"Zabbix has more legacy components due to its age … there are better options available."

–Gartner, Inc.

Can You Replace Zabbix with Watchdog?

Watchdog includes Essential Alerts™ out of the box and takes less than a minute to install, while Zabbix takes all day to configure its legacy components and plugins. See how Watchdog stacks up.

Features
Historical Data
Real Anomaly Detection
Custom Alerts
Predictive Alerts
Quick Install & Setup
Free Support
Maintenance-Free Central Server
Low Overhead
Scales Beyond 1,000 Nodes
Unlimited Agents / Nodes / Hosts
Zero-Config Alerts
Real-Time Alerts

Watchdog Includes:
Automatic Server Alerts Out of the Box

System admins don’t have time to investigate every little problem. But they need to be aware of issues that lead to downtime. Why spend precious time on something as common as server monitoring?

Monitor All Your Essential Server Metrics & Vitals


Let Watchdog guard your hardware — automatically — by installing our Smart Agent and get proactive alerts on:

CPU

Swap space

VM steal time

System load

Hard disks

Network

Memory

Ulimits

And more

Expect Better Outcomes by Installing Watchdog

Increase Uptime Now

“Good work, now I have to deal with a problem I didn't know I had.”

–Andrew Hurd, Sr. Software Engineer, ZipBooks

Who is Watchdog Built For?

Small and lightweight, Watchdog can be set up on all your servers in minutes thanks to its 23-second install

Watchdog is easily scalable for:

Startup Engineers

As a startup, you know you need to monitor your servers and apps, but you are also trying to bootstrap and trim costs where possible. Watchdog installs on all your systems for free, giving you zero-config Essential Alerts™ (CPU, memory, swap space, etc.) and Custom Alerts in minutes.

Small Business DevOps Teams

When your business is scaling to meet the demands of your customers, you need to ensure high uptime and availability for retention and loyalty. Watchdog takes only 23 seconds to install, and Custom Alerts are easy to configure on the fly.

Enterprise DevOps Departments

Setting up Watchdog on existing large installations is easy because there is no config required to get Essential Alerts on even hundreds of servers.

Install & Config: How Does Zabbix Compare to Watchdog?

With Zabbix, you’ve got to download plugins and spend all day configuring them. If you’ve got an older Zabbix install, you might even have to pay up to $18,500 to have trained technicians fly out to upgrade your database in order to avoid historical data loss.

15 Steps,
13 Commands,
& 24+ Hours

Part 1: Installing Zabbix Daemons

STEP 1: Download the source archive

(1 command)

Go to the Zabbix download page and download the source archive. Once downloaded, extract the sources, by running:

$ tar -zxvf zabbix-3.4.0.tar.gz

Enter the correct Zabbix version in the command. It must match the name of the downloaded archive.

STEP 2: Create user account

(2 commands)

For all of the Zabbix daemon processes, an unprivileged user is required. If a Zabbix daemon is started from an unprivileged user account, it will run as that user.

However, if a daemon is started from a 'root' account, it will switch to a 'zabbix' user account, which must be present. To create such a user account (in its own group, “zabbix”) on Linux systems, run:

groupadd zabbix

useradd -g zabbix zabbix

Running Zabbix as root, bin, or any other account with special rights is a security risk.

STEP 3: Create Zabbix database

For Zabbix server and proxy daemons, as well as Zabbix frontend, a database is required. It is not needed to run Zabbix agent.

SQL scripts are provided for creating database schema and inserting the dataset. Zabbix proxy database needs only the schema while Zabbix server database requires also the dataset on top of the schema.

Having created a Zabbix database, proceed to the following steps of compiling Zabbix.

STEP 4: Configure the Sources

(1 command)

When configuring the sources for a Zabbix server or proxy, you must specify the database type to be used. Only one database type can be compiled with a server or proxy process at a time.

To see all of the supported configuration options, inside the extracted Zabbix source directory run:

./configure --help

To configure the sources for a Zabbix server and agent, you may run something like:

./configure --enable-server --enable-agent --with-mysql --enable-ipv6 --with-net-snmp --with-libcurl --with-libxml2

--with-libcurl configuration option with cURL 7.20.0 or higher is required for SMTP authentication, supported since Zabbix 3.0.0.

