”Sergeant” ZABBIX for your Network

By : |November 30, 2006 0

Swapnil Arora

ZABBIX is an OpenSource monitoring software for networks, servers and applications. It uses polling and trapping techniques to get data from the hosts it is monitoring. It can monitor your servers for processor load, the number of running processes, disk activity, status of swap space, memory availability and numerous other system parameters. It can also do server integrity monitoring of all critical configuration files, binaries, kernel, scripts, and Web server HTML pages. ZABBIX requires an agent to be installed on the hosts that are being monitored. And, there is a Web front-end through which you can administer and configure it as well as view reports and graphs. By default, ZABBIX provides alerts and notifications through e-mails but there are some external programs as well that can be used for sending user-defined notifications through SMS and phone. ZABBIX can monitor all Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac servers but its server part can’t be installed on a Windows machine. The vendor also offers commercial support for the software in the form of maintenance, updates and problem resolution support.

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Applies To: IT managers
Monitoring of network hardware and services such as HTTP, SSH and FTP
Primary Link:
Google Keywords: Network Monitoring 



Installation and configuration
ZABBIX can run on any Linux, Solaris, Mac OS/X, Free BSD 4.3, SCO Open Server 5.0.5, among other OS. The installation has three parts: server installation, Web interface installation and the installation of agents on clients. To run it, you require Apache, MySQL, PHP, and NET-SNMP libraries installed. PostgreSQL is supported for the database backend, but for this article we have tested using MySQL. You can download ZABBIX from the URL provided in the box. 

Before installing ZABBIX, create a superuser class account named ‘zabbix’ for the server application. Now you need to create a database named ‘zabbix’ in MySQL. The software comes with SQL scripts which create the required database schema and also insert a default configuration into the database. To run these scripts, first untar the downloaded ZABBIX package. Go to its directory and run the following commands to create database schema using ZABBIX default scripts.

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See real-time graphs of all monitored activities such as CPU utilization and network traffic

shell> cd create/mysql
shell> cat schema.sql |mysql -u<user
name> -p<password> zabbix
shell> cd ../data
shell> cat data.sql |mysql -u<username> –
p<password> zabbix

Next, we need to compile this source code. Before you do that, create the configuration script, with a couple of switches. ‘-enable-server’ enables the server module and ‘-with-net-snmp’ prepares it to use the Net SNMP library. If you require to enable the agent on the server box as well, add the ‘-with-mysql’ switch. The back-end is specified using the ‘-with-mysql’ option. We ran the command with all four switches, but you could leave out the ‘-enable-agent’ option:

shell> ./configure –enable-server –enable-agent –with-mysql –with-net-snmp
shell> make install
shell> cd bin
shell> ./zabbix_server

Now to see if the server is up and listening, you can do a simple test by opening a telnet window on port 10051 of the server.
Database configuration
Before you can fire the Web interface, you need to change values in frontends/php/include/db.inc.php:

$DB_TYPE =”MYSQL”; /* Or “POSTGRESQL” for Post
greSQL */
$DB_SERVER =”localhost”;
$DB_DATABASE =”zabbix”;
$DB_USER =””;
$DB_PWD =””

Here provide the details as per your database, its user id and password. Next copy the PHP source files to your Web server.

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You can create triggers to send instant notification as soon as a monitored application or device crosses its threshold level

Agent installation
Just like what we did for server installation, create an account for the ZABBIX agent on the client machine. Untar ZABBIX agent and to configure the agent run the shell with the following commands:

shell> ./configure –enable-agent
shell> make

Next add the following lines to /etc/services:

zabbix_agent 10050/tcp
zabbix_trap 10051/tcp

Configure the ZABBIX agent by editing /etc/zabbix/zabbix_ agent.conf and inserting the server’s IP address in it. Now you can start the agent with the command:

shell> ./zabbix_agentd

Once you have configured it, open the Web browser in the server box and point it to localhost. If the configuration is correct, you will see the ZABBIX login screen. Login using ‘Admin’ as username (without password) to connect as ZABBIX superuser. You can also login using the ‘guest’ ID, but this would give you read only permission. Once logged in you can create new users according to your needs. To do this, click on Configuration and then on Users tab. You can also define the rights of the user you created from the same screen.

Now to get ZABBIX to monitor hosts, we need to add the same hosts, on which you installed the agent. Navigate to the Hosts tab under the Configuration menu and click on the Create Host button. Provide the host name, group, IP address of the host, port used by it and choose its status.
Next choose a template, which is a set of items, ZABBIX agent will monitor. ZABBIX will try to connect to this host. You will see this host under ‘Monitored Hosts’ category. Similarly, you add other hosts to be monitored. To see what items are being monitored, go to Configuration> Items.

To create your own monitoring items, click on the Create Item button on the top right and follow the wizard. To set up e-mail notifications and alerts, go to Menu>Configuration>Actions. This window lists all actions created for the ZABBIX agent. To create a new action, click on the Create Action tab and provide the information about the action there. To see live reports about the functions performed, click on ‘Graphs’ under Configuration. Here, you will see real-time graphs of all monitored hosts. Similarly, if you want to create or view reports, click on ‘Reports’ in the menu.

Source: PCQuest


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