Thursday, December 22, 2016

Alerting in MAX Backup

Using MAX Backup one of the areas I feel isn’t widely used as it could be is the alerting options.  Having to manually check for the status of backups and managing devices on mass can often be time consuming so what I am hoping to achieve today is

  • Using alerting to pro-actively notify you and your customer of any problematic backup
  • Using custom views to help build your personalised default view in the dashboard
  • Set up the dashboard to search for devices with specific criteria (e.g. no backups in X days, tracking size of data sets, Localspeedvault sync status).  There is so much information you can target
  • Use the Cloud Management Console like a live wall chart only showing devices with specific problems

So let’s scratch the surface and see what we can do with alerting in MAX Backup


Email alerting is relatively easy to set up in MAX Backup and on top of that you have the option of customising the content of these emails and including your own branding. 

We’ll first look at how to customise the content of the email through the following steps

-          In the CMC click Manage and choose Manage Notification Templates
-          Scroll down the list and choose to edit Realtime backup alert (failed). 

You will then see the HTML code which allows you to change anything from the textual structure of the email, colour schemes as well as adding in your company logo.  Wildcards also apply to this so you can use the following to populate your email

<%date%> - puts in date
<%partner%> - enters the specific partner name
<%device%> - enters the specific device name

What I would recommend doing is looking at the HTML templates we already have in place to get an idea of the type of info you can pre-populate the alert email.  Below you will find a copy of the default email along with a copy that I have modified using HTML

Default Template:

Modified Template:


When looking at the devices view in the CMC you will see a series of columns with data.  Right clicking over any these column headers will allow you to either add or remove any of these columns.
If you look from Totals all the down to Restore Statistics you will see there over 100 different columns you can add or remove 

From a personal point of view they key data I want to track is   

Partner Name   
Device Name    
Active Data Sources       
Total Selected Size
Total Status
Computer Name
Name and Version of Operating System
LocalSpeedVault Status
Standby Image Status

This gives me a view that I would like to use as my default so I need to save these change for future use.  From here you would click on the View menu and choose Save view as... to bring up the save options (below)

If that is the last view you were in when closing the cloud management console it will be the first view that appears when you log back in. 

There are no limits to the number of customised views you can create so feel free to add in other views that could target specific views.  You can then access these at any time by clicking on the View menu and choosing Load View…

Note 1:  You can even use custom columns to track any type of data
Note 2:  You can drag and drop columns to rearrange their order


The next section we will be looking at is highlighting devices based on certain criteria in the dashboard.  Now this session does start to get a little more complicated as you will be entering the world of expressions. 

To give you an idea of coloured highlighting let’s look at a couple of examples that could be useful in real life situations

         - Devices where the LocalSpeedVault is not in sync

        - Failed Backup Jobs.  You can have multiple conditions so here I have failed backups in red and completed with errors in amber

-         -  Devices where there has been no successful backup in over 7 days

I    If you want to add colour coding click on the 'Actions' and choose 'Preferences'.  In here click on the 'Display style' option in the left hand side menu and then select your custom view from the drop down menu at the top.   Use the 'Add Style' button to add in one of your expressions and choose how you would like it highlighted (colours, bold, underline etc)

      When you select your view from the main admin console you should now see the highlighting taking effect.

So to get you started here are some example expressions which look at time stamps and job status

Devices where Selected size is over 30GB:

T3 >= 32212254720

Notes: Size needs to be entered in bytes

LocalSpeedVault Sync problems:

YV == -1

Failed Backup Jobs:

T0 in (session.failed)

Failed backups between 1 and 2 days old:

TS > 1.days() && T0 in (session.failed)

Jobs that have had problems within last 48 hours:

TL > 48.hours().ago() && T0 in (session.failed, Session.CompletedWithErrors)

Note:  The ago() function reverses the operator.  So whilst this says when TL is 'greater' than 48 hours the .ago() function seems to results in this meaning when TL is 'less' than 48 hours ago.

Jobs that have 'not started' status and older than 2 days:

T0 in (session.notstarted) && TL < 48.hours().ago()

Non completed jobs that are older than 2 days old:

T0 in (session.failed, session.notstarted, session.completedwitherrors) && TL < 48.hours().ago()

show completed jobs that are 0-1 days old:

T0 in (session.completed, session.unknown) && (TL > && TL <

Jobs that are less than a day old and meet the following criteria for ‘total last successful backup’ - Failed, Not Started, Completed with Errors:

(TL > && TL < && T0 in (session.failed, session.notstarted, session.completedwitherrors)

Jobs that last ran between 1-2 days ago and meet the following criteria for ‘total last successful backup’- Failed, Not Started, Completed with Errors:

(TL > && TL < && T0 in (session.failed, session.notstarted, session.completedwitherrors)

Jobs that last ran over 2 days ago and meet the following criteria for ‘total last successful backup’ - Failed, Not Started, Completed with Errors, In Process:

TL < && T0 in (session.failed, session.notstarted, session.completedwitherrors, session.completed, session.inprocess)


We discussed how we can use coloured highlighting to quickly identify devices with specific criteria but this does not filter off the other devices and in some cases this means you may need to potentially scroll through pages of devices. 

Using the advanced filter in the CMC you can remove devices that are of no importance and combining this with the auto refresh function allows you to create a wallchart showing only the devices that you are interested in.

Let’s use the example that we only want to show devices where the backup has failed.  The great news is we can use some of the knowledge gained from expressions to create this. 

So first of all create your custom view and make sure the column you want to track on is present.  As I want to track the status of the backup I want to make sure the Total Status column is showing.   The filter settings appear just above your columns (below)

We want to use the advanced filter for this scenario so I would click on the advanced filter button at the left hand side which which shows the letters fx (below)

From here you should see a new field appear where you can enter your filter.  I already know my expression so if I enter this it would look something like this

I might actually want to check additional backup status options so I could expand this to 

Now I have the resulting devices appear with the status of backup

You can even combine this with the coloured highlighting from the previous section to give a clear indication of the status of each device

Now that we have put in all our conditions we need the CMC to auto update.  This can be done by clicking on View, choosing Refresh Interval and setting your desired time

If you click on the View menu you can clean up the CMC for wall chart purposes but disabling the Partners, Toolbar and Totals sections

Now watch as this view auto refreshes alerting you to any current issues. 

Note 1: Create multiple wall chart views if you want

I hope this article has given you some insight into setting up alerting allowing you to act on any problem as soon as it occurs.  I would love to hear about anyone else’s experience with expressions so if you have any good ideas of data to alert on or search for please feel free to share in the comments below.