Opening up Open Source Support

A Nobius blog wrtten by David Collier – December 2019.

How times change, especially in the world of IT Monitoring.

Many years ago – when I was young and thought acoustic couplers and bulletin boards were the pinnacle of home-to-world communications, I heard of something called “Freeware”.

It was usually jerry-built software intended to solve a particular problem. Programmed (and yes compiled) by stereotypical geeks in a dim bedroom surrounded by empty pizza boxes. (Yes I’m allowed to say that – I was that man geek).

Move forward a few years and in 1991 Linux was born. This was software initially created by one man but then opened up to modification and contributions from other similarly expert individuals.

This fuelled a massive interest in developing software for the good of humankind. You only have to take a look at this timeline to see the post-Linux explosion in Open Source software development

Let’s do a bit more time travel and in 2013 we saw this from Barclays:

At the time there were, I’m sure, raised eyebrows about the business sense of doing this.
You’re using ‘freeware’ to build a banking system”. “Oh my god, the bad guys must be loving this”. “Don’t Barclays know that all open source contains security issues”. “Good luck in getting support Barclays”.

Now, as we enter 2020 Open Source software is present in the overwhelming majority of businesses. For as long as I can remember, the Netflix platform has been developed and runs pretty much entirely on Open Source.

Inevitably, in order for Open Source to have evolved to its current state a lot of things have evolved in parallel – after all, if a business is to run critical systems using Open Source then the risks that were historically associated with open source must have been addressed.

Testing, version control, security and bug reporting are well managed using Open Source tools such as Github, JIRA etc. In fact, modern software project development methodologies and even the concept of DevOps itself, would not exist were it not for Open Source.

Why Open Source Support?

Any business needs to minimise risk in their IT, the availability and quality of support is a major factor in this.
So, what’s changed with the support side of things?

Simply put, most Open Source software businesses including Zabbix, offer paid-for software support.

I accept that there’s often a resistance to paying for support for what is fundamentally free software.

Personally, I suspect that opinion is formed from experiences of using the technical support of large vendors. Hours spent on the phone to someone (or three of them) who doesn’t understand your problem and insists on asking you to ‘send the log files’ in order to reset the SLA clock.

It’s only after you demand escalation and to speak with a level 3 expert that they take you seriously.

It’s only after you demand escalation and to speak with a level 3 expert that they take you seriously.

So what’s so good about Zabbix software support?

  • The support team are located in the same office as the developers (about 20m away if I remember correctly).
    Compare that to the big vendors where you’re lucky if the support team are even in the same country and speak the same language as the developers.
  • The people providing support are the definitive experts.
    The people who respond to your query are acting on the authority of Zabbix. They are not ad-hoc community responders.
  • With Zabbix your cases are logged and tracked.
    Compare this to traditional Open Source support which relied on the time, best endeavours and goodwill of community forums. Or compare it to asking a generic question of your commercial software provider such as “can MonMyStuff support IPv6” which usually ends up as Dante-esque circles of hell as brought to life here.
  • Zabbix support is cost-effective.

How much does your current commercial software support contract cost you?
From my experience it’s upwards of 23% of initial license cost, plus an annual uplift (usually around 1.5%).


How is your software support cost calculated?
By managed server?
By ‘device’?
Do the cost calculations lead you to assume that whoever came up with the pricing was smoking something illicit?

With Zabbix it’s easy;

  1. How many Zabbix Servers do you have?
  2. How many Zabbix Proxies do you have?


– doesn’t care how many devices you are managing,
– doesn’t care how many agents you have installed,
– doesn’t care about how many CPU sockets are in use,
– doesn’t calculate a VM as a percentage of a node.

  • Zabbix support is more than support.
    For instance, all but the lowest support levels include an audit of your installation followed by actions to improve performance of Zabbix. It’s not a “professional service” at £1,000 per day.
    How about having formal training included in your support contract? At Zabbix, the Enterprise and Global support levels include 5 and 10 training courses respectively.

Nobius will be delighted to consult with you on architecture design, specific requirements, proof of concept, and even #Zabbix-as-a-service offerings to suit your project needs.

Our @Nobius web site introduces you to the different services that we can offer, as does this short video

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Our other blogs provide you with access to great user review reports that position Zabbix as the #1 IT Monitoring solution even when compared with people’s reviews of non-Open Source well-known brand solutions.
You can download these reports now @Nobius website and learn more about #Nobius services using #Zabbix.

See why #Nobius is the #1 Zabbix partner in the UK and Ireland.

Reach out to us on our website or at for more information and assistance.

Look out for Nobius and Zabbix @ the Paris Open Source summit 10-11 December 2019.