What is Zabbix monitoring tool: A Universal Monitoring System For Everything In The World

Zabbix is ​​the swiss army knife of a tough administrator. Zabbix monitoring tool looks like another monitoring system, but its capabilities are much wider and more interesting than that of any product of a similar purpose.

It allows you to collect data on the status of anything from network connections to key business metrics of a product. Hundreds of plugins, scripts, automations extend it and add any desired behavior – from crash notifications to sophisticated metric analyzers.

In the article, we will figure out what Zabbix can do and why this tool is used.

Basic concepts for a general understanding of how Zabbix works

Zabbix monitoring tool of several parts that are not related to each other:

  1. Kernel, or Zabbix server. All information about the state of systems and networks comes here and is stored here. You can use MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite or Oracle as storage. In addition to the data, the core contains all the rules for notifying administrators, settings and configurations of services.
  2. Zabbix agents. These are small spyware hosted on servers that need to be monitored. Zabbix comes in versions for different platforms, so you can easily monitor different operating systems with one program: Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OS X, Tru64 / OSF1, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP , Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7.
  3. Zabbix interface – a graphical part and nice buttons for configuring and configuring monitoring. All events and system states can be viewed there.

Everything works together very simply – agents are placed on servers and monitor their status, hourly / every minute / every second reporting the system parameters to the central core. The kernel checks if everything is in order with the servers, and if something goes wrong, it sends a notification to the administrator. The administrator enters the web interface and understands what the matter is.

Despite the seeming simplicity of the concept, Zabbix requires knowledge and skills to write configuration files correctly. However, in the right hands, this thing can do almost anything.

What can be monitored with Zabbix monitoring tool

  • The state of each server being monitored: speed and load on the processor, disk capacity, free space in RAM and permanent memory.
  • Next comes the state of the network – availability of nodes from the server, connection speed, ping time.
  • Operating system state – the number and state of processes, the presence of certain programs in memory.
  • Metrics and states of application programs – the number of active users, queries to the DBMS, the average response rate of the application.
  • And at the highest level – business metrics: registration of new users, revenue, turnover, number of orders, conversions and other numbers that may be of interest to business management.

What Zabbix monitoring tool can do and why is it so good

  1. Complete network monitoring for thousands and thousands of devices. You can build hierarchical trees in which the higher nodes define the settings and monitoring policies for the lower nodes.
  2. Setting up monitoring for a cluster of thousands is not so easy, so there are convenient templates and groups – I chose a template, put a bunch of servers in it, and you’re done, everything was set up by itself. Or almost by itself.
  3. There are two ways to poll target machines for metrics – the agents themselves report to the Zabbix kernel, or Zabbix itself polls the agents (just like in Prometheus).
  4. There is monitoring of dynamic objects – which means that you can monitor the appearance / disappearance of files / connections / folders / processes.
  5. If something went wrong, Zabbix monitoring tool can quickly notify you of troubles. There are notifications by mail, and there are faster ones (for example, via the XMPP protocol – any administrator should use Jabber!).
  6. Breakdowns can be repaired via remote command execution (optional). You can hook onto a faulty machine right from the kernel, rather than sit and remember for a long time the access keys to the broken server.
  7. For troubleshooting, there is a convenient reader and analyzer of system logs and logs. Agents will always transfer all important information for the administrator to the Zabbix host machine.
  8. You can add any necessary functions to the system – there are plugins and scripts. And the banal automated execution of commands in the console on the server helps a lot. There is no such thing that cannot be taught to Zabbix monitoring tool.
  9. There is an API, which means that you can connect external information processing facilities and visualizers. Zabbix works great in tandem with Grafana if, for some reason, the standard interface does not suit you or you want to have all the data in one place.

To all this, one must add that all this good is free, free and publicly available.

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