Zabbix Review

Powerful, scalable, flexible for different use cases, highly customizable, supports multitenancy, and has a powerful API for integration

What is our primary use case?

As a network services provider we use Zabbix to monitor our network infrastructure and customer services. I have also set instances for a number of government institutions to monitor their entire ICT Infrastructure. I will focus on the largest instances, the service provider use cases.

I use Zabbix to monitor network devices, servers, databases, virtual machines, services and applications. For the network services provider, I run an instance for our internal infrastructure and another instance for monitoring our customer services so they can have access to monitor the state and status of their services, SLA, view utilization graphs on demand or in real time and produce needed reports and also receive alerts when problems happen

We can now easily monitor anything on our infrastructure and customer services using Zabbix as a consolidated solution for all our network infrastructure and customer services monitoring needs , as Zabbix is highly flexible and customizable to fit the specific needs of our organization.

How has it helped my organization?

Zabbix has greatly improved our operations and maintenance by helping us be more proactive. We can easily spot problems or undesired states on our infrastructure or customer services

With the Zabbix out-of-box multitenancy support, our customers can have restricted access to their service utilizations and other operational data in real time or on demand. The feedback from our customers shows they are very happy and they appreciate how easy it is to learn using it.

Time to work on issues is greatly reduced, as Zabbix provides powerful alerts and details into what is happening in our network. Issues that could take weeks to resolve can now easily be spotted in a few minutes as all essential metrics for all devices are monitored in real time.

Zabbix fits well with our multi-vendor environment and it has a lot of out-of-box templates that can be customized to fit our needs.

We can easily provide infrastructure status reports with Zabbix. We can produce reports even for old devices that were not properly and consistently monitored since they were installed.

What is most valuable?

Zabbix is highly customizable and flexible, which makes it easy to have all our monitoring needs accommodated. Many elements like auto-discovery, dashboards, templates, graphs, maps, metrics, SLA's can easily be customized to fit specific needs

Zabbix has a powerful API that support integration with third party software, automation and creating new applications. It can be easily integrated with other  tools as a data ingest, processing or visualization platform. The API allows for utilizing better software in specific areas that Zabbix may be lacking like Grafana which allows for more customizable dashboards.

Auto Discovery and Custom Actions are greatly helpful in doing mass discovery, the grouping of hosts, and templates association. The flexibility in setting discovery rules and actions is really helpful for complicated use cases.

Multi-tenancy support which a result of granular use roles, automatic actions, tags, and host grouping. User permissions can be limited to specific sections, services, applications, device groups, access level etc. This has proven to be very helpful for our customer's services monitoring instance.

Out-of-box templates that are customizable, can be changed or modified to suit specific use cases. Additional items can be added to these templates and more filtering or pre-processing rules can be specified in these templates

It has an intuitive UI with beautiful graphs and customizable maps. Although more powerful solutions can be used, Zabbix caters for all our needs in that area as it provides the flexibility we need.

Zabbix provides regular updates and a clear and timed roadmap. Very helpful as our c company can see whether  expectations will be taken care in coming releases of the software.

What needs improvement?

Although Zabbix is great, the documentation is a bit lacking. The documentation gets a bit messy between versions and is not too detailed, the learning curve is steep and can be difficult for first-timers, especially when they run into issues.

Zabbix depends on other open-source projects, so it would be a good idea to add more information on fine-tuning a Zabbix instance especially the essential details when working with specific choices of OS, database, webserver etc. I had to do most of the things with limited resources in the fine-tuning of the database, OS, and other packages. Although not entirely a Zabbix issue it is a good idea to provide guidance on the basics.

Automatic maps. It would be great if Zabbix could create automatic topology maps using discovery protocols like LLDP or CDP.

Automatic Updates of host templates. It would save a lot of time if that could be done with new releases while keeping personal configurations intact.

Out of box high availability setting for all sections of Zabbix

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zabbix for two years

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a very stable solution. It is a low maintenance solution and if finetuned and optimized properly can handle a heavy workload with minimum resources.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product is highly scalable.  HA and redundancy can be set for database, proxy and front-end.

How are customer service and technical support?

Zabbix experts provide great ideas on the open-source forums for the products. The Zabbix community, including the CEO and the technical experts, are friendly. Since they are doing great with the community, I am confident they are doing great with their optional Technical Support which we have not subscribed to.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I had used other solutions before but the licensing was too expensive for our company and still, other solutions were limited because we have a multi-vendor environment.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is a bit complex but can be done with the right  skills. More important than the initial setup is optimization and finetuning which requires multiple skills.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it in-house. I primarily worked on the database, Zabbix server, Zabbix proxy, frontend and other server side stuff. I also prepared agent and SNMP configuration scripts for other Engineers to implement on network devices and servers.

What was our ROI?

I can confidently say that our ROI is 100%.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Zabbix is open-source so if one wishes to implement it in-house, they must have qualified professionals to set up and optimize databases, Linux/Unix OS, PHP, Apache, and depending on what is monitored, a full-stack network and systems administrator may be needed.

Zabbix provides support although we have not subscribed to the support. We implemented the instances on our own and we also operate and maintain them on our own.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had to evaluate several options including SolarWinds NPM, PRTG, OpenNMS, Cacti, Nagios, and Zenoss Core. We used Huawei U2000, Cisco Prime and PRTG for some devices before we switched to Zabbix.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, Zabbix is a great product. I have been using it for almost two years, and I am very happy with it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

4.0, 4.2, 4.4, 5.0, 5.2, 5.4
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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