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PagerDuty is super expensive. With Slack or another messaging app, you just need a system that will support a schedule and route to engineers appropriately as well as post to the slack channel. A lot of the bells and whistles they have aren't useful. Engineers never need to actually use the Pager Duty website and only use the app for ack'ing the page or just do that in Slack.

This feels like it should be more of a commodity. E.g. a service like OpsGenie can undercut them.

$100 a month per user on their enterprise plan is insane for what they offer: https://www.pagerduty.com/pricing/

What industry are you in where you care about getting paged after hours, but you're happy tying your paging to Slack's availability, and you have the engineering time to devote to recreating and maintaining a paging system?

I'm sure there are industries where that makes sense, but I bet you can imagine there are industries and companies where that doesn't add up.

You still need something like PagerDuty, OpsGenie, etc. for the on call rotation and routing. All I am saying is all the other 1000 features they offer and charge for aren’t needed when you don’t really use their web site at all.

Also, my company switched from PagerDuty to OpsGenie and after a week everyone was used to the new system, so that strikes me as more of a commodity.

We reimplemented paging system with Slack plus Twilio fallback, it made sense for us, but yes I think that's rare.

Yes, Slack only was completely unacceptable and we already had Twilio account used for other things.

I haven't created my own paging system but I've gotten quite far with Zabbix and Twilio. Zabbix's feature set includes the ability to define teams and schedules and execute a custom command when downtime is detected.

That being said, I was happy to hear that my new work had a PagerDuty account because the fewer things I have to host and maintain the better.

SRE at a large software company here - PagerDuty is absolutely critical to our operations. I will absolutely not trust Slack's availability nor is Slack the right platform to manage this and to expect immediate responses, even from oncalls.

When you've lots of users bells and whistles like schedule layers and setting overrides are very useful.

You don't need the $99/month plan, you can do fine on $39/month.

I didn’t say replace the “operator” part of PagerDuty — you still need something to manage on call rotations and escalate to right engineers. But that shouldn’t cost $39 a month per engineer and all the other features won’t be used because people spend most time in their messaging app triaging issues.

I see you've never had an issue that needed someone to immediately and reliably answer. Even I've had to rely on PagerDuty's ability to both persist in calling and fallback to the next person (all with a history to audit) when a super serious issue occurs. The key though, is for PagerDuty to only be invoked very rarely, so that it isn't becoming abusive.

These routes are configurable using Prometheus.

Yes, and Dropbox is still trivial for Linux users to build. But somehow, they're doing okay post IPO. If you think slack is a viable alternative and are complaining about sticker price on the enterprise plan, perhaps you are not in their target market.

Why are you citing the enterprise plan if your argument is that you don’t need most of what they offer?

It’s $30/month for lowest tier with more than 6 users. There’s no way it’s ROI positive for you to build and maintain this yourself until you have [many] hundreds of employees using PD.

The fact that it’s super simple to use while being highly configurable and reliable is a pro, not a con.

There are cheaper services that do same thing. If you aren’t living in PagerDuty to do actual incident management, but only use them as an operator, it is hard to justify 360 a year. That’s way more than even something like gsuite.

Have you actually tried this? I did, and Slack's availability is abysmal. I implemented fallback just in case and got surprised how often it triggers.

$100/month if you want the things that offers (and I imagine many enterprises don't need many of those things). Also consider that's the list price. There is a reason they have sales people. I'd be surprise if most people are paying list price.

Exactly why we are building https://amixr.io

Schedules, lifecycle, routing in Slack.

Still $29 a month though…

Charged only for on-call persons. So should be less comparing to other tools.

Example: if you have 50 engineers and only 2 of them are on-call per sliding week, you'll be charged for 2.

Ohhhh, that is much better. Totally agree that is fair given there is a cost to actually page someone.

Nice work!


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