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Monitoring Your FileMaker Server with Zabbix as an Appliance

By September 11, 2019 2 Comments

This post is one in a series of guides that walk you through installing, configuring, and using Zabbix to monitor your FileMaker servers

Zabbix Appliance Overview

The Zabbix Appliance is a pre-installed Linux server plus Zabbix server. Its purpose is to remove all hurdles for those not inclined to do the initial installation themselves.  It allows you to get up and running with Zabbix with almost no effort at all.

The Zabbix website mentions that it should be used for testing rather than production, but we believe it is production-ready for the purpose of monitoring FileMaker Servers.

There are, of course, some trade-offs, but they are minimal.  Mainly you do not get to choose the type of back-end database that Zabbix will use (it will be MySQL version 8 as per Zabbix 4.2.3) nor the flavor of Linux for the underlying operating system (it is Ubuntu 16.0.4 as per July 2019).  Chances are that you are not interested very much in this anyway.

Downloading the Appliance

The first step is to download the Appliance in your preferred format from the Zabbix downloads page. For this demo, we will use the image that works with both VirtualBox and VMware.

Download the Appliance

Figure 1. Download the Appliance

The download expands into a set of files, that can be opened directly in VMware Fusion (or VMware Workstation on Windows or hosted in your VMware environment).

Open the Appliance directly in VM Ware Fusion

Figure 2. Open the Appliance directly in VMware Fusion

When the virtual machine starts, it shows a command prompt:

Command prompt

Figure 3. Command prompt

For now, we’re mainly interested in logging into Zabbix itself, so we do not need to do anything in that command prompt window.

Configuring VMware Settings

I configured the VMware settings so that the virtual machine shows up as a separate machine on my network:

Configuring the VMware settings

Figure 4. Configuring the VMware settings

At this point, the virtual machine picked up a dynamic IP address through DHCP.  All I need to do is figure out what the IP address is (I use IP Scanner Pro for this, but your DHCP server’s console would also provide you this information) so that I can point my browser to it and log in:

http:///zabbix

The default credentials for the Zabbix frontend are username Admin (capital A!) and password zabbix:

Use default credentials to log into Zabbix

Figure 5. Use default credentials to log into Zabbix

Or if you are not averse to a little bit of command line use, in VMware Fusion’s window, log in to Linux with the default credentials for the operating system (username: appliance, password: Zabbix) and use the “ifconfig” command to show the network card configuration. See the yellow highlighted command the IP address listed:

Screenshot of inet6 addr:192.168.2.180

Figure 6. inet6 addr:192.168.2.180

Template Import

And with that we are in the Zabbix admin console.  From this point on, it is just a matter of importing the templates that monitor various items of a FileMaker Server and adding your FileMaker Server as a host to monitor. We explain these steps in one of the next guides in this series.

Zabbix admin console

Figure 7. Zabbix admin console

The Zabbix Appliance manual covers some useful details, such as which ports are open on the Linux firewall in case you need to tweak those.

Static IP Address Requirement

There is one important OS configuration change you’ll need sooner rather than later, and that is to switch your virtual machine from a dynamic to a static IP address.  Your FileMaker Server will need to be able to reach it at all times so a dynamically changing IP address will not work well.

In the VMware Fusion window, log into the OS with user ‘appliance’ and password ‘zabbix’ and run the following command to install the nano text editor, one of the easiest to use:

sudo apt-get install nano

With nano in place we will update Ubuntu’s network configuration and tell nano to open the configuration file with this command:

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
Command line – telling nano to open the configuration file

Figure 8. Command line – telling nano to open the configuration file

The default settings will look like this:

Default settings

Figure 9. Default settings

We are interested in the last line as it sets the network card to use DHCP.

Change the word “dhcp” to “static”:

Change “dhcp” to “static”

Figure 10. Change “dhcp” to “static”

And add 3 lines below it but with a static IP address, netmask and gateway that fits your network:

Add the static IP address, netmask, and gateway

Figure 11. Add the static IP address, netmask, and gateway

Then hit control-o (oh, not zero) to save the file:

Save the file

Figure 12. Save the file

Hit enter and then control-x to quit the text editor.  This should drop you back to the command line prompt. As a final command, reboot your instance to have the settings take effect:

sudo reboot now

Now you can use that new static IP address in your browser to work with the Zabbix admin console:

Use the new static IP address

Figure 13. Use the new static IP address

Core and Memory Configurations

The virtual machine is pre-configured to use 4 cores and 4GB of memory. Depending on the number of FileMaker Servers you want to monitor (or other servers/devices you intend to monitor), you can scale that down significantly. For my purposes, I have it set to use 2 cores and 1GB of RAM, since I will only need to work with two to four FileMaker Servers. To adjust the resources for the virtual machine, stop the instance and use the VMware preferences to choose the number of processors and memory you want to assign to the machine.

Set the number of cores and memory

Figure 14. Set the number of cores and memory

Download a pdf of this post.

Work with Zabbix FileMaker Server Experts

Would you like to set up Zabbix for your FileMaker solution but would like guidance? Our team has worked extensively with Zabbix, and we’re happy to help. Contact our team to get started.

Wim Decorte

Wim Decorte

Wim is a Senior Technical Solution Architect at Soliant. He is a FileMaker 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 Certified FileMaker Developer and the author of numerous Tech Briefs and articles on FileMaker Server. Wim is one of the very few multiple FileMaker Excellence Award winners and was most recently awarded the FileMaker Community Leader of the Year award at the 2015 FileMaker Developer Conference. He is also a frequent speaker at the FileMaker Developer Conference and at FileMaker Developer groups throughout the world. In addition to being a renowned expert on FileMaker Server, Wim also specializes in integrating FileMaker with other applications and systems. His pet project is the open source fmDotNet connector class that he created.

2 Comments

  • Avatar Zack says:

    Thanks for making this walk-through guide!

    I am walking through the process and got the IP address via the ifconfig command on VMWare, but for some reason, entering it at and “/zabbix/” doesn’t load. The page just times out without connecting.

    Have you encountered this at all? any suggestions about how to proceed?

    • Wim Decorte Wim Decorte says:

      Hi Zack,
      Can you post to community.filemaker.com and reference our post? I’ll pick it up there. It’s a better medium to carry a conversation and get this fixed for you.

      Best regards,
      Wim

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