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Using Threshold Rules With Email Notifications

Reference Number: AA-00392 Views: 7564 Last Updated: 11-20-2018 12:35 PM 0 Rating/ Voters

Threshold rules are used in conjunction with notification rules to alert individuals to conditions defined by the user.  SiteAudit allows administrators to define threshold conditions for which they want to be informed but for which printers are incapable of reporting and these work for all printer manufacturers and models.  For example, SiteAudit administrators can define threshold rules to determine when a printer toner level has fallen below 10% or if SiteAudit has not communicated with a printer within a specified period.  Threshold rules can also be created for printers under service level agreements to ensure users are notified before a device is out of compliance with the agreement.

Generated threshold alerts are shown in the SiteAudit Incident History view.

Threshold Rules Basics

The alerts generated by printers are limited and vary depending on manufacture and printer model. SiteAudit threshold rules make up for this limitation by providing the capability to generate specific alerts for various consumable and print volume conditions that are of interest to various individuals within an organization. For instance, it is possible to detect printers that are under/over-utilized or consumables that should be reordered or replaced. In the former case, a notification can be sent to an administrator to determine if printers should be replaced or removed.  In the latter case, a notification can be sent to the person in charge of ordering supplies. 

Threshold rules used in conjunction with notifications enable alerting applications to be more effective.  There are uses in applications such as

  • -      pre-emptive service
  • -      toner replacement
  • -      cost per page control
  • -      over utilization
  • -      click penalties
  • -      output abuses

SiteAudit threshold types include 23 different counters (print, copy, fax, scan, duplex, color, etc.), 12 consumables (current level, description, serial number, etc.), and 3 Service Level Agreement criterion that can be monitored for various conditions. For a complete list of threshold types, refer to Threshold Types section at the end of this document.

How It Works

Typically, printers generate alerts that SiteAudit detects and stores and can be viewed in the Incident History View.  In the case of threshold rules, alert conditions are defined by the administrator and SiteAudit generates the incident when the conditions of the rule are detected. These are also inserted into the Incident History View.  SiteAudit can then send an email notification to the appropriate recipient(s) as defined in the Notification Configuration dialog.  It is important to note there are three distinct processes at work when using threshold rules.  There is the generation of an alert condition, the detection of an alert, and the transmission of an email notification.

Scenario

The system administrator has determined that the printer generated low toner does not report at the level when it is appropriate to replace the toner.  The reason is because some printers generate this alert when there is 20% or more toner remaining.  It is also not advisable to wait until the toner runs out because customers will not be able to print.  Therefore, it has been decided that 2% is an acceptable level to replace the toner.  This will minimize toner wastage and provide enough time to replace the cartridge before it is depleted.  To accomplish this with SiteAudit, one must create a Consumable Threshold that generates an incident when the toner level reaches the 2% level.  Then it is necessary to create a notification rule to notify when the 2% level has been reached. 

The configuration of this Threshold rule is described below and creating the notifications is described later in this document.

Creating Consumable Threshold Rules

Threshold rules work by defining the condition that results in an alert being generated by SiteAudit.  The alert description should accurately describe the alert.  For the example described in Scenario 1, an appropriate alert description is, ‘Toner level has fallen below 2%.’

       To create a threshold rule, select Thresholds Configuration… from the Setup menu.

 

 

Figure 1 Setup menu options


Creating a Consumable Threshold Rule

Click the New Threshold button to create a new consumable threshold rule and then select Consumables from the Threshold pull down menu.  

 

Figure 2 Example of a consumable threshold

       Alert Description 

Enter the alert description in the Text to Display in the Alert Description Column text box.  The description is displayed in the Description column in the Incident History view and in the alert notification sent to email recipients; therefore, the description should be precise to be most effective.  For example, the alert description for the threshold rule described in Scenario 1 might be, ‘Toner level has fallen below 2%.’ 

Keywords can be used to insert dynamic data into the alert description thereby making it more precise. The keyword, $CONSUMABLEDESCRIPTION, used in the alert description text is substituted for with actual consumable description when the alert is generated, i.e. Cyan Print Cartridge HP C9721A.

