Zabbix Review

Very mature, easy to scale, and free to use

What is our primary use case?

One of our services is implementation.

Basically what we're doing now in terms of use cases is we have customers that have implemented Zabbix including at one of the biggest banks out in Nepal and India. The basic monitoring for the banks are taken care of by Zabbix. Zabbix being open-source, has available APIs for any device or any service that can be easily mapped onto it for monitoring. 

If the customer comes and tells me that I need to monitor an ATM machine, typically, what happens is you need to go back to the OEM to ask for the API so that it can be integrated. However, in the case of Zabbix, we just need to get into the ATM machine or the contact OEM of the ATM and get the scripts for it and add it into Zabbix. It's that easy for us. 

Some customers may be using Zabbix, however, they don't know how to implement it. What we do is make our teams certified on Zabbix implementation. Sometimes customers may be using Zabbix but then have some issues in terms of configuration or they want to work on some specific reports that they need some help with. Getting in touch with Zabbix may be difficult  Therefore, we, as a partner, help out customers. If they need to do an implementation, we help them out in implementation and then with the support services.

We have our own certified guys who help the customers as a sort-of extended arm of Zabbix. Zabbix is open-source and therefore doesn't cost anything. That said, the configuration is something with which you need support, and it requires technical expertise. That's where we pitch in. We pitch and then we say, you download it and after that, whatever is required in terms of configuration, whatever it requires in terms of preparing reports, we can help with due to the fact that we are certified.

How has it helped my organization?

Easy addition of devices to monitor with customized thresholds and integrating with multiple tools for single dashboard.

What is most valuable?

The monitoring capabilities of the product are excellent.

The solution is quite mature and very stable.

The solution is very easy to scale.

The product is open-source, meaning there aren't any licensing costs associated with it.

  • Action Log
  • Agentless Monitoring
  • Anomaly Detection
  • Auditing
  • Automated Actions
  • Availability Reports
  • Built-in Java Application Server Monitoring
  • Capacity Planning
  • Custom Scripts
  • Custom Templates
  • Data Retrieval
  • Dependencies
  • Distributed Monitoring
  • Drill-Down Reports
  • Encryption
  • Event Correlation
  • Hardware Monitoring
  • History Data Analysis
  • Issue Management
  • Log Monitoring
  • Messaging
  • Metric Collection
  • Mobile Apps
  • Multiple Authentication Methods
  • Multiple Severity Levels
  • Native WMI Support for Windows Agent
  • Network Discovery
  • Notifications
  • Optimized for High Performance
  • Proactive Monitoring
  • Real-Time Monitoring
  • Root Cause Analysis
  • Scaling to Large Environments
  • Template management
  • Trend Prediction
  • True Open source
  • User Permissions
  • Virtual Marchine Monitoring
  • WMI Support
  • Web Services
  • Widget-based Dashboards
  • Zero-Maintenance

What needs improvement?

Zabbix isn't very good at automation just yet. It's something we are working on. The extent of automation and the scripts that we have in ManageEngine are much more than what Zabbix gives out. For Zabbix, what we are doing is, we are creating scripts and trying to run them, however, that's not always the right way to frame it. It would be much better if there was a tool within the solution itself.

The reporting is quite limited on the product. As an organization, what we did is we started utilizing a couple of connectors for the reporting. For example, we started using Power BI, and we started using Grafana. That's how we are enhancing our experience to the customers now. Zabbix doesn't give you a tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

We are using Zabbix for the last three years now. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

On the stability front, we have never faced any issues. Zabbix has been in the market for many, many years, and has matured nicely. It's a very decent tool. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution works with companies of various sizes. We have companies that are medium-sized, however, we also use this for enterprises.

I would recommend that enterprise customers start using Zabbix. Zabbix, being a free tool, saves a lot on operations. You remove out your license cost, and you don't have a maintenance cost, and it's only the housekeeping that is required. It's easy to take a contract with certified implementation partners to get going. For enterprise customers, if you go with any other tool, you pay licenses on 50 hosts or 100 hosts or 150 hosts. With this tool, you don't have to work with growing costs, and it still grows with you.

