Being an open-source minded in a closed source world. Interview with Zabbix Conference Benelux 2020 speaker Patrik Uytterhoeven.

Patrik Uytterhoeven is an opensource minded consultant working for Open-Future – one of the oldest Zabbix partners. Patrik is a certified Zabbix trainer and also the author of the Zabbix Cookbook and co-author of the Zabbix 4 network monitoring book. At Zabbix Conference Benelux 2020 he will speak about upgrading Zabbix and migrating from PostgreSQL table partitioning to PostgreSQL with TimescaleDB.

Please tell us about you and your professional journey.

I started my career in retail after I left school. I was responsible for the repair of hardware like POS systems, servers, …. and the installation of the retail hardware in the stores. After a few years, I moved to the Linux/Unix team due to my interest and knowledge of Linux. Here I was mainly working with HP Unix, RedHat, and OpsView (some solution based on Nagios). Because of my strong interest in open-source, I changed my career +- 8 years ago and joined Open-Future. As Open-Future is one of the oldest Zabbix partners it was, of course, one of the first questions they asked me if I want to learn Zabbix and get certified. I think the rest of the story explains itself …. I went to Zabbix SIA to become certified as Zabbix Professional, and then – a trainer. Looking back to it I probably was one of the first Zabbix trainers together with Dimitri (Dimitri Bellini from Quadrata – Zabbix Premium partner in Italy – auth.) and Alain (Alain Ganuchaud from Axel IT – Zabbix Premium partner in France – auth.). Afterward, I wrote some Zabbix books. Today as a consultant most of the time I help our clients with the setup and tuning of their Zabbix setups.

What was the defining moment when you choose Zabbix to work with?

The moment I started to work for Open-Future as they already where a Zabbix partner at that time and they convinced me to forget all other solutions I had worked with before.

Tell us please about your books on Zabbix. Was it difficult to create a unique and helpful content when there is a lot of shared knowledge available online (in blogs, forums, etc.)?

The idea for a book was already growing for a while. I loved the book of Rihards (Rihards Olups is author and co-author of books about Zabbix auth.) at that time but it was a bit outdated as Zabbix was developing new features really fast. Documentation at that time was not where it is today and on the internet, there was not so much extra info available like today. I was at that time reviewing books for Packt publishing and they contacted me at the perfect time with the idea to write a book as I was looking myself to share my knowledge in some sort of format but didn’t know how to start. They helped me with the format of the book and all the tools to start with. I guess the hardest part is the free time you need to spend on writing but most of all testing all the setups. It took me more than half a year to write every weekend and even some evenings during the week.

Please introduce us to the speech you have prepared for Zabbix Conference Benelux 2020. What would be the key message of it?

The biggest reason for me to do my migration to TimescaleDB was that this is the first time Zabbix is supporting official database partitioning. Not that this is causing lots of problems but in the enterprise world companies like someone they can rely on if the thing goes wrong. So the assurance that Zabbix is supporting this method and the fact that we love PostgreSQL as DB was a no-brainer.

What are your plans relating to Zabbix? Any challenging projects, books to come?

I was contacted recently for an update on the Zabbix Cookbook but had to refuse as it is time-consuming and releasing a book just before Zabbix 5.0 release might be a bad decision. We will see when 5.0 is out and if Packt publishing is still is interested or not. I have some huge projects in the pipeline as Zabbix is getting better and more trusted by big companies (something that is not so easy for open-source in a closed source world) but obvious NDA’s do not allow me to talk about it.

Zabbix Conference Benelux 2020 will take place on March 6-7 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Jekaterina Petruhina

Author: Jekaterina Petruhina

Marketing Specialist at Zabbix

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