After setting up the router monitoring, I decided to create a simple map in order to be able to have a nice view and make an impression on the higher-ups.
My original idea was to create a geographic map, like the one shown here but unfortunately, the documentation on this point is a bit lacking so I couldn’t see how I could make it use my own background image. I decided to let this be a project for later.
To create a simple map, I first scribbled my desired layout in a piece of paper so that can have an easy reference. First was the Backbone router, the one connecting everything together. Connected to that were the two other Critical Routers (one for each geographic location) and the internet (used to connect to VPN nodes). Finally, from each of those three formed a tree of links to the minor routers.
Once the layout was complete, I got to implementing it.
You can access the Map Creation by going to
Configuration -> Maps -> Create Map
I used the name “Routers & Nodes” so that I know what kind of map this is in case I create more.
I initially used a big height and width in order to give me ample space to design and I later reduced to fit. My current size for example is 800×1150. I left the rest of the options as is.
By pressing the Edit button, I entered the map design page.
I initially placed the main backbone on the top and was planning to create a tree like view of the routers but unfortunately it soon became apparent that this was not doable. So I decided to place the backbone router in the middle and then connect the other nodes in star forms.
I then created more such map elements for the routers, in the appropriate locations as well as two elements related to the internet and the internet firewall. Those last two were initially just simple images but I then created appropriate hosts groups for each (the firewall tested the ping on his internal ip while the internet host checked my ISP’s DNS server)
Once all the items were in place, I started creating the links by using the Create Connection button. I connected the elements together accordingly to how the network is set up. I used the Router Connection Lost trigger of each host to understand when a link is up or down and then show it on the map. I used bold lines for Critical connections and simple lines for the rest. You can use whatever else you think is appropriate
You can’t see the whole map, but you get the idea. This not only serves to show to layout to any interested staff, but you can quickly see any failing nodes and by clicking on them, check out what trigger activated (granted, they only use one trigger at the time but if you start to monitor servers with the agent, it gets much more interesting)
Now I need to find out how to use my own images in the maps because the pre-installed ones are very limited. Unfortunately, the Zabbix homepage does not go into detail on how to do that. The relative sentence for map design is
“Click on the “MAPS” link to set up a network map. A map will help you quickly identify any problems with your monitored machines.”
And so I need to fiddle and ask a bit before I make it. Stay tuned for progress on that front.
PS: This did make an impression on the IT Director and a Shareholder that was around at the time. If you implement this on your own company you’ll definitely raise a few eyebrows 😉
Time to extend the map