Implementing high-quality data center services using Zabbix at an advantageous cost
Development of data center services based on solid facilities
Miyazaki Prefecture is blessed with a warm climate and is a renowned camping ground for sports teams. Miyagin Computer Service Co., Ltd. is developing various information services as a group company of The Miyazaki Bank Ltd., which is Miyazaki Prefecture’s representative bank.
For many years, Miyagin Computer Service has provided consultancy, development and application services for mission-critical systems requiring stable application, focusing on the systems of The Miyazaki Bank Ltd. In 2005, Miyazaki Chuo Internet Data Center (Miyazaki Chuo iDC) was established and started providing housing services mainly to self-governing bodies. In 2012, as needs increased, a “2nd Server Room” was also opened, providing machine monitoring and proxy application 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, based on solid facilities.
The company has also rolled out various value-added services, such as the “M-NET Payment Collection Service”, which rationalizes all kinds of money collection work, and the “Remote Backup Service”, which makes it possible for business to continue even in times of natural disaster, etc. by storing important data at the company’s data center and data centers outside the prefecture.
Flexible monitoring setup to comply with system changes
Mr. Yasuhisa Shinohara
Head of Miyagin Computer Service’s
IT Sales Department
Miyagin Computer Service plans to begin using “Zabbix” in April 2015 as an application monitoring solution for Miyazaki Chuo iDC. To begin with, two Zabbix Servers will be installed in an active-standby setup for the commencement of monitoring of servers that are stored at Miyagin Computer Service data centers
Quality is by far the most important aspect of a data center service. In order to maintain quality, it is essential to have a monitoring setup that quickly discovers abnormalities and reports to the operator in order for measures to be taken. Yasuhisa Shinohara, Head of Miyagin Computer Service’s IT Sales Department, explains: “The data center business is not possible without monitoring.”
To date, Miyagin Computer Service has used commercial monitoring software for the monitoring of various systems on data centers comprising servers and network devices. However, Mr. Shinohara looks back on this and says, “Monitoring targets increase when data center services are provided for a long time. With commercial monitoring software, the number of licenses increases proportionately with the number of monitored nodes, which inevitably would result in the issue of increased running costs.”
Moreover, fluctuations in monitoring targets come with system changes. According to Mr. Shinohara, it is not uncommon for the addition of a new node to result in an increase of 50 or 100 monitoring items. But with commercial software, it would take time to send for the corresponding agent and it was difficult to begin monitoring quickly within the customer’s desired time frame. On the other hand, buying a surplus of licenses in advance would mean a waste of budget. That being the case, the intention was to divert agents that had become unnecessary in one system to the monitoring of another system, but this was also difficult with the organization of commercial software licenses.
Cost reduction effects expected from Zabbix, and detailed monitoring
The Zabbix open source software was most suitable for resolving these issues. While delivering adequate functionality as a system monitoring solution that detects abnormalities and raises alerts, the software unit can be used free of charge. As well as there being no initial cost relating to licenses, agents brought in for monitored targets are also free of charge, so it can be expected that the operating cost can likewise be reduced from 25% to 20%. Moreover, licenses can be dealt with flexibly, so it is possible to prepare a setup that can carry out monitoring immediately in accordance with changes in system architecture.
As Mr. Shinohara points out, “In monitoring, it is important to configure an appropriate threshold, and it is not good to have an excess either. If alerts are issued too frequently, this will cause trouble on-site.” For example, there may be planned shutdown of a system for maintenance. With Zabbix, detailed configuration can be performed during the shutdown period, such as when the user wants to continue monitoring and just stop the issuance of alert notifications.
Another key feature was the ability to maintain existing structures without change when migrating. Mr. Shinohara explains that as they approached actual operation, “Agent introduction was started first, but the progress was smooth.”
Reliable support service a deciding factor
Serial installation work is supported by Kyuden Business Solutions, Zabbix Certified partner. Another highly valued point was that operational checks and support services could be undertaken prior to installation. Mr. Shinohara says: “We have no worries, because it is open source software. But another deciding factor was the provision of reliable support by Kyuden Business Solutions.”
Data compiled by Zabbix is customized in the “BEYMZ” monitoring portal proprietarily developed by Kyuden Business Solutions, and is then displayed with visuals. BEYMZ is portal software that was produced to reflect expertise and interview results accumulated over a period of 20 years. It displays the system conditions in a way that is easy for the actual end user to understand, and can immediately access necessary information such as contact addresses, etc.
Taking the installation of Zabbix as an opportunity, Miyagin Computer Service is exploring the development of further value added services. For example, in addition to the basic monitoring services it currently offers, Miyagin Computer Service also hopes that it will become possible to use Zabbix for the development of lower-cost optional services that provide more detailed monitoring of the status of resources.
Mr. Shinohara expresses his hopes as follows: “While having as our base the contribution to our local region, such as self-governing bodies and businesses within the prefecture, we want to take the provision of backup services as an opportunity to also turn our attention towards development of data center services for corporations outside of the prefecture. monitoring services using Zabbix will likely be key at that time.”
2 Zabbix Servers (redundancy)
Approximately 1,000 monitored devices.
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