--with-libcurl and --with-libxml2 configuration options are required for virtual machine monitoring, supported since Zabbix 2.2.0.

To configure the sources for a Zabbix server (with PostgreSQL etc.), you may run:

./configure --enable-server --with-postgresql --with-net-snmp

To configure the sources for a Zabbix proxy (with SQLite etc.), you may run:

./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-proxy --with-net-snmp --with-sqlite3 --with-ssh2

To configure the sources for a Zabbix agent, you may run:

./configure --enable-agent

You may use the --enable-static flag to statically link libraries. If you plan to distribute compiled binaries among different servers, you must use this flag to make these binaries work without required libraries. Note that --enable-static does not work under Solaris.

Using --enable-static option is not recommended when building server.

In order to build the server statically you must have a static version of every external library needed. There is no strict check for that in configure script.

Command-line utilities zabbix_get and zabbix_sender are compiled if --enable-agent option is used.

Add optional path to the MySQL configuration file --with-mysql=/<path_to_the_file>/mysql_config to select the desired MySQL client library when there is a need to use one that is not located in the default location.

It is useful when there are several versions of MySQL installed or MariaDB installed alongside MySQL on the same system.

Use --with-ibm-db2 flag to specify location of the CLI API.

Use --with-oracle flag to specify location of the OCI API.

STEP 5: Make and install everything

(2 commands)

If installing from SVN, it is required to run first:

$ make dbschema

$ make install

This step should be run as a user with sufficient permissions (commonly 'root', or by using sudo).

Running make install will by default install the daemon binaries (zabbix_server, zabbix_agentd, zabbix_proxy) in /usr/local/sbin and the client binaries (zabbix_get, zabbix_sender) in /usr/local/bin.

To specify a different location than /usr/local, use a --prefix key in the previous step of configuring sources, for example --prefix=/home/zabbix. In this case daemon binaries will be installed under <prefix>/sbin, while utilities under <prefix>/bin. Man pages will be installed under <prefix>/share.

STEP 6: Review and edit configuration files

  • edit the Zabbix agent configuration file /usr/local/etc/zabbix_agentd.conf

You need to configure this file for every host with zabbix_agentd installed.

You must specify the Zabbix server IP address in the file. Connections from other hosts will be denied.

  • edit the Zabbix server configuration file /usr/local/etc/zabbix_server.conf

You must specify the database name, user and password (if using any).

The rest of the parameters will suit you with their defaults if you have a small installation (up to ten monitored hosts). You should change the default parameters if you want to maximize the performance of Zabbix server (or proxy) though. See the performance tuning section for more details.

  • if you have installed a Zabbix proxy, edit the proxy configuration file /usr/local/etc/zabbix_proxy.conf

You must specify the server IP address and proxy hostname (must be known to the server), as well as the database name, user and password (if using any).

With SQLite the full path to database file must be specified; DB user and password are not required.

STEP 7: Start up the daemons

(3 commands)

Run zabbix_server on the server side.

shell> zabbix_server

Make sure that your system allows allocation of 36MB (or a bit more) of shared memory, otherwise the server may not start and you will see “Cannot allocate shared memory for .” in the server log file. This may happen on FreeBSD, Solaris 8.

See the "See also" section at the bottom of this page to find out how to configure shared memory.

Run zabbix_agentd on all the monitored machines.

shell> zabbix_agentd

Make sure that your system allows allocation of 2MB of shared memory, otherwise the agent may not start and you will see “Cannot allocate shared memory for collector.” in the agent log file. This may happen on Solaris 8.

If you have installed Zabbix proxy, run zabbix_proxy.

shell> zabbix_proxy

PART 2: Installing Zabbix web interface

Copying PHP files (4 commands)

Zabbix frontend is written in PHP, so to run it a PHP supported webserver is needed. Installation is done by simply copying the PHP files from frontends/php to the webserver HTML documents directory.

