For several of my clients I use a great monitoring tool called SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM). It does a spectacular job of monitoring my environments and letting me know when there are issues. What I like to do is set up the mail alerts to let me know everything that is going on in my customers’ environments.
Of course, there are different levels of importance to the messages. Yes, it is important for me to know when servers are using more memory than usual, but when a server is DOWN I want to know immediately. No… I need to know immediately.
So what I do is I set up a couple of e-mail rules. The first (rather, the second) rule essentially says that ‘…any e-mail from my monitoring e-mail account is filtered to a specific folder.’ This is great… I can see everything that is going on in one place.
However because I usually see my e-mail on my smartphone this rule would necessarily only let me know things are happening when I actually go into my e-mail client and navigate to the Customer SolarWinds folder. Not very efficient.
The way I get around this for critical issues (e.g.: SERVER DOWN) is simple: I created another e-mail rule in my Outlook that states ‘…if the e-mail is received from my monitoring e-mail account has the words is Down in it then a) Leave it in my Inbox and b) mark it as HIGH IMPORTANCE.
Great, it’s done, right? Wrong… Whether or not I get the warning when I create the rule, I notice that following the name of the rule the words client-only are annoyingly prominent.
In other words, as long as Outlook is running I am fine, but if I shut down my laptop the rule will not apply.
The issue is simple… there are certain rule settings that are applied in our mail server, and some that are not. For example, the ‘mark it as high importance’ is not done by Exchange but by Outlook.
If I clear that one rule setting, my rule will apply at the mail server level, and not at the client level.
This means that I will receive my notifications the way I want, whether my computer is on or not… and that is how my customers can rest assured they are getting the monitoring they need to be productive.