Christian Anton is an active Zabbix Community member and a highly experienced Zabbix professional. He conducts training courses and webinars, spreads the word about Zabbix during the events, and delivers Zabbix professional services by being a certified partner. This year Christian will complete the list of his accomplishments and become a speaker at the main Zabbix event of the year. We decided to learn about his experience and asked how he feels preparing to speak to the Zabbix Summit audience for the first time.

Let’s start at the very beginning. How did you begin your IT journey? And how/when did you meet Zabbix on your way?

I have been working as a representative and pre-sales consultant for a monitoring solution vendor based on an Open Source project for several years before I joined Secadm. When I first got to know Zabbix as a competing solution to one I was using, I was highly impressed with all the possibilities this solution offers out of the box. I quickly converted to be a Zabbix fan and started the partnership between Secadm and Zabbix in 2016. Now helping customers to use Zabbix optimally is one of the main parts of my daily job.

Your company Secadm GmbH is a Zabbix Certified Partner since 2016. A few years in a row, your company, together with the Zabbix team, participated at the CEBIT expo. In modern realities, it is already difficult to imagine such large-scale offline events. Do you think that the world of the online format is our future, or do you still hope that the good old days will soon return, and we will be able to travel to conferences and exhibitions, having the opportunity to meet with clients and partners in person?

I have personally been working from home since long before the pandemic, at least “part-time” besides my customer visits and other travels, and also the rest of my company used to work this way. Nevertheless, I have always enjoyed travelling for business, meeting people, building new relationships, and seeing new places. It has been and will always be an essential part of my job, and I hope to see coworkers and customers personally soon again.

It is noteworthy that companies that have been forced to work remotely during the pandemic perform much better than they expected. I hope that after these difficult times, we all will travel less, commute less, and perform better than before the pandemic while being more friendly to the environment.

Zabbix Summit will also take part online this year. It so happens that you will perform at the Zabbix Summit for the first time, and in a new format. With what emotions are you waiting for the event – is it a worry or the opposite enthusiasm?

Speaking about the talks, I don’t feel so much of a difference myself. I have delivered and attended several training sessions, presentations, and other events online during the last months. I will definitely miss a lot of meeting all those great people from the Zabbix community and Zabbix company personally between the talks, during the breaks, and, of course, at and after the parties.

Since we are talking about the Summit, please tell us what your speech will be about and who will be particularly interested in it? How large installations will you be talking about?

Our customers have Zabbix installations of several hundred up to several ten thousands of hosts to be monitored. While Zabbix is a great monitoring solution even for very large environments, it can get tedious to maintain control over Zabbix’s operation. How many servers of one specific type do you have? What are your significant problems happening all the time, and how many alarms would not be sent out if you would improve your configuration not to get those problems? Where do all these “unsupported items” and “queue entries” come from, and which of them are important to pay attention to? Many of our customers ask these questions, and I want to show an approach to getting better insights using Zabbix data fed into a big data analytics platform.

From your point of view, has Zabbix changed much since when you just started to use the software? Which features have been added in recent releases do you consider to be the most significant?

Zabbix has improved tremendously over the last years. The speed of the development impresses. I am most impressed with the new possibilities that came up with the latest data preprocessing options combined with low-level discoveries, eliminating the need for external scripts to hold application-specific monitoring business logic instead of allowing the users to implement all kind of data onboarding directly and natively in Zabbix. Also, the Agent2 is a very promising new approach to monitor limitless metrics of whatever source.

What do you expect from the release of 5.2? What improvements do you recommend to pay attention to first?

As many of my customers are enterprise-grade, I am looking forward to the new permission roles. Also, I have one customer interested in the Hashicorp Vault integration, so do I. Besides that, I will let myself surprise by the lot of little things that Zabbix has put into the new version.

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