Creating alerts from NAM reports

Applies to NAM 2019

You can create an alert almost completely automatically by starting with a NAM report and drilling down to the alert wizard with most of the necessary fields already filled in for you. Then you just need to verify the alert definition, customize the automatic text, and use it. If you create your own reports, you can easily add your own Create alert drilldowns to them.

Requirements

  • NAM 2019 or later

  • Report section type must be Table, Metric Tiles, or Dimension Tiles

    You can add a Create alert link from another section type, but this feature was designed for section types Table, Metric Tiles, and Dimension Tiles. If you add a Create alert link to another section type, we cannot guarantee all the necessary conditions will be propagated to your alert.

  • There must be a threshold setting in the report that we can convert to an alert trigger.

Use cases

Use Create alert drilldowns to quickly define an alert from a report.

Case 1: watching a current problem

You open a NAM report and see a red tile indicating a problem you want to watch. You want to know if it ever happens again, but you don't have the time to keep an eye on the problem and you don't want to spend a lot of time defining an alert for the problem.

Case 2: building a fire alarm

You want to watch something that matters a great deal to your operations. For this example, let's say that's Citrix performance. You have no trouble with Citrix performance now, all indicators are green, but you want to know immediately if Citrix performance ever does drop below a certain threshold.

Example 1: from Citrix dashboard to Citrix alert

In this example, we create a Citrix performance alert starting from a click in the Citrix dashboard.

  1. On the NAM Server, open Reports > Applications > Citrix.
    The Citrix dashboard displays charts for availability, application performance, and bandwidth usage, followed by a section of status tiles.
    In our example, we see that the Application performance tile is yellow, indicating a possible performance problem that we want to watch.

  2. Click the Application performance tile to see a menu of related links, including Create alert.
    NAM: Create alert example: sample out-of-the-box link

  3. Select Create alert from the Application performance tile menu.
    The Alert wizard opens in the NAM Console with the following Basic settings tab settings already entered for you. This information is filled in automatically based on the report (in this example, Citrix dashboard) and any relevant filter settings on that report at the time you selected Create alert:

    • Alert type - Real user performance (probe) - because we have clicked a performance tile (Application performance). Each alert has an alert type that includes relevant dimensions and metrics.
    • Alert name - a name based on the context (you probably want to edit this)
    • Alert description - a description based on the context (you probably want to edit this, too)

    If you get a system message at this point, review the message to see if you need to make any relevant edits, but in most cases, this should be only informational.

  4. Click Next to display the Triggering and propagation tab with the following settings entered for you:

    • Dimension Analyzer group is selected and set to Citrix because we started from a Citrix context
    • Metric Application performance [%] is selected and a filter is set for <=80.0, because that was the threshold defined on the metric for that tile in the calling report: the Application performance tile on the Citrix dashboard is red when Application performance [%] is <=80.0.
  5. Click Next to display the Notifications tab. The generated notification message includes a drilldown link to the report you used to define the alert. You can edit the message as needed. Click in the edit box and press Ctrl+Space to open a list of relevant dimensions and metrics you can select when writing your alert notification message.

  6. Click Next to display the Summary tab, where you can review the alert you have just defined.

    Feel free to go back (click Previous) and change the alert definition to better suit your purposes. The generic title and description, for example, may not be consistent with your alert names and descriptions. We offer them only to get you started.

  7. If everything looks good to you, click Finish to add your alert to the list of report definitions, and then click Publish configuration to publish the alert.

In its simplest form, this is all we did:

  1. Open a report.
  2. Click a tile.
  3. Select Create alert.
  4. Page through the alert wizard to make sure it does what we want it to do.
  5. Save and publish it.

Example 2: adding filters

In this example, we step through the same process as in example 1, but we add a couple of filters and see how they affect the alert definition.

  1. On the NAM Server, open Reports > Applications > Citrix dashboard.
    The Citrix dashboard displays charts for availability, application performance, and bandwidth usage, followed by a section of status tiles.
  2. In the Citrix enabled applications section, click an application tile and click Select this application on the tile pop-up.
    This adds an Application = [application name] filter to the Citrix dashboard.
  3. In the Citrix software services... section, click a software service and click Select this software service on the tile pop-up.
    This adds a Software service = [software service name] filter to the Citrix dashboard.

Now do as we did in the previous example:

  1. Click the Application performance and select Create alert from the Application performance tile menu.
    The Alert wizard opens in the NAM Console.

  2. Note how the Basic settings tab is prefilled based on the context.

  3. Click Next to display the Triggering and propagation tab.

    This is where things are different.

    • Dimension:
      • Analyzer group and Analyzer are selected and set to Citrix, because that hasn't changed, but...
      • Application is now selected and set based on the Application filter, and...
      • Software service is now selected and set based on the Software service filter.