It's very easy to scale as you don't have a licensing model. You only have a proxy model. It's only that the client or the customer has to have a supported VM to add more hosts onto it. There's nothing that the customer loses. There's also no investment as such. It's just a matter of for VM to be popped up and then you can start adding those devices to make it scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

When it comes to the code level on the development of issues, we contact Zabbix directly. Everything else, we have a few different people that can handle it internally. If we fail on that is when we contact Zabbix. Over the last three or four years, we have only contacted Zabbix once for a technical issue. Otherwise, our team is capable enough 

They also have a good amount of data on the forums. It's very unlikely that we would need to get in touch with the support service as the forum itself is great in that it has huge amounts of data. Any issues that you have, you just browse the forum, and you get a response if you ask questions. 

For us, that has been a good experience.

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

We also use ManageEngine for monitoring.

Comparing the two is tricky. When it comes to Zabbix flow, I would not be comfortable working with Zabbix as there's a bit of a lack on the reporting and automation front. That's the negative part of Zabbix at this point in time. When it comes to ManageEngine, they have been very proactive. They have a very good reporting dashboard and they have very good automation. The only concern that comes to us when we go to the customer is that I can sell Zabbix at very low costs as I don't have any investment in it. I can fulfill almost 75 to 80% of the customer's request with very little overhead. However, when it comes to ManageEngine, it's expensive as you will need the licenses.

Even though ManageEngine gives you better reporting and automation, there's a cost to it. That is where we are trying to make Zabbix more efficient. We have started working on the automation front. When it comes to reporting, we have reached a level where we can say that we are okay with the reports. We are using a couple of other reporting tools to extend the data. However, with automation, we're starting at zero. That's where we are working hard.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is a very simple process. It's only when it comes to configurations where it gets complicated. You need expertise so that you do the right configurations and set up the right parameters for the devices. Before that, it's very easy. You just follow the steps that have been given to you and you can just install it. 

For a basic installation, it takes just two days. You set up a VM and you have the basic configuration, and that part takes two days. Configurations, however, depend on each customer. Some customers need some devices to be monitored at track level, for example.

It doesn't require maintenance, per se, however, there is required housekeeping. That's how I would put it. For example, today you may have to put in a hundred devices for monitoring, but tomorrow you start decommissioning some devices. If you don't remove them out from Zabbix, then your dashboard itself is going to give you false alerts. That's why you need to have regular housekeeping whereby you know your map, and what is required. 

When it comes to upgrades, it is pretty easy. We have a change management process. We have never faced an issue on the maintenance spot as such with any of our customers. 

What about the implementation team?

We handle the process for our clients. We've got a couple of clients who already have Zabbix on-premise. Typically we come in to configure the devices as per the parameters for that specific device. So that is something which you need expertise on the tool now. The customers are not able to do that. If they want to outsource the entire local operations to us, then we take it up. If they say no, that they want to run their own lock, then we put in our team and we stabilize their entire Zabbix implementation beside it. 

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

The solution itself is open source and doesn't cost anything, however, many companies need technical expertise for configurations.

What other advice do I have?

We are a certified implementation partner for Zabbix.

In our operations, we are the only certified implementation partners for Zabbix and just two months ago, we got certified for the Middle-East operations as well. When it comes to this region, we are the only certified implementation partners for Zabbix in the entire Middle-East.

We are working with the latest version and it getting upgraded right now. We have two environments basically. We have a production as well as a development (or staging) environment. Presently, our upgrades are going onto the staging environment. We have a go ahead on the staging environment after that. We will start on the production as we have around 50 to 70 customers who are already on the Zabbix. Directly upgrading it on the production is a challenge for us. We don't want to get into a situation where the entire thing goes down. We plan to roll the updated version around February.

Presently we have it on a hybrid module. With a primary running on the cloud and a secondary running on our data center, which is on-premise. This way, if the primary site goes down, we have a secondary site to support the customers. 

I'd recommend organizations try the solution, however, if they have issues, they should not just throw it out. The tool is capable. You just need implementation partners. 

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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author avatarShibu Babuchandran
Top 5Real User

Integrate Zabbix Monitoring Solution into your IT environment in accordance with corporate requirements and specifications.