The Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) is a university center known for top clinical and customer-friendly patient care, high-quality academic training, and groundbreaking scientific research with an important international dimension. The UZA has 593 hospital beds in 26 nursing units, as well as 41 highly specialized medical services where more than 800,000 patients are consulted every year and over 4,000 employees, including 642 doctors. Keep reading to see how Zabbix premium partner Open-Future rises to the challenge of monitoring this massive IT infrastructure.

The challenge

Due to the large amount of users connecting on a daily basis, the UZA’s Zabbix server was set up as a virtual machine with a front-end separate from the Zabbix server and database. Splitting the front-end from the Zabbix server allows them to use dedicated resources for the front-end and the Zabbix server.

Most of the monitoring is done by Zabbix agents on Linux and Windows. In order for the applications to see if everything is working as it should be, the Open-Future team leverages UserParameters and database monitoring with Zabbix Agent 2. For some more specific monitoring cases, we also make use of custom SQL scripts.

Because one server can have multiple teams responsible for just the application or the OS, getting the correct information to the right team proved to be a challenge. A simple solution was the creation of different trigger actions for every team that included only the triggers that were needed. Unfortunately this proved to be very difficult to manage over time and error-prone when changes were needed.

The solution

By making extensive use of tags in Zabbix, our team could add labels to the items and link them back to the correct user groups. This made it easier to send the right information to the correct teams and allowed them to both drastically reduce the number of actions that had to be created and simplify the actions that were created.

The results

Zabbix has proven itself as a powerful and versatile monitoring and management platform that allows our team to gain real-time insight into the performance of the UZA’s IT infrastructure and applications. Zabbix’s ability to collect and visualize various types of data (including network traffic, server load, application performance, and more) makes it easy to identify and resolve issues before they impact operations or patient care.

At present, Open-Future monitors about 1,400 hosts, a mix of Windows, Linux and BareMetal monitored by proxies. This allows us to monitor more then 10.000 metrics with more then 55,000 triggers to notify us in case of any potential issues. We make use of custom templates, plugins, and scripts to gather all needed information.

The impact of Zabbix on our operational efficiency cannot be overstated. Automated alerts and reporting functionality let us respond quickly to incidents and issues, which reduces downtime and maximizes the availability of critical systems. This has direct benefits for the UZA’s patients, as we can make sure that vital systems like electronic medical records are always available and that the quality of care is maintained at the highest level.

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