User Management in Zenoss

October 2008

User Accounts and their Properties

Working as the non-admin user has several benefits:

  • Changes to settings are tracked via user name
  • Custom alerting rules can be defined per user
  • Access can be restricted per user

Let's add a new user:

  1. Select Settings from the navigation panel.
  2. Select the Users tab.
  3. From the Users table menu, select Add New User.
  4. Enter the User Name and Email address in the Add User dialog box.
  5. Click OK to create the user account.

The new user name is added to the list of users (see following screenshot) along with columns for Email address, Pager, address, and Roles.

User Management in Zenoss

Before a new user can log in, we must specify a password. To create a password and configure the account, edit the user account by clicking on the user name from the Users table. The following table includes the fields we can set via the Edit Screen.





Specify the new password in the first text field. Retype the password in the second box and click save to verify the passwords match.


Specify a user role. Available options are Manager, ZenManager, and ZenUser.


If the user is a member of a defined group, select it. Groups are defined in Settings > Users.


Enter an email address if the user has to receive alerts via email.


Enter a pager number if the user will receive alerts via pager.

Default Page Size

Specify number of entries displayed in a grid listing. Default is 40.

Default Admin Role

Select the default role for administered objects.

Default Admin Level

This field is not currently used and is reserved for future use.

Dashboard Refresh

Enter the time in seconds that the dashboard refreshes for the user. The default is 30 seconds.

Dashboard Timeout

Enter the time in seconds before the dashboard refresh timeouts. The default is 25 seconds.

Dashboard Organizer

Select the organizer view for the Device Issues dashboard portlet. The user can change or select a new organizer via the Preferences link. Available options include:





Network Map Start Object

Specify a default network from the monitored networks to map on the Network Maps view. For example,

We use roles to define a user's level of access to the system. The following table lists the available roles from the most to the least restrictive access.


Access Privileges


View-only access to the system  includes the Dashboard, Device List, Browse By organizers, and classes.


Access includes view, update, and delete. User is able to access the Management menu items and Event Console.


Administered Objects

For each user, we can assign a list of administered objects, which includes devices, systems, groups, and locations. By matching users to administered objects, we have an easy way to identify who is responsible for the object. The following screenshot shows the Administered Objects for a user.

User Management in Zenoss

To add an object, choose the appropriate option from the Administered Objects page menu. If we add a device, the Add Device dialog box filters the list of devices as we type. If we add a system, group, or location, we choose the object from a drop-down list.

Each administered object has a default role that we can change. We specify the user's default admin role on each user's Edit tab.

If we click on the object name, Zenoss displays the Status page for the device, system, group, or location. Each object also has an Administration page that lists the users identified as administrators. For example, navigate to a device and select More > Administration from the page menu to see the list of administrators for the device.

User Management in Zenoss

From the Administrators table of the object (see the previous screenshot), we see a list of users and Roles. Click on the user name to navigate back to the user's Edit page.

Event Views

Zenoss enables us to create custom event views per user. To define a custom event view for a user:

  1. Edit the user.
  2. Select the Event Views tab.
  3. From the Event Views table menu, select Add Event View.
  4. Enter a descriptive name (e.g: Events on Coyote) in the Add Event View dialog box.
  5. Click OK to add the event view.

Each event view displays columns for type and event summary. By default, the newly created event view looks identical to the Event Console. Click on the name from the Event Views list to display and edit the view (see the following screen capture).

User Management in Zenoss

From the edit tab, we specify the following event view properties:





Select "status" to display active events and "history" to display cleared events.


Build the filtering rules for the event view. For example: "Device is Coyote."

Order by

Specify the default sort order. Sort orders are specified in pairs by field and order. Each sort order is comma separated. For example, if we specify a sort order equal to "severity desc, count asc" the event view lists all the events from the most severe to the least severe. Within each severity, the view sorts by the count field in ascending order.

Result Fields

Add and remove fields to the event view.


After we edit the view, click Save. Then click on the View tab so that the view gets displayed.

Alerting Rules

We attach alerts to users or groups of users. We'll cover groups in the next section, but for now, we'll add an alerting rule at the user level. To add an alerting rule, select the Alerting Rules tab (see the following screenshot) while editing the user name to display the list of rules assigned to the user.