You can click through the rest of the wizard to create another alert, this time with additional constraints derived from the filters you applied to your report before you selected Create alert.

Example 3: from table to alert

In this example, instead of a tile, we start from a table.

  1. On the NAM Server, open Reports > Explore > Users.
    The User explorer displays a User details table that includes an Availability (total) column with a status indicator (green, yellow, red).
  2. Click a value in the Availability (total) column and select Create alert from the pop-up.
    The Alert wizard opens in the NAM Console with basic information filled in for you. In this case, you would create an alert that would be triggered when availability for the selected user falls below a certain threshold.

Some out-of-the-box examples to try

Out of the box, Create alert links are already available from various NAM Explorer and NAM Dashboard reports. Here is a list to get you started:

  • Web dashboard, metric tiles
  • SAP dashboard, metric tiles
  • Database dashboard, metric tiles
  • Citrix dashboard, metric tiles
  • Network explorer, Performance details table, Availability and Health columns
  • Operation explorer, Overview tab, Performance details table, Application performance and Availability columns
  • User explorer, Availability (total) column

Adding Create alert links to your custom reports is simple.

Let's make a very simple example report with one table.

  1. On the NAM Server, select DMI > New report.
  2. On the Data tab:
    • Set Section type to Table (default value)
    • In Dimensions, select Software service
    • In Metrics, select Application performance
  3. On the Result display tab:
    • Set Color rendering for Application performance to Custom
    • Set Thresholds for Application performance. In this example, we will make it red when Application performance is below 85 percent and yellow when it is below 95 percent.
      NAM: Create alert example: dimensions and metrics
  4. Click Display report to see a simple table showing green, yellow, and red icons depending on the level of application performance for the listed software services.
  5. If you click a value in the Application performance column, nothing happens because we haven't defined a drilldown yet.
  6. Save the report. In this example, we saved the report as My simple report example.

Now let's add a Create alert drilldown from our report.

  1. Select Edit section for the report section you just created.

  2. On the Drilldown links tab, let's add a drilldown link from the Application performance column:

    • Select Application performance and click Add new link to add a drilldown link from the Application performance column.
    • In Target, type and select Create alert. This is where you would normally enter a report name that you want to drill down to. Instead, we are drilling down to the alert wizard using the special Create alert target value.
      NAM: Create alert example: Setting Target to Create alert
    • In Name, enter any string you want to display for your drilldown link. This is freeform; in our example, we use Make an alert just to make clear that Name (the displayed link text) doesn't have to be the same as the Target value.

    NAM: Create alert example: List of links

  3. Click Display report to see what looks like the same table we displayed earlier. But now when you click a value in the Application performance column, you get a pop-up with our example Make an alert drilldown displayed.
    NAM: Create alert example: example drilldown link

  4. To verify that you have added a working Create alert link to your report, click Make an alert.
    This opens the Alert wizard with values filled in based on our example report.

    • The Basic settings tab has Alert type automatically set, and the alert name and description are generated based on the name under which we saved our report (which was My simple report example).

      If you get a system message at this point, review the message to see if you need to make any relevant edits, but in most cases this should be only informational.

    • The Triggering and propagation tab shows two important things:

      • Dimension is set to Software service with a filter for the specific application whose performance value we clicked to display the drilldown. It was Appsdms1 in our example.
      • Metric is set to Application performance % (from the metric we clicked) with a filter set for <=85.0 because that was the red threshold we configured on the Result display tab for Application performance. You can of course edit this value as needed, but the default is the .
        NAM: Create alert example: Triggering and propagation

If you Next through to the end of the wizard and click Finish, your alert is displayed in Alert list. With minimal effort, you have created an alert that will be triggered when a certain application performance threshold is crossed for a certain software service.

Note that we used a table in this example, but you could also add a Create alert link from a Metric Tiles or Dimension Tiles section and get similar results.

Create alert does all the basic work for you, but in practice you might want to edit some of the automatically generated information:

  • On the Basic settings tab, edit the alert name and description to make them consistent with your other alerts.
  • On the Triggering and propagation tab, you might want to add or remove dimensions, metrics, or filters to fine-tune the results. Just make sure you keep what you need to determine the conditions that trigger your alert or that you want to include in the notification message.
  • On the Notifications tab, you can edit the alert message to include more problem information, and you probably want to add recipients so your alert goes out to the right people.

Troubleshooting

General rules to remember:

  • The alert system necessarily uses a subset of the great number of metrics and dimensions available in DMI.
  • If you use Create alert from a report that uses metrics or dimensions unavailable in the alert system, you may see a warning that you need to edit your alert manually. When this occurs, examine your alert to see whether it does what you wanted it to do. You may need to adjust your alert definition using the metrics and dimensions available in the alert wizard.