(For a short video about this topic, click here.)
The email application response time, or EmailART, check monitors the availability and performance of your email applications. Multiple mail servers may be monitored from within the EmailART check through the use of synthetic checks.
The following statistics are collected by the EmailART check:
- Total Response Time
- Total Send Time
- Total Receive Time
- Send Handshake Time
- Receive Handshake Time
It includes a built-in availability service check (passive) and a default threshold check to actively monitor the Total Response Time statistic. Additional threshold checks may be added to monitor other statistics.
How the EmailART Check Works
OmniCenter’s EmailART check makes use of synthetic checks to send test emails and measure the response performance of your mail application. Each synthetic check can monitor a different email application and uses two mail servers: The internal server to check (the receive server) and a (preferably) external server off of which to reflect email (the send server). The send server can be any working email account to which OmniCenter can connect using SMTP (you may wish to set up a separate email account just for this purpose). By using two servers in this way, OmniCenter is additionally able to passively verify that a network is able to connect to the internet.
Much like a WebART check, the EmailART check isn’t actually a single check itself, but rather a collection of related checks designed to monitor the performance of a single target email application. It is the second most complex of the check types (after the WebART check) and, in some ways, is actually more similar to a managed device than a type of check—in that it is a self-contained, discreet entity that gets checked for availability and is polled for multiple types of statistical data. Since the email application check is not associated with any specific host, it doesn’t appear in device-based dashboards such as the Tactical Overview. Instead, it gets its own dedicated dashboard.
Although it looks very similar to a WebART check, the email application check is configured and activated very differently. A brief explanation of these differences will be helpful in understanding the application of the email check.
Although visually similar, the underlying principals of the two checks are very different. The implementation of WebART checks assumes that multiple and varied web-based applications are being used and monitored by an organization. Thus, OmniCenter allows you to create as many WebART checks as required to monitor all of your different web-based applications. Conversely, most organizations typically tend to rely on a single email application to service the entire organization. Thus, OmniCenter allows you to create only one email application check—as more than one is virtually never necessary.
Another difference is in their use of synthetic checks. Where WebART checks utilize multiple synthetic checks to simulate a complex path of application use, the email application check rarely uses more than a single synthetic check, which forms a core part of the check’s configuration. This synthetic check is where the application and server data for connecting to the email service is configured.
Since the email application check monitors an email system by sending test emails in one direction, a second synthetic check may occasionally be added to test the service using the reverse path.
The EmailART Dashboard
EmailART Check Management
The EmailART check is in no way associated with OmniCenter’s internal email configuration, which is used for sending alert notifications.
Only users with the SuperAdmin access level may manage the EmailART check.
Create the EmailART check
Adding the EmailART check to OmniCenter is a two-step process. You must first create the check in OmniCenter, but then wait for it to become “active.” This activation process may take several minutes. Once the check is active, you may return to its configuration and continue the setup.
To get started, follow the steps below.
- Go to the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Modules > Email to navigate to the Email Application Overview page.
- Select Add Application.
- Enter a name for the EmailART check. The value you enter here is used only to identify the check in the edit screen and does not appear anywhere else in OmniCenter.
- Select Create.
- In the Synthetic Checks panel select Add Custom Email Check.
- In the Check Description field enter a name for the synthetic check. This is how the check will be identified in reports and dashboard displays.
- In the Send section:
- In the SMTP SERVER field enter the domain name of the external mail server that will be used to send the test email.
- In the DESTINATION EMAIL field enter the email address that will be tested.
- In the FROM EMAIL field enter the email address that will be used to send the test email.
- Enter the account username and password for the “from email” address above if required.
- Check SMTP AUTHENTICATION if required.
- Most external mail servers require authentication to send mail.
- In the Receive section:
- In the RECEIVE SERVER field enter the domain name of the internal mail server where the “destination email” resides. This is the email server that you want to check.
- Select the RECEIVE SERVER TYPE for that server.
- If a specific port on the receive server must be used, specify it in the RECEIVE SERVER PORT field.
- Enter the account username and password of the “destination email.”
- Check USE SSL if required by your email server.
- Select Save Synthetic Check.
After this synthetic check step has been added, its APPLICATION STATUS will show as PENDING. The check must be left to run for a short time before you are allowed to configure alarm settings or add threshold checks to monitor its collected statistics. Once the status shows as ACTIVE, you may configure its basic settings using the procedure below.
Configure availability alarm and basic threshold check settings
Once the APPLICATION STATUS of the synthetic check added using the steps above shows as ACTIVE on the EmailART check edit page (Administration > Modules > Email) you may continue to configure its basic parameters using the steps below.
- If the edit page for the EmailART check is not already open, go to the OmniCenter main menu and select Administration > Modules > Email to navigate to it.
- In the Synthetic Checks table locate the synthetic check added using the steps in the procedure above and ensure that its APPLICATION STATUS is ACTIVE.
- Select the edit icon in the synthetic check’s ACTIONS column.
- You will now configure the availability alarm settings.
- Enter a description in the DESCRIPTION field. This field is referenced in the alert notification sent when the monitored email service fails.
- In the ACTION GROUP field select the action group(s) to receive alert notifications when the check enters the CRITICAL state, and at each renotification interval.
- In the ESCALATION GROUP field select the action group(s) to receive alert notifications at each renotification interval after escalation.
- In the RENOTIFICATION INTERVAL field enter the number of minutes for OmniCenter to wait before sending another alert notification if the problem is not acknowledged by a user.
- Alert notifications are sent to the action groups in the ACTION GROUP field.
- The default value of 1440 minutes (24 hours) is recommended to minimize alert noise.
- Setting a value of 0 (zero) will disable renotifications.
- In the ESCALATION DELAY field enter the number of alert notifications after the first for OmniCenter to wait before sending alert notifications to the action groups in the ESCALATION GROUP field as well as to the groups in the ACTION GROUP field.
- The default value of 1 means that a total of 2 alerts must be sent before escalation groups start receiving them.
- In the ALARM HOURS field select a time frame. This is the time during which the method will be allowed to execute
- In the ALERT AFTER field select the number of failures the check is allowed to experience before sending an alert notification (default is 3).
- In the NOTES field enter any notes that you would like included in an alert notification about this check.
- Select Save Synthetic Check.
- Select the Thresholds tab at the top of the page.
Netreo strongly recommends that you create two dedicated email addresses (one internal and one external) used exclusively for the purpose of this check. These addresses should not be shared or used for any other purpose, as it may interfere with the performance of the check.