User Management in Zenoss

The Alerting Rules table displays a summary of each rule including columns for Name, Delay, Repeat Time, Action, Enabled, and Send Clear. To add a new alerting rule:

  1. Select Add Alerting Rules from the Alerting Rules table menu.
  2. Enter a descriptive name in the Add Alerting Rule dialog box.
  3. Click OK to add the new rule.
  4. Click on the name in the Alerting Rules table to edit the rule properties (see the next screenshot).
  5. Configure the alert and click Save.

User Management in Zenoss

The default rule sends an email when any device in a Production State generates a new event with a Severity level equal to or greater than Error. Zenoss also sends an alert when the event clears. However, the alert is disabled by default.

Let's take a look at each of the Alerting Rule properties:



Delay (secs)

Delay sending the alert for the specified time. Default is 0.


Set to True to enable the alert. If the value is False, this rule does not send alerts.


Choose either email or pager notifications.

Address (optional)

Specify any valid email address. If left blank, the email address specified for the user is used.

Send clear messages

Select True to send alerts when the event clears. Select False to suppress clear messages.

Repeat Time (secs)

Repeat the alerting rule for the specified time. Default is 0.


Select the event filter criteria. Add and remove filters as needed.


An event filter consists of three parts: an event field, a comparison operator, and a value to compare to the event field.

We add a filter by selecting the event field from the Add Filter drop-down list. See Appendix A for a list of fields. Next, we specify a comparison operator, such as greater-than and less-than. Then we specify a value to match against the operator. The more filters we add to a rule, the more specific our alerting rule becomes.


Alert Escalations

By using the filters on an alerting rule, we can create an alert hierarchy that notifies another user when a certain condition occurs. We can create a new rule for a second user and add a filter that specifies a count value so that if the event is not acknowledged, the user is notified. For example, if our new filter specifies a count greater than five, we define a rule that does not trigger unless an event remains unacknowledged for five consecutive times.


While editing our alerting rule, we have the ability to customize the text of the alert message Zenoss sends. To view the Message, click on the Message tab.

User Management in Zenoss

We can specify the Subject and the Body for both the down alert and the clear alert. As the text at the bottom of the Message tab indicates, the "message format is a Python format string. Fields are specified as %(fieldname)s." (refer to the previous screenshot). All the event fields are listed for reference.

If we set the alerting rule to send a page, we can only specify a subject line for the down and clear alerts because of likely character restrictions on the pager.


We may set a schedule for each alerting rule so that the rule sends alerts only during the specified period. From the Edit tab of an alerting rule, click on the Schedule tab to view the Active Periods table. The Active Periods table displays a list of schedules sorted by Name with columns for Start, Duration, Repeat, and Enabled, as shown in the next screen capture.

User Management in Zenoss

To add a schedule, select Add Rule Window from the Active Periods table menu. Enter a descriptive name when prompted. Click OK to add the new schedule to the Active Periods table. Click on the name to display the active period's Status page.

User Management in Zenoss

On the Status page for the active period, we define the time of day when the alerting schedule is active (see the previous screenshot). The following table lists the available settings.




Set to True to enable the alerting rule during the specified time and duration.


Specify the start date, hour, and minute. The hours are specified in 24-hour time.


Enter the Days, Hours, and Minutes to keep the alerting rule active after it starts.


Select the interval and frequency. Available intervals are:

  • Never
  • Daily
  • Every weekday
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • First Sunday of the month

Enter a frequency to repeat the selected interval.


We may add as many active periods to an alerting rule as we need to accommodate each user's work schedule.


We've just learned how to define alerting rules on a per user basis, but if we have more than two or three users, we need a better way to handle our alerting rules. Fortunately, Zenoss provides groups, and the same alerting rule concepts that apply to users apply to groups.

We start by adding a new group to the Groups table of the Users tab in the Settings page. Next, we assign users to the group in the following way:

  1. Select the group name.
  2. Select Add Users from the Group table menu.
  3. Choose the user names (ctrl + click to select multiple) from the Add Users To Group dialog box (refer to the following screenshot).
  4. Select the Group name from the Add Users to Group dialog box.
  5. Click OK to assign the users to the group.

User Management in Zenoss

Now that we have a newly created group with users assigned, click on the group name to display the group's Edit tab. From the Edit tab, we can add and remove users from our group. On the Administered Objects tab, we identify the relationship a device, system, group, or location has to a group.

To begin adding alerting rules for the group, select the Alerting Rules tab and follow the steps outlined in the previous section for individual users.


This article described managing user accounts, and also roles and the privileges associated with them. We also discussed administered objects, custom event views, alerts and groups.


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