The following keywords can be used in the alert description:

-      $CONSUMABLEDESCRIPTION           The description of the consumable item

-      $CONSUMABLELEVELPERCENT        The remaining level of consumable item as % (Warning: using this keyword in a consumable threshold condition will cause a new incident to be created when the level changes)

-      $CONSUMABLECURRENTLEVEL        The remaining consumable level as pages (Warning: using this keyword in a consumable threshold condition will cause a new incident to be created when the level changes)

-      $CONSUMABLECOLOR                     The color of the consumable toner cartridge (this helps to identify the color of the toner cartridge that triggered the threshold rule)

-   $CONSUMABLETYPENATIVE             An integer representing the consumable type
 

Example use of keyword: $CONSUMABLEDESCRIPTION has dropped below 20%

In this example, the keyword is replaced with the description of the consumable such as, Black Toner or Maintenance Kit


Specifying the Rule Condition

Highlight the threshold and rule and use the And / Or plus other options to create the exact set of conditions needed for the threshold rule.  
See Figure 3 to see the condition created to detect when a consumable item level is less than or equal to 2%.

 

 

Figure 3 Example of a consumable threshold rule


Minimum Time Before Recurrence

SiteAudit periodically checks a threshold rule condition based on internal monitor settings. The first time a threshold condition is evaluated to true, an incident is entered into the Incident History View and an email notification is sent to recipients if configured to do so.  The threshold is then evaluated every period specified in the Minimum Time Before Recurrence (minutes).  If this period is exceeded and the threshold conditions still evaluate to true, then the original alert is marked as Resolved in the Incident History view and a new incident is created – and a new notification will be delivered to recipients if configured to do so.  This process repeats until the threshold condition is no longer true, in which case the incident is marked as Resolved.  There should never exist a case where more than one of the same threshold incidents are Unresolved for a device, which is to say there should never be duplicate threshold alerts.  

The default period for Minimum Time Before Recurrence (minutes) is 120 minutes in version 6.3 and prior and 525,600 in version 6.4 and later. The minimum period can be set as low as 60 minutes.  It is recommended that the Minimum Time Before Recurrence remain at a very large value to prevent creating more than one incident. The idea is that this value should be larger than the amount of time it takes to resolve the issue.

Check the Active box to enable the threshold. If this box is not checked, SiteAudit will ignore the rule. 

Note:  For information about creating email alert notifications, refer to section ‘Creating a Notification’


Consumables Details

Consumable data is displayed in the Details tab for a selected printer.  To display the details, select a printer in a view and choose Printer Details… from the View menu.  The details can also be invoked by right-clicking any printer in a SiteAudit view and selecting Details…  Consumable information for all printers is available on the Consumables View.

 

 

Figure 5 Invoking printer details

The consumable information is shown on the Consumables tab in Figure 6. Check to make sure the data needed for the condition is available.  SiteAudit depends on the printer to make this data available.  For example, not all printers support toner coverage, serial number, or installed date for all consumables as shown in Figure 6.

 

Figure 6 Consumable details. Some column data is not supported by the device.


Creating a Lifetime Counter Threshold Rule

This section describes the creation of a lifetime counter threshold rule, which is similar to creating a consumable threshold rule.  Please read the section, “Creating a Consumable Threshold Rule,” before continuing. 

To create a lifetime counter threshold rule, open the Thresholds Configuration dialog from the Setup menu.  Click the New Threshold button and select Lifetime counters from the Threshold pull down menu.  See Figure 1.  Add an alert description for the rule.  Remember to be precise with the Alert Description. 

Specify the condition for the rule.   Lifetime Counter conditions include the following choices:

 

Use the And / Or plus other options available with conditions to create the exact set of conditions needed for the threshold rule.

Select the frequency at which SiteAudit checks the condition of the rule: ‘Minimum Time Before Reoccurrence (minutes)’.  The default is 120 minutes in version 6.3 and prior and 525,600 minutes in version 6.4 and later.

Check the Active box to enable the threshold.

Note:  For information about creating email alert notifications, refer to section ‘Creating a Notification’


Creating a Printer Accessibility Threshold Rule

This section describes the creation of a printer accessibility threshold rule, which is similar to creating a consumable threshold rule.  Please read the section, “Creating a Consumable Threshold Rule,” before continuing. 

To create a printer accessibility threshold rule, open the Thresholds Configuration dialog from the Setup menu.  Click the New Threshold button and select Printer accessibility from the Threshold pull down menu.  See Figure 1.  Add an alert description for the rule.  Remember to be precise with the Alert Description.

Specify the condition for the rule.   Lifetime Counter conditions include the following choices:

 

Use the And / Or plus other options available with conditions to create the exact set of conditions needed for the threshold rule.

Select the frequency at which SiteAudit checks the condition of the rule: ‘Minimum Time Before Reoccurrence (minutes)’.  The default is 120 minutes in version 6.3 and prior and 525,600 in version 6.4 and later.

