Interview with Alexei Vladishev, CEO of Zabbix

Hello yall of Zabbix community! This is my interview with Alexei Vladishev

For those who don’t know Alex is the CEO and founder of Zabbix SIA.
So, I hope you enjoy this exclusive interview that he gives me here on my blog.


Mateus Wolff ask:

Hello Alex, first of all, thank you for your time and the opportunity to chat with you here.

So, Zabbix started in a past away when you still worked in a bank right? Tell us a little bit more about it! What was your motivation to give the first kick on Zabbix?

Alex answer:

You are right, I started developing a monitoring tool in 1997 while being a system administrator Deutsche Lettishe Bank in Riga. I was trying to automate my routine work of checking that everything is functioning properly – I have enough disk space on servers, no hanging processes, you know, usual work of a system administrator. 

At the very beginning it was just a bunch of Perl scripts running from a crontab.

Then after some time I have decided to rewrite everything using new architecture and different stack of technologies. It turned into my hobby project. I was very interested in programming and it was a great opportunity to grow my programming skills while building something useful.

Then after four years of development I have decided to make it Open Source by using GPLv2 licence and release it for general public. Therefore, first version of Zabbix was published in 2001.

I think that the best motivator was the fact that product I build is used by many people around the world. Nice emails coming from different places were the main force that pushed me to continue my work.


Mateus Wolff ask:

And nowadays? It have change?  How is the Zabbix SIA? How many people are working on Zabbix to develop and release the new things? Everyone knows that Zabbix 5.0 is knocking in our door.

Alex answer:

Now Zabbix is being developed by a great team of more than 70 people in four offices in Riga, Tokyo, Moscow and New York. I am no longer involved in coding, nowadays I do care mostly about company growth and building product roadmap among other things.

We just celebrated 15 year anniversary of Zabbix SIA. I think that we already proved that the business model we choose work well and it allows us to grow and build a better product being fully Open Source.

Our next major Zabbix 5.0 LTS release is about to be ready. It does contain great set of new functionality that enables much better monitoring experience and set of ready to use templates for monitoring of applications and services as well as long list out-of-the-box integrations with 3rd party alerting and ITSM tools like Microsoft Teams, Telegram, Redmine, Jira, ServiceNow, OTRS,  PagerDuty and many others.


Mateus Wolff ask:

What about the COVID-19. What kind of things was done to oppose it? I believe that every employee is working from home, but tell me a little bit more. Home office was easy to all of you?

Latvia was one of the best countries when it comes to fast and smart reaction to the COVID-19 threat. Even before it was declared officially, we have made a decision to switch to fully remote work at Zabbix. We purchased laptops for those who did not have it and announced that we are working from home from now on.

I do not think that it affected our operations in any way and now we are using this chance to get invaluable experience of working fully remotely. I am sure it will help us in the future very much.


Mateus Wolff ask:

So, still in function of coronavirus… I see too many Zabbix Conference are being postpone. What is your concern about the future and this events? Here in Brazil we have Zabbix Conference Latan on september. I hope that we can see you here with us.

Alex answer:

Obviously we had to cancel many Zabbix conferences including one in Brazil, also many onsite trainings, this is something out of our control unfortunately.

Nothing can substitute face to face communication, I enjoy being at Zabbix conferences and talking to Zabbix users directly. The new reality tells us that we have to be much more active in digital space this year and we have already planned many online events like webinars and mini online conferences.

Many of the online events are coming just after release of Zabbix 5.0. So please watch this space.


Mateus Wolff ask:

Ok. Right now we have beta 1 on Zabbix 5.0.  And the question that everyone wants to know. When you believe that we can touch with the stable version and what is your favorite feature on this version?

Alex answer:

I can tell with a great level of confidence that Zabbix 5.0 will be released in May, 2020. There are so many improvements that it is really hard to select a single feature I am particularly happy about. For enterprise users it might be support of SAML for single sing-on, performance and security related improvements, some may enjoy new layout of Zabbix UI and support of user modules for UI enhancements, but I am sure many users will notice that fact that Zabbix is getting even more flexible and user friendly.

We create a powerful universal Open Source monitoring solution and Zabbix 5.0 is clearly a big step in this direction.


Last concern:

Thank you for your attention here Alex! I really appreciate you. So, send a message to all Zabbix users here in Brazil.

Alex answer:

I do miss my Brazilian friends very much! 😁

Lastly, I think that COVID-19 emphasizes the fact that thanks the Internet and Open Source solutions we have a solid platform that allows all of us to communicate and work remotely. It would not be possible without Free and Open Source software!