How to improve your networking monitoring with chat alerts

Jonathan MathewsPublic

How to improve your networking monitoring with chat alerts

The point of a network monitoring solution is, of course, to tell you when something malfunctions on your network, but the effectiveness of a solution is directly related to how noticeable and timely its alerts are.

For my work, system-malfunction emails can be overwhelming, so I thought a chatbot service would be more useful. After doing some research, it seemed like I already had two tools that would do the job: Mattermost and Zabbix. But how do I make them work together?

Zabbix is an open source distributed monitoring solution with a wide variety of community developed plugins and handy integration tools (e.g. Grafana). I have used it to monitor my home network devices, server infrastructure, and services (e.g. Elastic stack, formerly known as ELK stack).  Mattermost is an MIT-licensed, cross-platform messaging service. It’s open source and welcomes pull requests to its GitHub repos. On my network, I use Mattermost for most notifications, like the current weather, train schedule, etc.

I decided that integrating my existing Mattermost chat server with my Zabbix monitoring server would be quite simple and give me the tools I needed to better monitor my home network. The idea was to create a separate channel used specifically for system alerts that I could subscribe to or mute as I pleased. I also had the option to set specific notifications—e.g., hypervisor down—to notify a specific user.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to how I built my setup; hopefully it will help you build your own.

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