Check the Active box to enable the threshold.

Note:  For information about creating email alert notifications, refer to section ‘Creating a Notification’


Scenario 2

For examples using Service Level Agreement thresholds, please reference the SiteAudit Service Level Agreement (SLA) Tracking document.

 

Creating a Service Level Agreement Threshold Rule

This section describes the creation of a Service Level Agreement Threshold rule, which is similar to creating a consumable threshold rule.  Please read the section, “Creating a Consumable Threshold Rule,” before continuing. 

To create a Service Level Agreement threshold rule, open the Thresholds Configuration dialog from the Setup menu.  Click the New Threshold button and select Service Level Agreement from the Threshold pull down menu.  See Figure 1.  Add an alert description for the rule.  Remember to be precise with the Alert Description

Specify the condition for the rule.   Lifetime Counter conditions include the following choices:

 

Use the And / Or plus other options available with conditions to create the exact set of conditions needed for the threshold rule.

Select the frequency at which SiteAudit checks the condition of the rule: ‘Minimum Time Before Reoccurrence (minutes)’.  The default is 120 minutes in version 6.3 and prior and 525,600 in version 6.4 and later.

Check the Active box to enable the threshold.

Note:  For information about creating email alert notifications, refer to section ‘Creating a Notification’


Creating an Email Notification for a Threshold Rule

SiteAudit notification is rules-based and uses conditions to define rules.  Creating a notification for a threshold rule is similar to creating other notifications except that the AlertDescription condition must be used to identify a threshold rule.  This is clarified in the following examples. Refer to the Rules-Based Incident Notification Overview knowledgebase article

To create or edit a notification rule open the notification configuration dialog by selecting Setup à Notification Configuration…  See Figures 7 and 8.

 

 

Figure 7 Open the Notification Configuration dialog

The following steps will create the rule highlighted in Figure 8.

-      Click the New Rule button to create a new notification rule

-      Enter a name for the rule such as, ‘Dell 3100cn Toner Replacement’

-     Check the Active box to enable the notification

 

 

Figure 8 Notifications Configuration dialog


Click the Edit Rule button to open the rule configuration dialog.

 

 

Figure 9 The rule configuration dialog showing the condition for a consumable notification. This rule is activated when a toner level on a Dell 3100cn device drops below the level defined in the threshold rule. See the threshold rule in Figure 10.

 

Notification Rule - Condition:

 

The most important point to remember when creating threshold rule notifications is to use the text from the threshold rule description in the AlertDescription.  For example, the alert description text in Figure 9 is used to generate an alert for the threshold rule shown in Figure 10. 

Figure 10 The alert description text for a threshold rule is used to identify the alert and must be used when creating the alert notification. See Figure 9.

The following steps will create the rule condition shown in Figure 9.

  1. Click the  button to create a new condition.
  2. Select the AlertDescription condition and enter the text from the threshold rule’s alert description.
  3. Repeat step 1
  4. Select the Manufacturer condition and enter Dell
  5. Repeat step 1
  6. Select the Model condition and enter 3100cn

 

Other conditions to consider include: Department, Location, and IPAddress.  A complete list of conditions is shown in Figure 11. These conditions add specificity to a rule.  For example, an administrator may want to receive a notification only when the toner is low on Dell 3100cn printers located on the 3rd floor, or for any printer on a particular sub-network.

 

 

Figure 11 Various notification conditions

Email Recipient, Subject and Keywords 

One or more email recipients can be assigned to each notification rule.  Therefore, it is easy to direct alert notifications to the right person/s.  Enter email addresses, separated by a semi-colon, in the Notification recipient(s) textbox.

It is important to enter descriptive text in the Subject textbox such that the alert is easily identifiable.  Refer to the Subject in Figure 9. 

To help make email subjects more descriptive, SiteAudit provides several keywords.  Keywords are dynamically replaced with text derived from the generated alert. 

The following keywords are permitted in the subject line:

$ALERTSEVERITYLEVEL           The alert severity level

$ASSETTAG                                 The printer asset tag

$CONTACT                                  The contact person as specified in the printer

$DEPARTMENT                         The department where the printer is assigned

$IPADDRESS                               The IP address of the printer

$LOCATION                                 The printer location

$MANUFACTURER                  The printer manufacturer

$PRINTERNAME                       The printer name

$SERIALNUMBER                     The printer serial number

$ALERTDESCRIPTION              The alert description text

$PRODUCTNUMBER               The printer product number

$MODEL                                       The printer model

  

Two keywords are used in the subject line in Figure 9.  The actual printer name and its location are inserted into the email subject line.


