Zabbix Summit 2023 is just around the corner, and with that in mind we’ve decided to whet your appetite by providing a sneak peek at just a few of the distinguished speakers who have graciously agreed to present at this year’s Summit in the form of a short and direct interview. Read on to hear from Giedrius Stasiulionis, an IT Solution Expert at SEB Bank and a true master of log monitoring.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your work.

During my time at university, I had a chance to be a trainee in one of the largest telco companies in Lithuania, specifically in the network monitoring department. Since then, monitoring has become my passion. I just love the idea of tracking something, making everything that is possible to be measured measurable. After that, I became a software developer, but writing application code was never my main interest. On the other hand, I felt that writing various scripts was something exciting! Years passed and I managed to find the ideal spot for myself – now I’m working in the monitoring area, and I have a chance to write tons of scripts.

How long have you been using Zabbix? What kind of daily Zabbix tasks are you involved in at your company?

We chose to use Zabbix as the main monitoring tool in our organization around 2015-2016, when 3.0 was released. Since we live in a very dynamic world where technologies are constantly emerging and everything is rapidly changing, many new features and products are constantly developed for our clients. That’s why it is important to keep track of many different components in our environment – we have a constant need to add new monitoring elements and tune old ones. We have many cases when something needs to be monitored in a highly customized way. So that is my main responsibility, to make sure that everything we need to monitor will be monitored.

Can you name a few of the specific challenges that Zabbix has helped you solve?

As an all-in-one monitoring solution that allows you to do everything from data collection to visualization and alerting, Zabbix has a rich toolset that empowers transparency. Once we started using it in our organization, it solved the need to have many different monitoring tools, since the capabilities that Zabbix offers (once you know how to use them) cover the majority of our needs. It has also helped us reduce manual work from both configuration (with features like LLD, preprocessing, and rich agent native metrics) and usage perspectives, thanks to the sleek dashboards, automatic alerting, and ticket creation features. With Zabbix, we have fast and reliable problem detection in all our mission critical systems, including our internet bank, mobile application, payments, and ATM network.

Can you give us a sneak peek at what we can expect to hear during your Zabbix Summit speech?

During the summit, I’ll present a way to make two very useful and powerful concepts of Zabbix work together – log monitoring with low level discovery. This is achieved with my custom approach towards analyzing logs, implemented in the form of a relatively simple bash script. Imagine a task where you would need to create many different log items in order to monitor some statistics for them. That could be painful if you have tens or even hundreds of different patterns which otherwise have something in common, such as monitoring request durations for all requests, grouped by HTTP method and HTTP status code. I’ll show how you can let the discovery do that for you!

What kind of log monitoring are you doing in your production environment?

We heavily rely on logs in our monitoring setup, they are one of our core data sources. There are various logs that we analyze – application logs, a syslog-based central log place where multiple services forward their data, web server logs, and logs from the OpenShift platform. Some of our heaviest logs reach hundreds of thousands of new lines per minute.

Any advice for people planning to use Zabbix for log monitoring?

Zabbix is a great tool for log monitoring! My best advice for those who want to start monitoring logs with Zabbix would be to learn how regular expressions work. By understanding the world of regexps, you will see how most needs can already be covered with Zabbix agent, right out of the box.

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