We say Zabbix is a universal monitoring system, which is true. In many cases, the Zabbix potential is limited only by knowledge and the ability to use all the functions properly. That is why various training materials, including books, are so important. Nathan Liefting and Brian van Baekel recently presented their new Monitoring Cookbook on Zabbix 6.0 features and made a huge contribution to the existing knowledge pool. One of the book’s authors kindly agreed to tell us more about the issue.
Hi, Nathan! A year ago, we already had an interview with you to mark the Zabbix 5 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Cookbook launch. And now, just a month after the release of Zabbix 6.0 LTS, you published a new version of the book devoted to the latest Zabbix version. How did you manage to do it so quickly?
The last interview was a lot of fun to work on, so I am glad to do one again. Thanks for having me.
Let me jump right in by saying it took a lot of Alpha releases to write all of the new content. Normally we are already on top of new features, compiling them from sources even, to inform the community about the Zabbix development process and make sure our knowledge is up to par to ensure the highest quality for our training. But, with this book, we took it to the next level. Using the early releases, we worked hard to get the book ready by giving ourselves a hard deadline of getting the book to market just 1 month after the official Zabbix 6 release while the publisher needed 3 weeks to perform the copy editing and such. It was challenging, as we didn’t know exactly which features were to be included, and how they were built. We wrote parts of the book without knowing the feature in-depth, during the development phase, as a result, we had to rewrite whole chapters to reflect the actual integration. In the end, we made it and the entire Zabbix community can now use our book to get their Zabbix 6 environment up and running right from the start, with the added benefit for us that we can serve our customers perfectly due to all our in-depth knowledge we’ve gained in the process.
Comparing these two issues, how much do their contents overlap? Should users who already have the 5.0 book consider buying this edition (Zabbix 6 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Cookbook) as well?
It’s important to know that there is definitely an overlap in content. We specifically wanted to include that in the description for the book as well, as we don’t want anyone to think that all content has been remade.
That out of the way, there are a lot of new things as well. For example, all the new major Zabbix 6 features have been added like:
- High Availability for Zabbix server
- Business Service Monitoring (SLA’s)
- The new widgets (Geomaps, single item and top hosts)
- User roles
- New trigger syntax
Not only that, but we also made sure to include all the new best practices. Redoing all the tags using the new tag policy and making sure all UI changes are included as well. Every recipe has had a Zabbix 6.0 touch-up and thus everything is current.
Even though it is a second edition you will find a lot of new things, and nothing has been left behind from the older Zabbix version. It can thus be a good purchase, even if you already own the Zabbix 5 version since there was a lot changed, added and improved in the product itself as well.
What background knowledge about Zabbix should the reader of this book have? Are you targeting more beginners or experienced software users?
We target both actually! A lot of technical books take you through the process of settings things up start-to-finish and we are no different. What is different with our Cookbook you don’t have to execute every single chapter to end up with the right result. This is a Packt Cookbook and everything in the cookbook format (as defined by the publisher) has to be able to be configured separately. You can follow the book from Chapter 1 Installing Zabbix and Getting Started Using the Frontend up until the end or you can pick any subject and dive right in.
It’s set up in such a way that it works for everyone, the very beginners and the more advanced users, we want to be there for the community as a whole, and not just the super experienced engineers.
Can you please tell us briefly about the book’s content, in particular, what challenging monitoring aspects have you managed to explain, making them easy to understand and implement?
We tried to include most of the important Zabbix subjects. You will find the basics in the book on Installing Zabbix, using the frontend and setting up users, groups and roles. But besides that, most types of monitoring are also included. We’ll discuss monitoring using the Zabbix agent, SNMP, ODBC, HTTP, JMX, dependent items, calculated/aggregated checks and even external checks.
Of course, Low-Level Discovery is also explained to make sure that we can automate the entity (items, triggers, etc.) creation. Besides that, we think that when working with monitoring data it is important to keep things structured. Thus, we also spend time on using the best practices to set up templates, and use methods like tags to easily filter out data and keep things structured.
For the real Zabbix gurus, we’ll even dive into using the Zabbix API and Python scripts to extend upon the Zabbix functionality. There really is something for everyone. Check out the full list of included subjects here.
You probably got a lot of feedback and comments about the Zabbix 5 IT Infrastructure Monitoring Cookbook. Can you please share with us what people are saying?
Well, with a lot of pride I can say that the Zabbix 5 book was met with great reviews! We’re happy to be able to help out the Zabbix community because our goal with the book was to give people access to a bundle of Zabbix information. It can be a lot easier to get information in a book format, instead of having to search for separate resources on the internet.
The community has been great with their reviews and we’ve had compliments like
“I found this book a great resource for my network monitoring needs. It has everything I needed. The authors do a fantastic job at explaining Zabbix.
“Excellent book. Highly recommended for IT infrastructure monitoring. I was in the need of server and network devices monitoring so I tried Zabbix.”
We’re super happy with how well the books have been received and really appreciate all of the (Amazon) reviews people have left! If you have to book and would like to leave a review, it is much appreciated and we personally read all of them.
Where is the book available to purchase?
You can get your copy at our publisher’s website, Amazon, or a local retailer. Packt has a great network of suppliers throughout the world that might just have a copy for you. But you can always check out the links below to get your copy:
We’re actually still looking to work with a publisher in Japan, China and/or other locations where a local language might help out the Zabbix community. If you have any ideas for that, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.
Time flies and the Zabbix 7.0 LTS version is also not too far off. Should the community expect a new book when the new release comes out?
We had a lot of fun working on this Zabbix 6 edition, but at the same time it has taken up a considerable part of our personal time to get this book ready for everyone again. As a full-time Zabbix engineer and Zabbix trainer for Opensource ICT Solutions, there isn’t much time left in the weeks to write. That means that writing is mostly done on the weekends.
But if we find the time to do it again, we’ll definitely get a Zabbix 7 edition out as well! Already trying to make a plan to see if it is in the cards for us again.