Expedite and Notifications on Thresholds

Notification rules are evaluated approximately every 10 minutes by default.  When Expedite is enabled, the rule will be evaluated every period specified by the Expedite Interval (minutes) to determine if the rule evaluates to true.  If it does, an expedited email notification is sent to the specified recipients.

For example, suppose a notification rule has been configured for Expedite every 60 minutes.  Then, for as long as the rule is true, an email will be sent every 60 minutes until the notification rule no longer evaluates to true.

 

 

Figure 11b. Notification rule with Expedite enabled

Expedite is enabled in the ToshibafatalError rule shown in Figure 11b and the Expediting Interval is set for 1440 minutes.  As long as the condition that caused the notification evaluates to true, a new expedited email notification will be delivered every 1440 minutes.  This is true for each unresolved incident evaluated by this notification rule.

There should never be more than one of the same unresolved threshold incidents for a device.  Therefore, the Suppress notification of duplicate alerts occurring within X minutes does not apply to thresholds.


Example Email Alert Notification

 SiteAudit alert notifications are delivered as XML documents. Users can create a CSS stylesheet to display the alert information as desired.  SiteAudit ships with a simple stylesheet that produces the alert notification shown in Figure 12.

 

 

Figure 12 SiteAudit email alert notification based on a lifetime counter threshold rule


Threshold Benefits

The key benefits of threshold rules are discussed below:

Provides greater control over consumables management

-      The variety of conditions allow threshold rules to solve specific consumable problems

-      When consumables should be ordered and replaced

-      Whether page coverage exceeds its target application e.g. office printing

-      Assist with yield calculations


Greater control over printer use

-      page volume thresholds provide information about whether a printer is over or under utilized

Comprehensive

-      all manufacturers & models are eligible for threshold rules



Appendix

Threshold Types

SiteAudit provides twenty page volume and nine consumable types that can be used when creating threshold rules.  These threshold types are listed below.

Consumables Thresholds:

       Consumable Capacity                                      Total capacity of consumable item in number of pages

       Consumable Coverage Percent                      Percent coverage utilization

       Consumable Current Level                              Estimated  number  of pages of toner available

       Consumable Description                                 Description of the consumable item

       Consumable Installed On                                Date consumable was installed

       Consumable Level Percent                              Percent of consumable remaining

         Consumable Pages Remaining                      Number of pages remaining for a consumable

         Consumable Days Remaining                        Number of days remaining for a consumable

        Consumable Serial Number                           Consumable serial number

       Consumable Type                                             Consumable type

       Manufacturer                                                    Printer manufacturer

       Model                                                                  Printer model

       Printer Address                                                  Printer IP address

 

Lifetime Counter Thresholds:

       •       A4 Pages                                   Quantity of A4

              A6 Pages                                   Quantity of A6

       Bw Large Paper                       Quantity of b/w large

       Bw Pages                                  Total b/w pages

       Bw Pages Copied                     Quantity of b/w pages copied

       Bw Pages Printed                    Quantity of b/w pages printed

       Bw Small Paper                       Quantity of b/w small

       Color Large Paper                   Quantity of color large

       Color Pages                              Total color pages

       Color Pages Copied                Quantity of color pages copied

       Color Pages Printed               Quantity of color pages printed

       Color Small Paper                  Quantity of color small

       Copied Pages                          Total quantity of copied pages

       Duplex Pages                         Quantity of duplex pages

       Faxed                                       Quantity of faxed pages

       Large                                       Quantity of large pages

       Printed                                   Total quantity of printed pages

       Printer Address                     Printer IP address

       Scanned                                 Quantity of scanned pages

       Small                                       Quantity of small pages

       Total                                        Total quantity of pages

       Total Color Usage                 Total color usage

       Total Mono Usage                Total mono usage

       Total Print Queue                 Total print queue count

       Total Usage                            Total usage

       Wide Format Counter          For Sq. Meter counter

Printer Accessibility Thresholds:

Manufacturer                                                            Printer manufacturer

       Minutes Since Last Contact                               Minutes since last attempted contact with printer

       Minutes Since Last Successful Contact            Minutes since last successful contact with printer

       Model                                                                    Printer model

       Printer Address                                                    Printer IP address

 

Service Level Agreement Thresholds:

       Agreement Name                                     Name of the Service Level Agreement

       Printer Address                                         Printer IP address

       Up Time                                                       Percent of time without incidents