Notification Dependencies

Oh no! A power supply failure has taken your website server offline and here comes 120 HTTP ‘down’ notifications from NodePing. When a major outage hits, the last thing you need is an alert flood for all the checks you already know are bound to fail.

When a check depends on other services or networks, you don’t need more notifications that it’s failing when you already know the service that it depends on is failing. NodePing recently released a new feature called ‘Notification Dependency’ to help mitigate that unhelpful alert flood.

Set a ‘Notification Dependency’ on your checks when you want to suppress notifications for checks that depend on another check for availability. Web sites on the same web server can all be set to have their HTTP checks dependent on the server PING check. Or, you can set server PING checks to be dependent on the network router PORT check. If the dependent check is failing, no notifications will be sent for the check. The checks will still fail, only alerts won’t be sent for those failures.

Choose your dependent check from the ‘Dependency’ dropdown in the ‘Notifications’ section of the check edit modal and then ‘Save’ your changes for that check.

Notification dependencies are another way to help you receive only actionable alerts for your uptime monitoring and are available to all NodePing customers.

If you aren’t using NodePing server monitoring yet, sign up for your free, 15-day trial today.

Delayed Notifications

NodePing now offers delayed notifications for your uptime monitoring. This is a powerful new feature that will help make your notifications actionable. There are two primary use cases for delayed notifications: flapping services and escalating notifications.

Flapping Services
Not all services or networks are rock solid. Sometimes three or even two nines is “good enough”. Some locations have inherently lower expectations for availability or are just prone to frequent, short-lived outages. When a check often fails but recovers by itself quickly (flaps), it’s difficult to get actionable notifications.

Adjusting the check sensitivity setting down is useful to give your check more time to recover but if unassisted recovery takes longer than a minute the check will still likely fail. Use delayed notifications for flapping checks to receive alerts only when services are ‘really’ down. You can configure NodePing to send a alerts if your check remains down after say 5 minutes. Set the delay (from 1 minute to 1 hour) to your tolerance and receive only alerts when human intervention is required.

Escalating Notifications
Not everyone needs to know about every outage right away. If the sysadmin on call can get the site back up within a few minutes, there’s no action required by senior staff or for the help desk to be informed. If an outage lasts longer, however, you may need to let your boss know things are still offline or give a heads up to the help desk that there are issues on the website and to expect some calls. Use delayed notifications to set escalating alerts to others if an outage continues.

You can even escalate alerts to yourself. I have several checks set to email me immediately and then send me an SMS if they’re still failing after 5 minutes and a voice call if the outage lasts longer than 10 minutes.

Setting Notification Delays
When editing a check, you’ll see the contact method drop down in the ‘Notifications’ section of each check. Choose a contact method and the ‘Delay’ and ‘Schedule’ dropdowns will also appear. You can set different delays on the same contact method by adding additional lines with the same contact method.

Actionable Alerts
Delayed notifications can be useful to make all your alerts more actionable. If your contacts are ignoring NodePing notifications, they’ll succumb to alert fatigue and eventually ignore a truly important notification.

If you need any help tuning your checks to avoid flapping or adjusting your notifications to make them more actionable, please reach out to us at support@nodeping.com. We really are happy to help.

If you aren’t using NodePing for uptime monitoring yet, please sign up for our 15-day, free trial and let us help you increase your uptime.

Site update and feature releases Oct 2016

We’ve rolled out some UI and feature updates for NodePing today. We hope you find them helpful. I’ll summarize the changes here. Look here for future posts, which will go into more details for each.

Delayed Notifications:
You can now set a delay on ‘down’ alerts. This will help make your notifications more actionable for frequently flapping services. This new feature can also be used to escalate alerts or notify support/management if services remain offline. This feature has been available for a while in our API, but hasn’t been in our documentation, and has now been added to our UI as well. See the ‘Delay’ drop down in the Notification section of your check.

Check Cloning:
You can now clone an existing check, with all its settings, in our UI to create a new check. This will help reduce “clickty-clickty” syndrome when setting up a lot of checks with similar settings. Click on the label of the check you want to clone to display the details to reveal the ‘Clone Check’ link on the far right.

Notification Dependencies:
When an edge router or server fails, it’s assumed that all the services that depend on them will also fail. It’s not helpful to receive hundreds of alerts for dependent services. You can now set another check as a notification dependency on each check. If the dependent check is already failing, notifications will be suppressed. Use this to avoid alert floods when bottleneck services fail. You can find the ‘Dependency’ drop down in the Notification section of each check.

