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Enabling SMS/Text alerts in Orion

Level 13

Orion provides numerous preconfigured alert actions, but in today’s on-the-move world, we want to get text alerts on our mobile phones.

Phone alerts and Pager alerts can be very efficient for getting the real-time updates and alerts, sent as SMS/text messages while you are on the go. Orion can easily trigger alerts using 3rd party phone alert applications such as the popular NotePager Pro and PageGate products.

You can download an evaluation version of NotePager Pro from this link. When you install NotePager Pro on the Orion server, it automatically gets added to the Dial Paging or SMS service option listed under Alert Actions in the Orion Advanced Alerts Tool.

Now, it is time to configure the settings in NotePager Pro. This video tutorial link is a great source for answering questions on setup and shows step-by-step directions on configuring NotePager with different protocols. NotePage also has a dedicated page for “SolarWinds Orion Network Performance Monitor Integration”

The following diagram shows how an alert is triggered from Orion to mobile phones or pagers via applications like NotePager Pro.

 

In the diagram above, when an Alert is triggered from Orion, it tries to establish a connection with NotePager application and forward the alert information to it. Next, NotePager goes on to establish a connection with the carrier via one of the following protocols listed below using a Modem or the Internet.

· SMTP

· SNPP

· TAP

· WCTP

The carrier looks up for the SMTP address or SNPP address or WCTP address and validates if it is in the supported list, then directs the actual message to the carrier’s core network before delivering it to phones or pagers as alerts.

Out-of-band SMS alerting is also supported by NotePager Pro, allowing the administrator to employ out-of-band alerting via a modem. Even when the ISP connection or mail server goes down, out-of-band alerts still work. SNPP, SMTP, and WCTP protocols work using two-way communication, sending alerts from Orion to a mobile device and vice versa. However, to get this working, you need to get a PollerID/SenderID(usually the email address) from the carrier, either directly or from their website. Only after entering the PollerID/SenderID will the end user be able to retrieve the alert on their mobile phone and also use the two-way feature.

Here is a list of example PollerID/SenderIDs which can be used while configuring the recipient.

  • AT&T – cellnumber@txt.att.net
  • Verizon – cellnumber@vtext.com
  • T-Mobile – cellnumber@tmomail.net
  • Sprint PCS - cellnumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com
  • Virgin Mobile – cellnumber@vmobl.com
  • US Cellular – cellnumber@email.uscc.net
  • Nextel - cellnumber@messaging.nextel.com
  • Boost - cellnumber@myboostmobile.com
  • Alltel – cellnumber@message.alltel.com

NotePager Pro runs as a desktop Win32 application requiring the administrator to be logged into the console at all times to receive alerts. Another application from NotePage called PageGate can run as a Windows service and offers a more powerful tool for communication.

Click this link to download the evaluation version of PageGate. After installing it on the Orion Server, along with the PageGate Admin and PageGate client, you should see the PageGate action in the list of Alert Actions in the Orion Advanced Alerts tool.

After successful installation, go to Start->PageGate->PageGate Admin and select Help. The help provides details on configuring every aspect of the PageGate tool. This application provides much more than will be utilized by Orion Alerts. Once the recipients and the carrier is setup on PageGate Admin tool, this alert will automatically add an action to the list on the Orion Advanced Alerts Tool. It should look something like the screenshot below.

clip_image006

7 Comments
Level 13

We use NotePage, but we don't use it to send SMS via E-Mail.  We use the ascii module and 2 connectors that we attach modems to via Serial connections to load balance alerts between ATT and VZ for SMS alerting.

We have an SMTP server that can redirect text, but it's still a failure point and when it fails you lose E-Mail and your SMS alerts.  Use this product with MultiTech modems and it functions as a true SMS gateway with out an E-Mail redirect, and still completely integrates with NPM.

Remember using SMTP to send a page to text still has to many working parts that can fail and SMTP servers in between you don't control.

We see this as a 2nd alerting system independant of our SMTP gateway for E-Mail alerts.

Level 12

We do the exact same thing.  On our view there should be nothing between the NPM/SAM server and SMS sending device, if there are any resources that could go down and stop SMS being sent (eg SAN on which the SQL Server sits) we then send a SMS (also via get-ascii) from an alternate site.

When speaking with PageGate I believe they are brining out a failover setting for 5.1 ETA on this I dont know.

Level 13

That will be great we have a DR site with PageGate set up the same way.. We also have the DB replicates for contacts between the 2 (I like only keeping one contact list updated), but alerts from the primary can't fail over to the DR site if our 2 primary SMS modems fail we have to rely on the DR site monitoring stuff back at HQ.  This will be nice to have, so I can stop cross monitoring so much stuff.

Level 12

Try contacting them about it, I was offered to try it before it was public but cant run code thats not fully tested in production.

Level 10

The big advantage for us is it allows us to page full time contractors of issues. Since our policy is to not give out company phones to them, it is difficult to get the alert to them through email during off hours.

Also it is nice to have a special end of the world ring when certain high level issues arise.

Level 9

Hi guys,

We are planning on purchasing PageGate, my question is which PageGate Interfaces should we purchase along with 100 recipient license:

Web (CGI) Interface$ 100.00
GUI Interface$ 200.00
Email Interface$ 200.00
Commandline/ASCII Interface$ 50.00
Serial Interface$ 100.00
TAP-in Interface$ 200.00
Touchtone Receiver$ 100.00
SNPP Add-On$ 200.00
TAP2ASCII Interface$ 100.00 ea.

Additional Connectors (formerly known as dialers)    $ 100.00 ea.

We have our own SMSC server btw and is reachable from our NPM server. 

Level 7

Hi guys. I thought I'd share our experience on the SMS alerts issue.

We use for SMS alerting in Solarwinds NPM a hardware sms gateway. This is a small device (Linux-driven) with HTTP API and  built-in GSM modem. We wanted to eliminate all possible failure points (like ISP-connection, SMTP server, etc.) to make sms alerts system as reliable as possible. SMS messages are sent directly from gateway to GSM network.

We have created alerts in Orion Alerts Manager that trigger Action "Get or Post a URL to a Web Server". So when alert is to be sent Orion simply makes a HTTP request to our hardware sms gateway. The gateway sends sms to GSM carrier. The configuration was quite straightforward.

As the hardware sms gateway we used Smseagle (see here: http://www.smseagle.eu/solarwinds.php), because we wanted the device that can be monitored via SNMP. But basically you can use any hardware sms gateway that has HTTP API functionality.

Hope that helps someone here

Cheers Mel