Zabbix in the Munich subway

Zabbix blog shares a very inspiring post “Zabbix in the subway. Munich Transport Corporation Case Study“, which shows how Zabbix is used for the monitoring of the trains and trams in Munich. Here are some implementation details to get you started:

Currently, there are 3796 devices monitored by the Zabbix server, which in turn houses the MySQL database and the web front-end. This server is operated virtually with 8 CPU’s and 32GB RAM supported by SAS storage system. 105818 items are queried by the Zabbix server from those devices, where 23820 triggers detect whether certain items deviate from their target state. This results in 298.48 NVPS with an average of approx. 7 people (actively) using the system concurrently. General overview:
* Each device inside a tram/subway is treated as a host and is monitored for availability.
* Each tram/subway is managed as a host group.
* Host groups are nested and organized by the tram/subway lines (using the host group nesting feature introduced in Zabbix 3.2).
* All devices depend on the connectivity of the MRCU (Mobile Radio Control Unit in subways) or LTE router (LTE G4 Connectivity in trams)
* Maps are automatically created for each tram/subway (using the Zabbix API).
* Maps use sub-maps to link to a specific tram/subway view.

There’s also a video from the Zabbix conference, presenting the case study.

Magnasanti: The Largest and Most Terrifying SimCity


Here is an interesting story for all the fans of SimCity and similar games, as well as for anyone who still thinks that computer games are a useless time waste.  I’d like to see you try doing something even remotely close to this:

This story reminds me of all the time I spent playing Transport Tycoon Deluxe and OpenTTD.  The game is fun and I learned a lot about transportation.  But no matter how hard I tried, I never came close to the real pros (there are many actual professionals from the transportation industry playing the game and trying things out).  Have a look at this monster train station, for example (found in this forum thread):

Just stop and think for a moment.  How much do you really know about transportation? Trucks, buses, trains, ships, airplanes and helicopters?  Roads, maintenance, history and technology change?  Road planning, bridges, tunnels, semaphores, roundabouts, ports, loading stations, warehouse? I can go on …

These games teach you a great deal about the complex world around you.

Cyprus public transport is in trouble


It’s been only a couple of years since I blogged about Limassol joining the rest of the world with a rebirth of its public transportation system.  And now Cyprus Mail reports that it’s on the edge of being dead and over. Again.

PUBLIC transport is faced with collapse, a top MP has said, as lawmakers discussed a bill to inject an additional €21 million into the system to keep the upgrade programme going.

The House Finance Committee heard that bus companies were losing between €200,000 and €300,000 a month while banks were no longer willing to provide more breathing space.

Oh, well.  At least they tried.

Bike sharing in Nicosia


Cyprus Mail reports that bicycle sharing schema was launched in Nicosia, Cyprus:

PEOPLE in Nicosia are now able to roam the city on bicycles at 27 docking stations spread across seven municipalities as part of the much anticipated bike sharing scheme.

The scheme was unveiled yesterday at a special ceremoney in Aglandjia attended by various officials, including Communications Minister Efthymios Flourentzos, and the participating mayors.

The new system is open now but not all of the 27 stations are operational yet. It will be another ten days before the system is fully up and running on November 7.

The scheme involves 315 bikes which people can borrow from any designated station and return to any other station of their choosing. A network of bike lanes, some of which are expected to be completed by the end of the year and others by 2012, connect the city’s universities and hopefully “rejuvenate our bodies” in the word of Aglandjia mayor Andreas Petrou.

I think these are great news.  Of course, at first people will look funny at this.  But slowly slowly the culture will change and more and more people will use bicycles to move around.  We’ve seen this happening before and we’ll see it happening again.

Back a few years ago, when roadworks began to construct a walk path and bicycle lane along the seaside road, I’ve heard many people joking about Cypriots being the laziest nation in the world, the nation that never walks or cycles.  Those who were not joking, often presented a number of other reasons of why that was a useless development.  One of the most frequently used reasons was, for example, weather.  People were saying that it was too hot in Cyprus to walk or cycle.

And what are we seeing now?  Lots of people walk and cycle, people of all kinds – young and old, Cypriots, locals of other nations, and tourists.  It’s true that on a hot day there are fewer people out, but overall, I think it is obvious that the walk path and bicycle lane are useful.

There is also a generic European trend towards healthier lifestyle and smaller environmental footprint.  We shouldn’t forget that too.  In the last few years, most European countries banned smoking in public places, increased the prices of nicotine and alcohol, promoted healthy way of life, including sports and other activities, better eating, and quitting bad habits.   As a result, many European nations look better.  Fewer people smoke.  And bicycles are a widely used mean of transportation.

Cyprus, even though often far behind other European countries, still moves in the same direction.  We’ve already seen a smoking ban. We are seeing a reincarnation of the public transportation system.  And, I think, adding bicycle sharing schemes and constructing more bicycle lanes are a good way to go.