Disable All Notifications:
There is now a link in the Contacts tab to “Disable notifications”. Use this to suppress all alerts until you re-enable them using the same link. It’s another way to help avoid the distraction of alert floods during big outages.

Disable Checks:
Now you can disable multiple checks with one click. You’ll find the “Disable All Checks” link in the Account Settings – General Settings tab. You can also apply filters based on label, target, or check type to, for example, disable all PING checks or all checks pointing to “example.com”. Use this to disable checks during planned outages/maintenance or to quiet down your logs when troubleshooting.

All the above new features, except check cloning, are also available via our API. If you have any questions about these new features, reach out to support@nodeping.com; we’re happy to help.

Slack notifications

By popular request, we’ve rolled out support for notifications via Slack.

Setting up your NodePing account to send notifications to Slack is easy.  Just set up an incoming webhook in your Slack account and put the webhook URL into your ‘Slack’ notification contact in NodePing.  Then you can assign that contact to your checks to receive ‘down’ and ‘up’ messages on your configured Slack channel.

Notifications through Slack are available on ‘Business’ and ‘Provider’ plans.

Let us know what notification types or features you’d like to see next.

NodePing mobile push notifications to wake you up!

We’re pleased to announce another new notification type for NodePing server monitoring. You can now receive persistent push notifications through Pushover on your iOS or Android device.

Once configured, each ‘down’ event for your check will push an ’emergency’ notification to your device and automatically re-alert every 30 seconds until it is acknowledged, up to 5 minutes.  Try sleeping through that!

Pushover notifications are faster and more reliable than SMS and are currently the only NodePing notification type that will persistently re-alert you when a check fails. Please consider switching your SMS alerts to Pushover alerts. It will also help us keep NodePing prices down as Pushover alerts are significantly cheaper than international SMS.

Once installed, simply add your Pushover ‘user key’ as a ‘Pushover’ notification type in your contact record and select that key when creating or editing a NodePing check.

For those who may be interested in viewing your check status in a native iOS app, one of our customers has created HostCheck using our API.

Let us know in the comments what NodePing feature you’ve been itching to see.

How to integrate PagerDuty into NodePing

Many of our customers are also big PagerDuty fans. What’s not to like! PagerDuty offers great escalation and on-call hand-off capabilities as well as flexible voice, sms, and even pajama alerts.

To make it easier for you to integrate your already existing PagerDuty workflow, we’ve added a new contact notification type to NodePing. The ‘PagerDuty’ type accepts a ‘Service API Key’. You can find information on how to set up a PagerDuty generic API service at their support site.

Our system will send a ‘trigger’ event on each failure and a ‘resolve’ event on each recovery. Add an entry in your contact record by specifying your PagerDuty ‘Service API Key’ (they kind of look like a big random string “47b3a13848514c3fa3def842464eeaa8”) and selecting ‘PagerDuty’ in the notification type drop down. Then specify that contact when you edit or create your NodePing checks.

pagerduty

You can specify as many different PagerDuty contacts as you like. This allows you to use multiple ‘Services’ with NodePing and have full control of your PagerDuty escalations and notifications.

We strive to bring you the best solutions for your monitoring needs. We’ve set our eyes on Android and iOS push notifications next so follow this blog for that notification. We’d also love to hear from you. What notification types or other features would you like to see in NodePing?

If you’re not a NodePing customer yet, you can sign up for a free 15-day trial and kick the tires for yourself. We’re confident you’ll like what you find.

Webhook Notifications

We’re glad to announce the addition of a webhook notification type to NodePing.

Webhooks allow you to configure our service to hit a URL when a server goes down and when it comes back up. You can configure webhooks to automate actions when a service fails or comes back online. Common uses include changing DNS settings when a server goes offline and restarting a database when it fails.

Webhooks are available as a notification type for contacts. Create a new webhook by adding a line to the contact with the full URL as the ‘address’ and select ‘webhook’ as the type. You can then add the webhook to the notification section of any of your checks.

The webhook sends an HTTP GET request to the URL you specify. You can add basic authentication and a query string in the URL. Additional information about the check, the result, and the event (up,down,first) will be injected into the query string as well. For a full list of the fields passed to webhooks, see our documentation.

Webhook notifications are now available on all Provider plans. If you’d like to use webhooks but are currently on a different plan, you can upgrade in the billing tab of our control panel. If you don’t have a NodePing account yet, please sign up for a free 15-day trial of our Provider plan at NodePing.com.