While Zabbix software is completely free, we do offer professional services on top of that. And it’s the approach and mentality behind them that really drive the company forward.
The blog post is based on the speech delivered by Alexander Sergunin, Head of Sales at Zabbix, during Zabbix Summit 2020.
Customer life cycle
It doesn’t matter how big the task is, or how small, as long as it’s Zabbix-related, we’ve got you covered. Whether you just need a brief consultation or are looking for a continuous engagement for weeks or months, Zabbix is here to negotiate and provide on-demand services.
Of course, since Zabbix is the company behind the product itself, with constant access to a dedicated team of developers, we can offer truly unrivaled expertise to our customers.
The Zabbix approach
This mentality translates into the following options:
- Your experience with Zabbix can start with something as simple as deployment. We’re not just talking about the initial installation itself, which is very straightforward with the help of our online documentation. In addition to that, we apply our best practices and provide scope assessment and recommendations not only for your current setup but for any future expansion plans as well.
- Then there’s also professional training. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are in Zabbix, you can benefit from a wide range of courses aimed at everyone from beginners to experts.
- The main service we provide is, of course, annual technical support offered worldwide 24/7.
- In addition to that we also offer other services, such as integration, meaning we can make sure that your internal ticketing system works seamlessly with Zabbix.
- And for those of you still using older versions of the tool, such as Zabbix 2.2 (and you know who you are!), there’s the upgrade service.
- Zabbix services are available globally thanks in part to our wide network of partners that can deliver some of the services in region-specific languages, including Japanese, Russian, English, Spanish, German, Dutch, and so on.
- We are not satisfied with simply sending you a link to the documentation hoping to fix the issue. The customers can rely on us and our partners to search for the root cause of any problem in order to prevent it from happening again, as well as to provide a quick remedy and the documentation pertaining to this particular use case.
- Our pricing policy isn’t limited to monthly subscriptions, nor do we limit you by the number of users that can log into Zabbix concurrently, the number of monitored devices, or the number of collected metrics. Instead, our pricing policy is based on the actual complexity of the task at hand, and for support – on the number of Zabbix Server and Zabbix Proxy installations.
- Since Zabbix is the company behind the product, the unrivaled knowledge base available to us and our partners lets us find the most elegant solution to any particular Zabbix-related issue with the help of our developers and our team of certified engineers.
Starting a journey with Zabbix
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical best-case scenario of a potential customer about to start their journey with Zabbix services. What could their dilemmas and issues be?
So, the software is free, the documentation is available online, and there is an active community. This can easily lead you to believe that you can do everything from scratch yourself. Yes, some users have done this flawlessly, and they should be commended for it, but can everyone? Often, those who pick this approach believe that they’re choosing short-term savings over efficiency since they’re not outsourcing the actual services to Zabbix. But overall, they can’t be sure they are getting the best deal and using all the expertise available to them in this case.
With Zabbix, you don’t have to choose between savings and efficiency.
In our hypothetical scenario, if you are contemplating taking the first step and joining the Zabbix family, you will come across several questions that need to be answered:
- Are you deploying Zabbix from scratch or planning to migrate?
- Are you deploying Zabbix for yourself or for your clients as an MSP?
- Do you have all the requirements both for yourself and the actual end users? Do you know what their end-user experience should be like?
- Do you have the capacity to properly navigate the clients through all the maps, proper visualizations, setting up the necessary alerting, etc., to make sure that the older business-critical applications are catered to specifically according to the clients’ needs? Can you ensure that these applications aren’t just getting the basics, or getting you overwhelmed with all the data sent by the built-in or community-made templates?
- Can you adapt to dynamically changing requirements?
- Do you have up-to-date knowledge of everything your prospects can require, or will you be forced to sift through outdated guides and the Zabbix community area for answers?
The choice is up to you. Still, let’s entertain the idea that you have made the first step. So, where do we begin?
After the choice is made, we naturally start from deployment.
It would be easy for us to just send you the link to the documentation you need and make you execute a couple of quick commands to have Zabbix deployed. But no, we begin with communication. After all, it’s one thing to have the product deployed, and another thing entirely to understand not just our best practices, but also your background expertise and your knowledge base.
For instance, Zabbix engineers might be used to working with MySQL, while your corporate policy requires Oracle or Timescale. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, however, we need to communicate to find out if your DBA has all the necessary resources to handle Zabbix-related tasks, and whether you have the applicable knowledge. Then together we can offer the best solution for you, and make sure that you will be able to handle it. That way, we will both be happy with the final result.
