At Zabbix Conference 2016, Rafael will present a case study on monitoring the complex infrastructure including thousands of servers and devices in the largest university of Norway.
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Pre-conference Interview with Rafael Martinez Guerrero
Tell us about you and your company, how did you get started, and what choices led you to where you are now?
The University of Oslo is the largest educational institution in Norway, with almost 30.000 students and over 6.000 employees. You can imagine the amount of different systems a university needs to function; systems and labs needed by our researchers, administrative systems of all types, support systems for our students, and a large network infrastructure across different locations are only some of the things we have to maintain and administrate everyday.
I have been working at the university for several years, working in different departments and different areas within IT. The last two years I have been at the Department for IT Infrastructure working with system monitoring, data analytics and trending. It is a great place to work that gives you the opportunity to work with large systems and all the challenges that entail.
What are your biggest challenges, and could you give us some interesting statistics regarding your work?
We have a very heterogeneous infrastructure and many different services available for our users. In addition, we have several hundreds employees working with system administration, development and helpdesk tasks.
It is a challenge to coordinate all the groups involved in the different parts of our infrastructure but we have done a huge job in the last years to automate and standardize many tasks, from installation, provisioning and configuration to monitorization and
integration between systems. We are working hard with automation, monitoring, data analytics and trending in our department now.
We administrate over 3.500 servers, 16.000 pcs, 13.000 TB of data storage, more than 1.600 databases, 130 web servers and over 2.000 virtual hosts, 1.000 printers, over 2.500 routers, switches and WiFi access points and more than 26TB of data goes in and out of
our network on a daily basis.
How did you choose Zabbix to be your monitoring solution, and what about Zabbix impresses you the most?
When we started looking for a new monitoring solution in 2014, we wanted a system that could take over several other monitoring systems we had in production and at the same time be able to receive data from other specialized monitoring/management systems that we had to continue using.
We had a long list of requirements and functionality we wanted to have. Zabbix could deliver many of them, but the two things that made a difference were:
- An API to interact with the system so we could automatize many maintenance and configuration jobs and send monitoring data and alarms to other systems.
- An advanced privileges/access control system we could use to control who can see and do things. With over 300 employees within IT this was vital for us.
Our dream is to have *one* central monitoring system that will be able to show what is going on in our infrastructure. Some kind of central monitoring console.
What is your history with Zabbix Conference, and could you tell us your motivation for becoming one of the speakers for this year’s event?
I have never been to a Zabbix conference before. We started looking for a new monitoring system in 2014 and started using Zabbix in 2015.
We have done many things with Zabbix since we started and we would like to show some of the things to the rest of the community, give something back. It would be great if this information can help others to take a decision or get ideas that will help them to monitor their systems.
What would be the key message of your presentation, and what do you want attendees to learn from your talk?
Zabbix is a great software that can be used to fully automate the monitoring of a big part of your infrastructure. Its privileges / access control system is also great to control access and delegate tasks in a place with many users.
Expect information about this, and about the challenges we have had when implementing Zabbix as the main monitoring tool at the university.
In your opinion, what are the main advantages and reasons for joining the upcoming Zabbix Conference 2016?
I am looking forward to hearing what others are doing with Zabbix, learn how they do it, the problems they are having and how they have fixed them.
What topics you look forward to discussing with Zabbix community, conference participants and Zabbix team?
I am very interested in automatization and specially automatization when defining dependencies and relations between components of advanced IT systems.
We need a way to identify these relations before they can be defined automatically in Zabbix. I would like to hear what others are doing in this area.
At the conference, Rafael will also be sharing his Zabbix experience in a Lightning Talk, describing “Zabbix-cli” - a tool to manage some Zabbix administration tasks via Zabbix API.
Only 2 days are left to register! Become a part of Zabbix Conference 2016, discover new possibilities of Zabbix, find answers, get to know Zabbix experts and community, people who share your passion, and quite possibly might become your next business partners!