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Zabbix JMX monitoring setup for Linux server

JMX monitoring can be used to monitor JMX counters of a Java application.

JMX monitoring has native support in Zabbix in the form of a Zabbix daemon called “Zabbix Java gateway”, introduced since Zabbix 2.0.

To retrieve the value of a particular JMX counter on a host, Zabbix server queries the Zabbix Java gateway, which in turn uses the JMX management API to query the application of interest remotely.

What is Java and JMX monitoring?

JMX monitoring can be used to measure all JMX counters of a Java application. Java Management Extensions (JMX) is a Java Community Process (JSR-3) specification for managing and monitoring Java applications. Via a so-called Java gateway, the Zabbix server can address the JMX monitoring services, read data from a Java application and save and process it as an item.

A typical use case is the monitoring of the memory consumption of a Java application or of the Java runtime environment in which the application is operated.

Java Gateway and Java Pollers

Zabbix Java gateway

The so-called Zabbix Java Gateway is a special bollard process that can retrieve data via JMX. Unlike the previously mentioned boll processes, this is not an "internal" process within the Zabbix server. The Java Gateway is a stand-alone daemon that provides data to the Zabbix server through a TCP port. The Java Gateway is Java software that requires a JRE.

Enable Java Gateway

To use JMX monitoring, you must install the Zabbix Java Gateway, which is typically not included in the default installation. If you are using Zabbix LLC DEB or RPM packages , install the Java Gateway as follows. The Java Gateway requires no configuration and can be started immediately.

apt-get install zabbix-java-gateway # Debian/Ubuntu 

/etc/init.d/zabbix-java-gateway start # Debian/Ubuntu

yum install zabbix-java-gateway # Red Hat/CentOS 

 service zabbix-java-gateway start # Red Hat/CentOS 

 systemctl enable zabbix-java-gateway # Red Hat/CentOS

You should now find startup and shutdown scripts in the /opt/zabbix-java-gateway/sbin/zabbix_java folder .

cd /opt/zabbix-java-gateway/sbin/zabbix_java


Test if the Java Gateway is running.

# ps -ef| grep -i java

Java Gateway as data provider for the Zabbix server

Now that Java gateway is running, you have to tell Zabbix server where to find Zabbix Java gateway. This is done by specifying JavaGateway and JavaGatewayPort parameters in server configuration file.

If the host on which JMX application is running is monitored by Zabbix proxy, then you specify the connection parameters in proxy configuration file instead.
JavaGateway=<Client IP Address> JavaGatewayPort=10052

By default, server does not start any processes related to JMX monitoring. If you wish to use it, however, you have to specify the number of pre-forked instances of Java pollers. You do this in the same way you specify regular pollers and trappers.

Do not forget to restart server or proxy, once you are done with configuring them.

Enter the Java Gateway in the file /etc/zabbix/zabbix_server.conf . In the Zabbix server, activate at least one Java bollard, which "requests" the item data from the Java gateway and forwards the server process. After you make the changes, restart the Zabbix server.

NOTE: This is a one time setup in the zabbix server and need NOT be modified again for every new server that we add to the Zabbix WebUI.

Enabling remote JMX monitoring for Java application

A Java application does not need any additional software installed, but it needs to be started with the command-line options specified below to have support for remote JMX monitoring.

As a bare minimum, if you just wish to get started by monitoring a simple Java application on a local host with no security enforced, start it with these options:

export CATALINA_OPTS="$CATALINA_OPTS -Dcom.sun.management.jmxremote -Dcom.sun.management.jmxremote.port=10052 -Dcom.sun.management.jmxremote.ssl=false -Dcom.sun.management.jmxremote.authenticate=false -Djava.rmi.server.hostname=ClientIP -Djava.net.preferIPv4Stack=true"

NOTE: Communication between Java gateway and the monitored JMX application should not be firewalled.
So disable the server level internal firewall in the linux client using the below command.

systemctl disable firewalld

Configuring JMX interfaces and items in Zabbix frontend

With Java gateway running, server knowing where to find it and a Java application started with support for remote JMX monitoring, it is time to configure the interfaces and items in Zabbix GUI.

Before retrieving data from the JMX interface, you must specify for each host on which IP address and on which TCP port the JMX interface of the Java program listens. Navigate to the host configuration and add a JMX interface. If you want to monitor several Java programs via JMX on a host, you must use different TCP ports.

Apply the appropriate JMX template to the server in the zabbix webUI like JMX generic template and you can see that the JMX turns green and is enabled.

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