Jacek Lakomiec

Rumblings of the curious mind

Zabbix as the ultimate monitoring and alerting platform

Not many people know that Zabbix is a very powerful monitoring and alerting platform. I specifically do not call it a tool because in my opinion, a tool is a single-purpose item. A needle has a specific use-case, so does a hammer or a flashlight. One might say – but you can use needle to stich something or to take a blood sample, you can use hammer to hammer a nail or smash the window, you might even try to stir your soup with a flashlight if you please. Just be ready to face a bit of criticism..

Anyway, coming back to the topic – Zabbix is very flexible as to what it can do and it all depends on the user. You can have it send messages and alerts to Slack channels, you can tell it to parse your log files regularly and raise alerts via PagerDuty in case it finds specific patterns in the logs, it has so called ‘web scenario’ functionality where it could mimic a user trying to log in to control panel on your website to make sure it works and when it does not – trigger an alert.

You may also use it for large scale deployments where you auto-register nodes with central Zabbix server or Zabbix Proxy nodes as part of your automated deployment strategy. You can have your newly-deployed nodes auto-register to Zabbix, report themselves as specific-purpose nodes (say Cassandra node) and Zabbix will instruct it to apply certain monitoring/alerting templates to itself. In fact, you can even have the whole communication encrypted. I wrote an article about it in the Zabbix Book : http://www.zabbixbook.com/2017/08/01/auto-registering-linux-agents-with-tls-psk-encryption/ .

Overall, I think it’s terribly undervalued, powerful workhorse for monitoring and alerting purposes and if you haven’t done so yet – you should definitely give it a try!