Inside SelectStar Actionable Alerts

Inside SelectStar Actionable Alerts

Alerts are the baseline of monitoring. At a minimum, your database performance monitoring platform needs to let you know when something’s amiss. But a fire alarm isn’t very useful if you don’t have enough information to take action. Good alerts, like a good alarm, go beyond telling you there’s smoke. Actionable Alerts tell you how and where to turn on the sprinklers.

Selectstar supports two types of Actionable Alerts: metric thresholds and events.

  1. Events: They’ll go off anytime a specific action–like a node failure–happens within your data layer.
  2. Metric thresholds: Signal that a critical metric has passed a best-practice or custom threshold. For example, when your CPU utilization creeps over 80%. This alert will stay active until the metric drops below the designated threshold or you raise the threshold settings.

Not every metric or event is alert-worthy. That’s why we’ve worked with DBA experts in nearly every database platform to differentiate those critical events and thresholds specific to that platform that are worth sounding the alarm. In SelectStar, those KPIs in the most critical status are flagged as “alerts” in red. Common alerts include too many deadlocks and buffer hit rate being too low, but will also include platform-specific KPIs like Cassandra gossip performance.

Other metrics to watch are designated as “warnings” in yellow. Think of this as your “safe to snooze” category. Ongoing improvements, known as “recommendations” are noted in blue. Recommendations are often related to infrastructure configurations that will help you maximize database performance and minimize configuration drift. Acting on your recommendations will save you from future warnings and alerts.

Figure 1: The Dynamic Database Dashboard prioritizes databases based on the number of alerts, warnings and recommendations.

Pro tip: app.selectstar.io/alert will give you a complete list of every alert in place on every target SelectStar monitors in your environment.

Getting the right alerts

As mentioned, SelectStar alerts include out-of-the-box recommendations based on the platform and infrastructure best practices, but that’s only a starting point. You should continue to fine tune your alerts. Consider eliminating events from testing environments or changing particular thresholds to your organizational standards. Alerts are a great way to ensure that all developers working in your data layer are following your configuration and security standards.

Figure 2: Customize your alert setting by clicking on the “Alert Details” button within the alert.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to mute alerts during planned downtime.

Getting alerts where you want them

You’ve got several options to make sure you see the most critical alerts immediately. If you’re in the platform, you can access all alerts at any time from the main navigation. If you’re within a specific database instance, the Database Activity tab gives you a history of alerts, comments, and monitoring configuration changes for that particular database.

Figure 3: Find configuration changes that trigger alerts quickly in the Database Activity Tab.

Outside the platform, SelectStar can find you wherever you are. Obviously that means going beyond just sending you an email. Our API allows you to insert our alerts into your existing workflow–whether that means notifying you on Slack, PagerDuty or opening a new support ticket.

Taking action on your alerts

Alerts are only valuable if you can do something with them. Our customers often tell us our alerts really stand out from the standard error code. SelectStar alerts take into consideration your database platform best practices and the specific infrastructure supporting that database. There’s no need to interpret the tea leaves to figure out what to do. You can even eliminate the guesswork on who is going to do it by assigning the alert to any team member.

Figure 4: Assign alerts to specific team members

But there’s way more to database performance tuning than fighting fires. And that’s where SelectStar Expert Recommendations come in. We’ll dive into those next, or you can check them out yourself by starting your free trial right now.

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