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Zabbix 6 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Cookbook: Interview with the Co-Author

Post Syndicated from Jekaterina Sizova original https://blog.zabbix.com/zabbix-6-it-infrastructure-monitoring-cookbook-interview-with-the-co-author/20122/

We say Zabbix is a universal monitoring system, which is true. In many cases, the Zabbix potential is limited only by knowledge and the ability to use all the functions properly. That is why various training materials, including books, are so important. Nathan Liefting and Brian van Baekel recently presented their new Monitoring Cookbook on Zabbix 6.0 features and made a huge contribution to the existing knowledge pool. One of the book’s authors kindly agreed to tell us more about the issue.

Hi, Nathan! A year ago, we already had an interview with you to mark the Zabbix 5 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Cookbook launch. And now, just a month after the release of Zabbix 6.0 LTS, you published a new version of the book devoted to the latest Zabbix version. How did you manage to do it so quickly?

The last interview was a lot of fun to work on, so I am glad to do one again. Thanks for having me.

Let me jump right in by saying it took a lot of Alpha releases to write all of the new content. Normally we are already on top of new features, compiling them from sources even, to inform the community about the Zabbix development process and make sure our knowledge is up to par to ensure the highest quality for our training. But, with this book, we took it to the next level. Using the early releases, we worked hard to get the book ready by giving ourselves a hard deadline of getting the book to market just 1 month after the official Zabbix 6 release while the publisher needed 3 weeks to perform the copy editing and such. It was challenging, as we didn’t know exactly which features were to be included, and how they were built. We wrote parts of the book without knowing the feature in-depth, during the development phase, as a result, we had to rewrite whole chapters to reflect the actual integration. In the end, we made it and the entire Zabbix community can now use our book to get their Zabbix 6 environment up and running right from the start, with the added benefit for us that we can serve our customers perfectly due to all our in-depth knowledge we’ve gained in the process.

Comparing these two issues, how much do their contents overlap? Should users who already have the 5.0 book consider buying this edition (Zabbix 6 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Cookbook) as well?

It’s important to know that there is definitely an overlap in content. We specifically wanted to include that in the description for the book as well, as we don’t want anyone to think that all content has been remade.

That out of the way, there are a lot of new things as well. For example, all the new major Zabbix 6 features have been added like:

  • High Availability for Zabbix server
  • Business Service Monitoring (SLA’s)
  • The new widgets (Geomaps, single item and top hosts)
  • User roles
  • New trigger syntax

Not only that, but we also made sure to include all the new best practices. Redoing all the tags using the new tag policy and making sure all UI changes are included as well. Every recipe has had a Zabbix 6.0 touch-up and thus everything is current.

Even though it is a second edition you will find a lot of new things, and nothing has been left behind from the older Zabbix version. It can thus be a good purchase, even if you already own the Zabbix 5 version since there was a lot changed, added and improved in the product itself as well.

What background knowledge about Zabbix should the reader of this book have? Are you targeting more beginners or experienced software users?

We target both actually! A lot of technical books take you through the process of settings things up start-to-finish and we are no different. What is different with our Cookbook you don’t have to execute every single chapter to end up with the right result. This is a Packt Cookbook and everything in the cookbook format (as defined by the publisher) has to be able to be configured separately. You can follow the book from Chapter 1 Installing Zabbix and Getting Started Using the Frontend up until the end or you can pick any subject and dive right in.

It’s set up in such a way that it works for everyone, the very beginners and the more advanced users, we want to be there for the community as a whole, and not just the super experienced engineers.

Can you please tell us briefly about the book’s content, in particular, what challenging monitoring aspects have you managed to explain, making them easy to understand and implement?

We tried to include most of the important Zabbix subjects. You will find the basics in the book on Installing Zabbix, using the frontend and setting up users, groups and roles. But besides that, most types of monitoring are also included. We’ll discuss monitoring using the Zabbix agent, SNMP, ODBC, HTTP, JMX, dependent items, calculated/aggregated checks and even external checks.

Of course, Low-Level Discovery is also explained to make sure that we can automate the entity (items, triggers, etc.) creation. Besides that, we think that when working with monitoring data it is important to keep things structured. Thus, we also spend time on using the best practices to set up templates, and use methods like tags to easily filter out data and keep things structured.

For the real Zabbix gurus, we’ll even dive into using the Zabbix API and Python scripts to extend upon the Zabbix functionality. There really is something for everyone. Check out the full list of included subjects here.

Fun fact: Brian van Baekel has a cat named Zabbix

You probably got a lot of feedback and comments about the Zabbix 5 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Cookbook. Can you please share with us what people are saying?

Well, with a lot of pride I can say that the Zabbix 5 book was met with great reviews! We’re happy to be able to help out the Zabbix community because our goal with the book was to give people access to a bundle of Zabbix information. It can be a lot easier to get information in a book format, instead of having to search for separate resources on the internet.

The community has been great with their reviews and we’ve had compliments like

“I found this book a great resource for my network monitoring needs. It has everything I needed. The authors do a fantastic job at explaining Zabbix.

“Excellent book. Highly recommended for IT infrastructure monitoring. I was in the need of server and network devices monitoring so I tried Zabbix.”

We’re super happy with how well the books have been received and really appreciate all of the (Amazon) reviews people have left! If you have to book and would like to leave a review, it is much appreciated and we personally read all of them.

Where is the book available to purchase?

You can get your copy at our publisher’s website, Amazon, or a local retailer. Packt has a great network of suppliers throughout the world that might just have a copy for you. But you can always check out the links below to get your copy:



We’re actually still looking to work with a publisher in Japan, China and/or other locations where a local language might help out the Zabbix community. If you have any ideas for that, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.

