data), typically limited to a certain number of tags because of the write amplification factor.
Honeycomb accepts arbitrarily wide events with no schema, and lets you ask questions on the fly that look more like business intelligence queries, over arbitrary keys and values.
You can also bookmark and share your custom queries, making it easier to stay afloat oncall, onboard new teammates, get visibility into new features or recent deploys, or just pick up where you left off investigating.
(SPLUNK, SUMO LOGIC, ELK, LOGGLY, ETC.)
Logs are unstructured data, so the aggregation layer relies on you predicting schema and indexes in advance (indexes are expensive to maintain). Great for diagnosing known-unknowns.
We accept only structured data. This means we don't need to do as much costly storage and processing on the server side.
Honeycomb has no schema or indexes. We flexibly aggregate at read-time, making us great for surfacing unknown-unknowns. We're also performant because we can do horizontal sharding indefinitely.
App Performance Monitoring
(NEWRELIC, DYNATRACE, APPDYNAMICS)
Typically a collection or presentation layer on top of a monitoring or log aggregation backend. They often do clever things to sift out the most important data automatically and present it with very little work. A great shortcut for getting started.
Honeycomb gets you started right away with some common high-level queries that are relevant to your data and systems — then turns you loose and lets you explore the way you want to. Don't be trapped at step 1.
We handle high-cardinality and high-dimensionality cases, making it as easy to find the 100,001th thing as the 10th thing.
(SENTRY, AIRBRAKE, ROLLBAR)
Indispensable for quickly tracing down specific issues, but generally don't surface subtler problems in your system's health.
Honeycomb's specialty is helping you investigate mysteries, like root causes of system outages. It's also great at surfacing subtler health problems before those problems cascade into outages.
You could use us to look at your exceptions, but there are plenty of specialized tools that already do a great job at that.
Looking for more detailed insight?
See this blog post for a deeper analysis.