Let us assume that the installation is complete, the system up and running, and you have everything you need, including documents, not only for the current installation but also for any potential expansion going forward. We could stop right there. But Zabbix takes it a notch further and offers training.
In our hypothetical scenario, whether you have deployed Zabbix for yourself or for end users as an MSP, your level of experience in Zabbix so far doesn’t matter that much. You can be an absolute beginner or an expert who’s been using the product for many years. Still, the experience is not the same for everyone.
Many community members often ask Zabbix developers to finally implement some basic functionality, such as maps. The strange thing is that these components, or at least the vast majority of them, have been implemented in Zabbix many years ago. This happens because software users sometimes get complacent with less sophisticated requirements and day-to-day operations, instead of trying to take full advantage of all the features offered.
This is why we offer a wide variety of courses, from one-day sessions for absolute beginners to get you accustomed to definitions and help you adjust to the user interface, all the way to week-long training to make sure that whatever Zabbix throws at you, you will be able to tackle any challenge on your own.
Zabbix training courses
We have recently announced specific focus-based courses on topics like Zabbix API and data preprocessing, to make sure that even experienced users can take advantage of the more complex features.
What we’re trying to get across is a very simple thing. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, should you attend a course, you will not leave it without having learned something new and useful.
Technically, we could stop here as well. You have your system implemented, and your team is up to par with all Zabbix knowledge you might need. But you can never be too well-prepared. This is where our technical support comes into play.
Technical support doesn’t just deal with troubleshooting a potential small issue, such as setting up a trigger or cutting off email spam, quickly. Proper support has to find the root cause of any problem users run into. We want to make sure that we provide the best possible solution and inform you of your next steps to prevent the problem from happening again. Depending on the chosen level of service, you can also benefit from additional perks, such as performance tuning and environment review, which are very useful for MSPs.
Zabbix technical support levels
If you start small, and then three or four months down the line you start adding thousands of devices, you need to be sure that your Zabbix instance is not only capable of handling the current load, but can also accommodate your future plans. So, regardless of how well-prepared you already are, it’s always a good idea to have someone committed to dealing with Zabbix challenges that come from misconfiguration or a botched upgrade, and to finding the most elegant solution possible.
We could stop here. But why would we? Zabbix can offer so much more.
Bells & whistles
Even if you have your Zabbix instance brought online, your team is up to par with training, your annual support is running, and everyone is happy, we still have more for you.
Bells & whistles
For instance, a hardware manufacturer relying heavily on Zabbix for monitoring that plans to offer a new product in five or six months can count on our team to develop the necessary templates before the actual piece of hardware hits the market. So by the time the customers start deploying the solution, the manufacturer will have the means to efficiently monitor the state of their devices.
There are other scenarios too, such as integration. For example, if you’re using ServiceNow as a part of your day-to-day operations, why not have it seamlessly integrated with Zabbix? Why not have tickets automatically created, and have a two-way integration?
Finally, you can upgrade to the new version of Zabbix to benefit from the latest features and get professional support. Rest easy knowing that you have the latest, safest version around.
Now, while I’ve said that we’re dealing with a hypothetical case, in fact, I’ve been talking about a real customer of ours all along. This client is still working with us to this day, but because this particular task has been very complex, the negotiation, deployment, and all other processes took a few months.
- We started at the installation based on our best practices and the client’s in-house expertise. This was done to accommodate the level of experience of the client and, eventually, the end users, should it become necessary.
- We had Zabbix installed in a high-availability setup and replication and tweaked the Azure integration with automated discovery.
- We had to develop a couple of custom templates here and there due to quickly changing requirements.
- We delivered ServiceNow and CMDB integration and performed three training sessions (and more are on the way).
- We supplied documentation on all the deliverables.
What can we learn from this somewhat exaggerated, but still real use case? It doesn’t have to be this complex. We don’t just work with big corporations willing to commit for months, if not years. It doesn’t matter how big or small your use case is, as long as it’s Zabbix-related, we’re here to help.
In the end, the main points to take away from this article are:
- Yes, the software is free;
- No, there are no enterprise versions;
- Yes, we offer professional services.
If you have any questions, make sure to contact us at [email protected] or tune into one of the chat rooms with our sales team.