The Medical University of Vienna, Austria, relies on free and open source software for its IT infrastructure, and is expanding the use of this kind of solutions into educational ICT areas, says Volker Fröhlich, one of the university's IT administrators. Where possible, the university is replacing proprietary IT solutions with free and open source alternatives.
The university is largely using free software for its mail and web servers, and it is the basis of its IT inventory management system. "We are currently replacing some of the proprietary virtual machines with Linux' kernel-based virtual machines."
The university is also using Zabbix, an open source solution for monitoring IT infrastructure. The system is used to keep tabs on 1500 hosts, encompassing the majority of servers, storage network devices and networking equipment at the university. Many of the servers are running GNU/Linux.
The IT administrators also use a few proprietary tools for monitoring specific equipment, but are planning to include these in its Zabbix system. "The IT administrator of the Storage Area Network feels that Zabbix can offer additional features to fill gaps in his monitoring environment", Fröhlich says. "We are concentrating our efforts on using Zabbix."
The Viennese IT administrator was one of the speakers at the Zabbix conference, which took place in the Latvian capital of Riga, on 6 and 7 September. There, Fröhlich talked about one of his contributions to Zabbix, the 'Action Simulator', which aims to help IT administrators to check if notifications are configured correctly.
His add-on, which he developes in his spare-time, provides an easy way to display debugging information. For instance, it can show administrators that a text message will not be sent, because a recipient has unintentionally switched off that option for his cell-phone, or that a user is missing the necessary permissions to receive notifications for a particular system. "It matches the simulated event with the configured actions and shows all resulting notifications."
The 'Action Simulator' is not included in Zabbix yet, but gained interest and support at the conference: "I hope we will see this capability integrated next year."