Common locations of HTML documents directories for Apache web servers include:

  • /usr/local/apache2/htdocs (default directory when installing Apache from source)
  • /srv/www/htdocs (OpenSUSE, SLES)
  • /var/www/html (Fedora, RHEL, CentOS)
  • /var/www (Debian, Ubuntu)

It is suggested to use a subdirectory instead of the HTML root. To create a subdirectory and copy Zabbix frontend files into it, execute the following commands, replacing the actual directory:

mkdir <htdocs>/zabbix

cd frontends/php

cp -a . <htdocs>/zabbix

If installing from SVN and planning to use any other language than English, you must generate translation files. To do so, run:

locale/make_mo.sh

msgfmt utility from gettext package is required.

Additionally, to use any other language than English, its locale should be installed on the web server. See the "See also" section in the “User profile” page to find out how to install it if required.

Installing the Frontend

STEP 8

In your browser, open Zabbix URL: http://<server_ip_or_name>/zabbix

You should see the first screen of the frontend installation wizard.

STEP 9

Make sure that all software prerequisites are met.

STEP 10

Enter details for connecting to the database. Zabbix database must already be created.

STEP 11

Enter Zabbix server details.

STEP 12

Review a summary of settings.

STEP 13

Download the configuration file and place it under conf/ in the webserver HTML documents subdirectory where you copied Zabbix PHP files to.

Providing the webserver user has write access to conf/ directory the configuration file would be saved automatically and it would be possible to proceed to the next step right away.

STEP 14

Finish the installation.

STEP 15

The Zabbix frontend is finally ready after all of these steps. The default username is Admin, password zabbix.

Typical Zabbix Fee Structure

As open source software, Zabbix is offered for "free."

$2,300

Basic Upgrade
Support - 2 Days
Remote Assistance Only

$5,200

Advanced Upgrade
Support - 5 Days
Remote Assistance Only

$18,500

Professional Upgrade
Support - 10 Days
On-site Assistance; 3-day Training

Add on inevitable support contracts, a developer salary to maintain your configuration, and paid courses to learn it, and you can see why Zabbix isn’t really free.

Unlike Zabbix, once Watchdog’s daemon is installed and enabled, Watchdog automatically monitors ulimit, filesystems, CPU usage, memory usage, disk I/O, disk space, and long-running processes.

3 Steps,
1 Command,
& 23 Seconds

STEP 1

Create a free Blue Matador account

You can get started by creating your account here

STEP 2

Install the Blue Matador Smart Agent, which is automatically configured with Watchdog alerts.

(1 command)

On Linux, just enter:

curl -L -s "https://app.bluematador.com/install?os=linux" | sudo ACCOUNT="a67acd6e68f872b807a1c9afe3a2453564e67877" API_KEY="f80d0ca101e967b50b730ddf8e8aca0de85e8df6" AGENT_TAGS="env:prod" bash

STEP 3

Receive Essential Alerts™ on your servers without any config on your part. Set up Custom Alerts for any arbitrary alert you need for your setup.

Typical Watchdog Fee Structure

$0 - Free Forever

We aren’t kidding when we say it’s free.

We get the frustration of fighting fires all the time, always balancing the need to fix production, add more monitoring, and do more of the real DevOps work you were hired to do.

Watchdog is free forever because we want to help system admins get ahead of the firefighting curve. Our founders spent years doing on-call DevOps monitoring, day and night.

“I gotta say, Watchdog is pretty cool for a free offering.”

–Aaron Mefford, VP of Technology & Development, DMG

No Contract

You can download and install Watchdog on your own just by creating a Blue Matador account instantly. There’s no waiting around for permission or approval.

No Hidden Fees (or even visible fees)

Watchdog really is free. Not convinced? Use our pricing calculator below to doublecheck.

No Limitations

Watchdog is fully featured for as many servers as you want. There are no user limitations, feature paywalls, data restrictions, update restraints, or alert throttling.

Estimate your monthly Watchdog budget

Servers

Total

Your monthly bill would be

$0.00

Did you think we were kidding?

Watchdog really is free forever.

GET FREE SERVER MONITORING

Built for Cloud, On-Premise, Distributed, or Monolithic IT Infrastructures

Watchdog Works in Any Architecture & Under Any Scenario

Watchdog runs entirely on your server. In fact, after installing the Blue Matador Smart Agent, your server detects hardware anomalies and generates the report metrics itself. And it does this with the amazingly low overhead that our Smart Agent provides (<2% CPU overhead, <2% memory usage, and 90% gzip compression).

Watchdog Runs On

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