Infrabel’s success story with Zabbix

Keeping railway IT infrastructure on track:
Infrabel’s success story with Zabbix

To ensure that thousands of trains run safely and smoothly on our railways every day, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. The Belgian railway manager Infrabel is responsible for a key part of this work. It not only manages the actual railway infrastructure but also the IT infrastructure that supports the rail network. “With a tool like Zabbix we can monitor our IT infrastructure in a flexible, automated way, so that it remains up and running 24/7.”

These are the words of Benjamin Lienard and Christophe Opsommer, respectively the Unix and Linux System Administrators at Infrabel. The IT landscape that they help to manage is both complex and extensive. With about 600 Unix and 2.000 Linux (virtual) machines to look after. At least half of the Linux ones are in production.

“Monitoring all those systems manually is simply not possible. For that you need a backend / technical monitoring tool,” says Lienard.

success story with Zabbix

In search of better monitoring

“Before we brought Zabbix in-house, each team worked with its own limited monitoring tool that we tried to centralize,” recalls Lienard. “But the interaction between all those separate tools and our central monitoring system wasn’t really optimal. We also lacked flexibility. For example, we simply couldn’t monitor certain things because the metrics were missing, which meant that we ultimately failed to set up alerts for them.”

Enterprise open source

In Zabbix, Infrabel found exactly the right tool. Zabbix is free open source software for monitoring IT infrastructure such as networks, servers, virtual machines, and cloud services. Infrabel embraced the open source ethos but opted for the paid enterprise version. Recognizing the value of investing in premium software for critical infrastructure.

Infrabel turned to Piros to purchase the licenses. As the largest Zabbix partner in Belgium, Piros also offers comprehensive support for the software. And they act as the central point of contact for any questions or issues that arise. For Piros itself, Zabbix is a logical addition to the services the company has been successfully offering as a Red Hat partner for many years.

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