Time flies and the Zabbix 7.0 LTS version is also not too far off. Should the community expect a new book when the new release comes out?

We had a lot of fun working on this Zabbix 6 edition, but at the same time it has taken up a considerable part of our personal time to get this book ready for everyone again. As a full-time Zabbix engineer and Zabbix trainer for Opensource ICT Solutions, there isn’t much time left in the weeks to write. That means that writing is mostly done on the weekends.

But if we find the time to do it again, we’ll definitely get a Zabbix 7 edition out as well! Already trying to make a plan to see if it is in the cards for us again.

The post Zabbix 6 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Cookbook: Interview with the Co-Author appeared first on Zabbix Blog.

Zabbix 5 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Cookbook: Interview with the Co-Author

Post Syndicated from Jekaterina Petruhina original https://blog.zabbix.com/zabbix-5-it-infrastructure-monitoring-cookbook-interview-with-the-co-author/13439/

Active Zabbix community members Nathan Liefting and Brian van Baekel wrote a new book on Zabbix, sharing their years of monitoring experience. Nathan Liefting kindly agreed to share with us how the idea for Monitoring Cookbook was born and revealed the main topics covered.

Hi Nathan, congratulations on writing the book. Welcome to the Zabbix contributor community! First, introduce yourself. What is your experience in Zabbix?

Thank you, I’m very proud to have the opportunity to work with Brian van Baekel on this book and very grateful for the work our publisher Packt has put into it as well. My name is Nathan Liefting. I work for the company Opensource ICT Solutions, where I’m a full-time IT consultant and certified Zabbix Trainer.
My first introduction to Zabbix was back in 2016. We were in the process of upgrading a Zabbix 2 instance to the newly released Zabbix 3.0. As a Network Consultant, I was immediately very intrigued by the monitoring system and its capabilities in terms of customization compared to other monitoring solutions.
Since then, I’ve always worked with Zabbix, and when I was working for Managed Service Provider True in Amsterdam, I set up a new Zabbix setup to migrate from the old monitoring solution.

How did you have the idea for the book?

That’s a good question. You might know Patrik Uytterhoeven from Openfuture BV. He wrote the Zabbix 3 cookbook for Packt. Patrik was kind enough to recommend Brian and me to write the new Zabbix 5 cookbook, and from there on out, we started work on it.

Who is your reader? Who would benefit from the book primarily?

The book is about 350 pages, and of course, we can’t explain everything Zabbix has to offer in that page count. So we focus the cookbook on Zabbix beginners that would like to get on that intermediate level. We detail basic topics like data collection with different methods and more advanced topics like the Zabbix API and database partitioning.

I am convinced that the book contains a recipe for everyone that works with Zabbix, and it’s basically a foundation of knowledge that anyone could fall back on. See it as your starter field guide into professionally working with Zabbix.

Do readers need any prior skills in monitoring with Zabbix to master the new knowledge as efficiently as possible?

Definitely not. We detail everything from installation to how to monitor and more advanced topics. Start at chapter 1 with no knowledge about Zabbix whatsoever, and you can read the book. If you think a recipe is about something you already know, simply skip it and read the next one. We wrote the recipes to be as independent of each other as possible, so beginners and more advanced users can get used to the book.

Could you tell us about the content of the book? What information does it provide?

I would like to say everything is covered, but that would be a dream scenario. The book grasps the surface of almost everything you need to know to work professionally with Zabbix. If you know Zabbix, you know it’s possible to write 100 pages about triggers alone. Of course, this would be counterproductive for starters. We kept the recipes graspable for beginners, with valuable information for more advanced users.
Some topics we go over are:

  • Zabbix setup and how to use it
  • Setting up the different Zabbix monitoring item types
  • Working with triggers and alerts
  • Building structured templates according to best practice
  • Visualizing data with graphs, dashboards, etc.
  • Zabbix host discovery and low-level discovery
  • Zabbix proxies
  • Zabbix integrations with media like Microsoft Teams and Slack
  • Zabbix API and custom integrations
  • Upgrading components, database partitioning, and performance management
  • Zabbix in the cloud

There are now many online resources about Zabbix – forums, blogs, YouTube channels. Why did you decide to opt for the print format?

I’m a big fan of sharing resources online, don’t get me wrong. But to me, there is nothing better than an old-fashioned book to have at the ready when I need it. I can read it, and at one point, I’m thinking, “Wait! I read something that could solve our problem”.
Printed media is not dead if you ask me. In my eyes, a book is still the best way to prepare yourself for any subject in IT. But even if you don’t like printed media, we over an amazing collection of information in the old paper format as well as an eBook.

What was your Zabbix learning path? Which resources did you found the best to gather Zabbix knowledge?

Definitely Zabbix official courses. I loved those so much I couldn’t wait to get my trainer certification myself. Now that I have it, I’m providing the official training myself and sharing the Zabbix knowledge I’ve acquired over the years with others like in the book.
Of course, the amazing Zabbix community offers great ways to share knowledge, for example, the Zabbix blog. I used those as well and even templates found on the Zabbix share to reverse engineers them and see how people worked.

Where will the book be available to purchase?

You can find the book on Amazon here.

When you purchase the book, please leave a review, as this really helps us spread the word about the book. I will personally read every review, so I’d love to hear any feedback on the book to improve later revisions and new releases.
If you’re reading this after purchasing, thank you very much for the support. I hope you enjoy the work.

Do you have any further plans for new books?

I’ve just finished writing this book, and it is a significant impact on personal time. I will definitely consider writing another book, but for now, I’ll focus on sharing content for Opensource ICT Solutions and on my personal website. Besides IT engineering, I also like to create other content, like my photography work, which I share on this website.