Zabbix – Open Source Monitoring

zabbixLast spring, at a job interview – the interviewer tells me that they are considering using Zabbix to monitor their environment. I was asked what I knew about Zabbix. And unfortunately, the answer was nothing. They told me to go learn it, and come back in a week and so, I did!

The job never materialized, but nonetheless, I am grateful that I was introduced to this product, and want to share with you a little bit about how I am using it… At home!!

For those not familiar with the Product, the headline on their web page describes it as “The Enterprise-class Monitoring Solution for Everyone”. Well – I don’t know about “everyone”, but for those of us that are used to Linux and other open source projects, I think it’s definitely worth considering.

To get it up and going, I fired up a CentOS 6.4 64-bit Linux Virtual Machine. Installed the LAMP stack on top. And off to the races. The getting started guide provided by the product is pretty good, so, I won’t bother repeating it here. I will just give you a few examples of how I am using it in my home environment.

ALARMS

The first thing I would like a monitoring system to tell me – what are the current issues with my servers? Without doing any customization to the agents, I am able to see the current troubles…

issues

GRAPHS

That is a real-time view of what was going on.  But maybe this is normal?  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could see how your box has been performing over time?

Here are a is a graph showing CPU load on the “alpha” virtual machine over the last hour while I was generating load.

alpha-cpu

And a graph showing memory usage on alpha over the same period.

alpha-mem

Or maybe you want to predict when your file system is going to fill up?

saturn-disk

Or how much of the bandwidth you are buying, you are actually using?

saturn-network

NO AGENT?

And if you can’t install an agent on the device – maybe it’s an appliance – or locked down by the vendor. A nice easy “ping”‘ test will at least tell you it’s on the network – or more importantly – when it’s not!

issues2

WEB MONITORING

Another test that I am doing – is my www.paixao.ca available? I created a “scenario” to retrieve my home page to see if is on-line – and even retrieve a 5 MB file so that I can judge how fast (or slow) my hosting provider is.

paixaoca-speed

paixaca-response

NOTIFICATIONS

When a “problem” does show up – what can it do?  It can send you an email. Or if you have a modem attached, and are willing to pay, there is an SMS interface.

notifications

MAPS

My favourite feature those are the maps. Although it takes a little bit of effort to setup, you can create a map that represents your environment that reacts to alarms real time – giving you a graphical view of your environment.

map

You can quickly see what elements are in trouble, and even the relationship between elements. 

OTHER FEATURES

Only so much I can do in my home lab. There’s other features that in time I would like to get the opportunity to play with.

  • SNMP Traps coming from devices into Zabbix.

  • IPMI Interface into the hardware. (The OS doesn’t necessarily know there is a hardware fault – IPMI gets you a view into the hardware.)

YOUR TURN

Are you using Zabbix? Doing anything cool with it?