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Everything you need to know about Zabbix

Here’s an introduction to Zabbix, the open source monitoring tool. Zabbix is a highly integrated network monitoring solution, which has an array of features in a single package.

Zabbix is open source network software that provides agents to monitor remote hosts and includes support for monitoring via SNMP, TCP and ICMP checks. It offers real-time monitoring of thousands of metrics collected from servers, virtual machines and any other kind of networking device. Its capability ranges from monitoring the traffic in the network to tracking how much ink is left in your printer. It also offers excellent reporting and data visualisation features based on the stored data.

Zabbix was created by Alexei Vladishev and is currently being actively developed and supported by Zabbix SIA.

An overview of Zabbix
Zabbix uses the client-server architecture and a small agent on the monitored client to gather data and send it to the Zabbix server. Zabbix version 3 supports encrypted communication between the server and connected clients, so that data is protected while it travels over insecure networks.
Zabbix consists of several major software components. These components and their features are outlined below.

Server: The Zabbix server is the central component to which agents report availability and integrity information and statistics. The server is the central repository in which all configuration, statistical and operational data is stored.

Database storage: All configuration information as well as the data gathered by Zabbix is stored in a database.

Web interface: For easy access to Zabbix from anywhere and from any platform, a Web based interface is provided. The interface is part of the Zabbix server and usually (but not necessarily) runs on the same physical machine as the one running the server.

Proxy: The Zabbix proxy can collect performance and availability data on behalf of the Zabbix server. A proxy is an optional part of the Zabbix deployment; however, deploying it may be very beneficial to distribute the load of a single Zabbix server.

Agent: Zabbix agents are deployed on monitoring targets to actively track local resources and applications, and report the gathered data to the Zabbix server.

Zabbix features

Zabbix is a highly integrated network monitoring solution, with an array of features in a single package. Listed below are some of its features:
1. Data gathering
2. Real-time graphing
3. Web monitoring
4. Network discovery
5. Audit logging
6. Easy configuration
7. Agent-less monitoring
8. Web interface
9. Extensive visualisation options
10. JMX monitoring

Configuring Zabbix

There are primarily four ways of getting Zabbix on your system:
1. Installing it from distribution packages.
2. Downloading the latest source archive and compiling it yourself.
3. Installing it from the containers.
4. Downloading the virtual appliance.

Requirements

Memory: Zabbix requires both physical and disk memory. A minimum of 128MB of physical memory and 256MB of disk memory are required to start it.
CPU: Zabbix, especially the database, may require significant CPU resources depending on the number of monitored parameters and the chosen database engine.

Zabbix can easily be run on a number of operating systems like:

  • Linux
  • IBM AIX
  • FreeBSD
  • NetBSD
  • OpenBSD
  • Mac OS
  • Solaris
  • Windows

Zabbix version releases

The first public version of Zabbix was released in 2001 and was called Zabbix 1.0alpha1. But the first stable version 1.0 was released in 2004. After this, a new stable release came out every one-and-a-half years. The latest Zabbix 3.2.3 version was released on December 21, 2016. The release date of various versions can be obtained from the Zabbix website.