Feature Spotlight: Advanced Notifications

There’s a lot that sets Panopta apart. From our promise to eliminate false notifications to our ability to scale with your business, there are many features that push Panopta ahead of our competitors. One of the features that we’re especially proud of is our robust notification system. It’s one of the cornerstones of the Panopta experience and we want to use this article to take a deep dive into advanced notifications. Whether you’re evaluating Panopta or currently using it, this should help you learn how to get the most out of the advanced notification capabilities.

There are three main aspects of Panopta’s advanced notifications: alert types, integrations and advanced features.

The first aspect of the notifications system is the plethora of alert types at your fingertips. Currently we support e-mail, SMS, Twitter direct messages, phone calls, mobile push notifications (with the Panopta app on iOS or Android), webhooks and instant messenger services from Google Hangouts to AIM. What’s the best part of this list? It’s always getting bigger. We believe that you should be able to be notified in whatever way works best for you so that you can tackle a problem quickly and get back to uptime. That bring us to the next important aspect of our notification system …

Integrations! The best modern software tools are ones that communicate seamlessly with other industry-leading tools and support teams working with solutions from Slack and Hipchat to PagerDuty and VictorOps. Our approach to integrations is to make your experience as seamless as possible and if that means you want to have downtime notifications get blasted to the #Houstonwehaveaproblem channel on your Slack team or integrated right into a StatusCast page, then we can make it happen right out of the box.

Powerful integrations and a smorgasbord of notification types are both awesome, but we wanted to take the Panopta experience to the next level and provide an unprecedented level of customization. Using our advanced features, the possibilities are limitless. Let’s do an example:

Martin, Alyssa and Ahmed work as part of a DevOps team where Alyssa supervises Martin and Ahmed. They want the best for their customers and decide to implement Panopta as their monitoring system. They use Slack to stay on the same page with their dev sprints. The team is rolling out a new project and they’re using Panopta to keep track of uptime and performance because their new web app just went live. At 15:35 CST, the team gets a notification about a resource spike on their #fixnow channel. Alyssa assigns Ahmed to the fix and they all head home for the night.

The next morning at 1:45 CST, a server goes down that has a direct impact on their app’s performance. After double-checking the outage from global monitoring nodes, Panopta notifies Martin and Ahmed. Martin likes getting texts so his alert comes through SMS and Ahmed is a Twitter junkie so he gets a DM. Unfortunately, Martin forgot to plug his phone in and it ran out of battery and Ahmed’s wife put his phone on silent because his ringtone kept going off. Normally, this would be a disaster. The server resources could stay taxed and then shut down until the next morning and the team would scramble to figure out what happened and how to get up and running quickly while dealing with angry members of the sales team who are handling customer complaints.

Lucky for Alyssa, she put a contingency plan in place. With Panopta she could set up an escalation plan that notified her in progressively aggressive ways since her team didn’t take care of the problem. Alyssa got a simple e-mail when the problem happened and because it wasn’t addressed, she received an SMS 15 minutes later. That didn’t wake her up but she had a phone call scheduled for whenever a problem wasn’t solved within 25 minutes. At 2:10 CST, Alyssa woke up to the phone call, solved the problem and went back to bed. She had a sit-down with Martin and Ahmed in the morning.

This made-up scenario gives a peek into the power of Panopta and its advanced features for notifications like escalation alerts. The possibilities are endless and they put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing uptime and monitoring. In a few weeks we’ll explore on-call schedules and more powerful team features.

Robert B.