Can you follow the news with Zabbix? Of course, you can! By day, I am a lead site reliability engineer at a global cyber security company. By night, I monitor my home with Zabbix & Grafana and do some weird experiments with them. Welcome to my blog about the project.
A long time ago, before the dawn of social media, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) readers were all the rave. Instead of visiting each site you followed individually, you could add their RSS feeds to your RSS reader, which then would show you the latest news titles from as many sources as you wanted. Not only the titles, but depending on the news site you could also read a teaser or even the full news through your RSS reader without ever visiting the site itself.
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Is RSS still a thing?
This was all good for the end-users, but the beancounters at the news companies got worried, as of course without visits to news sites, the advertisement income would come down, too. RSS readers can still be useful, but…. oh, I’ll need to stop, this is not the scope of this blog post.
Instead, the underlying technology of RSS is what makes it interesting. It’s just XML, so easy to consume by whatever software. Even though RSS is not a media darling anymore, it’s useful for gathering info from various sources to be then utilized somewhere else — like in Zabbix.
Let’s follow this site
So, how to follow the latest posts on this site through Zabbix? Easy, as this is just about parsing some XML.
Let’s begin with adding a new HTTP agent item.
With that in place, let’s add some dependent items, with the end result being this:
Each of those is just dependent items with some item pre-processing — the example below parses the first occurrence of title to the text.
How to use this?
In this case, I created a separate dashboard to show the latest blog post title, a link to it and the publication date. Wouldn’t be too hard to create a custom Zabbix module to make this fancier, but let’s leave it for another day. For now, by just using Item value widget types, we get this.
In the real world, there are plenty of actual use cases. Use it to alert you about the latest vulnerabilities, updates or other news about the stuff you have in your environment. Create a news dashboard for your security operations team or developers. If your own products do utilize RSS for something, this also can be very handy for end-to-end testing, as both Zabbix and your eyes can spot visually if something is not right. I’m sure you can come up with more and better ideas.
I have been working at Forcepoint since 2014 and never get tired of the news. — Janne Pikkarainen
This post was originally published on the author’s page.