SCOM Trick 42 – Getting notified

Getting notified is a subject we often touch in some way or another. Of course when you look at the SCOM console and an alert appears you are notified. Or when using Savision Dashboard you can also add a sound to be played whenever something important happens. But outside of that there is a need to get notified. Those can be by sending emails and SMS messages (for standby purposes in many cases), but also for ticketing systems. Still the first two are the most used to get notified if something happens and you are not sitting behind the SCOM console for some silly reason like eating or sleeping. Towards ticketing systems these are mostly connectors or in some cases script based channels or even email channels. This is first about alerting people.
First of all the notification options in SCOM are already quite good. You have Notification channels based on Email (SMTP), Instant Message (IM), Text Message (SMS) and Command (scripts mostly). The channel is the enabler for the notifications and you can define what format is used. This bit relates to for instance what fields you will include into an email. For instance severity, source, resolution state and the alert and description. Or the parameters (these fields) you want to pass to a script.
Next you would define who would be notified and through what channel. These could be different people or distribution groups to send emails to.
Finally the subscriptions are built. These define what alerts are placed into what channel towards which person (subscriber). So for instance you might want to push all Critical alerts to the escalation team email address. Or all alerts belonging to a group of servers to a group of people. Or even alerts from one specific rule.
One trick would be to use resolution states to also help notification, especially for escalation if the first line support assigns it to somebody else, or if you auto-set th resolution state with scripts for some machines or server roles.
At some point it can happen you want more intricate notifications. For instance you want the standby person to get notified, and if he doesn’t respond to send him another email/sms and if he doesn’t respond within 15 minutes after that send sms to the manager. At that point you can use the solutions from Derdack who have great intelligent notification products.

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