Every day Android devices are more widely used in the enterprise environment as a working tool, beyond its use as mobile phone. Every time is less unusual to find in factories and offices tablets, mobile phones and even televisions (and in the medium term, PCs) for applications that did not exist before or for those reserved to other types of devices specially built for them: barcode readers for logistics, screens in industrial operator positions, access systems, etc.
Thus, the need of monitoring Android devices in corporate environments has been growing consequently. In Muutech we believe that these devices are a key element to monitor because for a lot of IT managers the management of this equipment can be a nightmare, since its hardware and software change much more frequently than the classic IT devices.
Zabbix and Android
There is not yet available an official Android agent developed by Zabbix. As you may know, Zabbix is a tool whose development is controlled only by one company (Zabbix), so they are who determine the feature roadmap, while they have opened the option of doing a kind of “crowdfunding” to develop some features (https://www.zabbix.com/development_services), among them we will find the Zabbix agent for Android:
Unnoficial Zabbix Agent
If we do not want to wait until they reach those 18.000€, here in Muutech we have been testing an alternative that works relatively well, the Unofficial Zabbix Agent:
We can download and install the app freely from the Google Play Store:
In order to make it work correctly and avoid the system to force it to sleep we must disable the battery optimization (from the general settings of Android) to this concrete app.
Configuration of the agent is really simple:
To enable the agent, we should press “ON” in “Service Online”. For each configuration change we should turn the service off and on.
In “Setting”, we should check “Start at boot” to make the agent start as a service (in our experience a device full restart is needed at this point). The other settings go this way:
Port: agent port (we can leave it at its default)
Comma separated list of authorized server: IP address of our Zabbix server.
Enable active checks: the active mode would allow us to gather data when the device is behind some firewall or in Dynamic IP addresses network, but after our test active mode it is not working well when Android sleeps.
Server host/ip: here we will write the IP address of the server Zabbix for the active items.
Server port: Zabbix port of the server for active items.
Agent hostname: the name of the host, that must be the one configured in Zabbix for the active items.
In the last version there is a new option to introduce “UserParameters”, a Zabbix agent native option that allow to use custom script to monitor the device.
We have shared in our GitHub some templates to import in the Zabbix server that use all the supported item at this moment by the agent (in non-rooted devices):
GPS position (not only Google will control our movements…)
Level and state of battery
Network traffic on all interfaces
Inventory parameters: Android version, total RAM
We will be checking how this “unofficial” agent evolve, trusting that the problem with active items will be solved and that it will include the use of certificates and shared keys to secure communications between Zabbix server and agent, so we can use it outside our private network or VPN (working in passive mode force the agent to be reachable by the server).
But, in general, we should say that this agent is a very good solutions to monitor the performance of our Android device in our office or factory.
If you have any comments or doubts, please contact us.