Zabbix Summit 2020 is around the corner, and we are starting the blog series to introduce you with the great minds that will be speaking at the event. Please meet the first speaker – our experienced trainer and acknowledged technical guru, an online meetup star, and the host of Zabbix Summit already for the second time in a row – Arturs Lontons.

Let’s discover the driving force for his activities on community resources, ask what he finds the most challenging for the Online Summit version, and find out what he cannot wait to experience.

You are one of the most active Zabbix support engineers and trainers. Ready to get involved in community activities. What drives you forward?

First off – I really do believe in Zabbix as a project and a great tool! I also very much believe that our internal team is just half of the picture. The other half is the community – it’s the nature of Open Source, community-driven projects like Zabbix. Besides the fact that I genuinely enjoy being a part of said community, I also believe that honest and open community interaction is one of the keys to success.

You are not only Zabbix Summit speaker for the second year in a row, but you have also been the host of the event. How do you feel in the spotlights?

At first, it was pretty crazy. I wasn’t sure how the audience would react to me, and it can be complicated to correctly figure the crowd out. Thankfully our community is always very open, friendly, and enthusiastic about the speeches, surprises, and announcements that we prepare. At this point, whenever I’m on stage, I do feel very welcomed both by our internal team, the partners, customers, and other community members.

Last year the Summit was an offline event – real stage, around 600 hundred guests in the same room. How about this year – what do you see as the most significant benefits and challenges for yourself?

“Reading the room” can be a challenge online. You don’t really see people laugh or frown at your comments, jokes, or presentation in general. Looking at the chat during a live stream is not always an option, which can be problematic. The most considerable benefit is that I can do it while wearing my shorts and flip-flops.

Is it easy to be the host and invite each speaker and, at the same time, also focusing on your own technical speech?

Presenting a speaker feels like introducing a friend, so it flows naturally. Submitting your own technical talk is where I tend to get the stage fright, especially considering how skilled our community members can be – it really can be a bit intimidating. On the other hand – usually, we do our speeches about new features or not so well-known problem-solving approaches, and it’s really great seeing how your technical explanation “clicks” with people and they’re ready and willing to test it out ASAP.

How does your workweek look like? Please describe.

Very much depends on the workweek – the routine is not an issue here. Sometimes the whole week is spent on performing training courses. Other times it’s doing support tasks or building templates. On rarer occasions, it’s hosting and preparing for events like Zabbix meetups or Zabbix Summit.

What do you like the most being a Zabbix engineer and a trainer?

Have I mentioned our community? The enthusiasm of the community really motivates me to teach people new things and show new, lesser-known approaches to problem-solving. Doing support or consultancy can also be a source of invaluable amount of skill and knowledge.

When and how was the first time you got to know Zabbix?

Back in my university days, the department where I was working at was using Zabbix. It’s crazy how underused it was functionality-wise. Sometimes I wish I could go back there and redesign the whole thing.

Tell us, what are you mainly interested in IT? Is there any specification you are good at (can you describe yourself as a docker guy or security dude)?

Honestly, a little bit of everything. I’m really enthusiastic about technology that makes our everyday lives better – easy payments, healthcare services, transportation, etc. Learning about how these modern solutions work under the hood is a really fun exercise in design and user experience.

During this Summit, you will be talking about new user roles functionality in Zabbix. Can you give us a quick sneak peek into this topic?

Currently, we have only three types of pre-defined user roles – Zabbix User, Zabbix Admin, Zabbix Super Admin. Depending on the assigned role, the user can either administer, configure, or monitor Zabbix data. Well, we plan on making roles and permissions more granular. For example, restrict who can create maintenance periods, acknowledge problems, restrict dashboard access for some users, etc.

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