#WorstPractice – “see alert context” phrase in SCOM alert’s description

“See ‘alert context’ tab for more details”. I hate this string. I recall those days when I looked at the SCOM console full of alerts and almost each one had that inside. I didn’t understand why I should open an extra window for every single alert and click the “alert context” tab just to get the number. I didn’t understand why those guys, who implement the SCOM Management Pack cannot offer all necessary information in the alert message itself.

 see scom alert context tab for more details

scom alert context details

Of course, today many guys do automation, their SCOM environments are well-tuned, some even have pretty good alert/incident ratio. So those guys may not care about the alert message, they have  their immunity already :).

However, I bet, there is a good number of those who just started their monitoring journey, so for their sake I ask: please, please, please wherever possible add every valuable string into SCOM alert’s message and don’t forget to make that message easy to read. Pull pieces from the context into alert parameters and inject into the message. That will not take much development time, QA efforts are also not that big. At the end of the day, you’ll get many rays of gratitude from IT operations guys who will be able to do their job more effectively and much faster.

What about you? Tell your story in comments!
More worst practices.

One thought on “#WorstPractice – “see alert context” phrase in SCOM alert’s description

  1. I dare say that there was a stretch of time where it was quite hard to find the actual path to the data and it was easier to just say “see the alert context” since the information would show up there magically. (though inconvenient for the operator)

    Kevin Holman was kind enough to document a good chunk of this in a blog some time back.

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinholman/archive/2007/12/12/adding-custom-information-to-alert-descriptions-and-notifications.aspx

    He also put together a spread sheet as well which includes the SQL table, SQL view, and console View name to boot.
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/kevinholman/archive/2009/09/23/alert-notification-subscription-variables-and-linking-that-to-the-console-database-and-sdk.aspx

    Another blog on the technet site gives further insight on how to get parameters out of web URL monitors as well.

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/momteam/archive/2008/09/04/actionable-alerts-for-web-applications-in-operations-manager-2007.aspx

    Once armed with this information, making meaningful alert descriptions is lot easier. It’s time for any old habits of referring to the Alert context to rest in peace. Perhaps even going back and cleaning some up.

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