Smart Alerts

Smart Alerts provide you with automatically generated alerting configurations so you can receive alerts based on out-of-the-box blueprints such as website slowness, javascript errors, and HTTP status codes.

Select a blueprint you would like to be alerted for, choose an arbitrary scope, for example, by geolocation, browser, OS, etc., and the system automatically creates a tailored alert for you.

Add an Alert

  1. On the sidebar, click Websites.
  2. Click the name of your website and then click Add Alert.

Simple Mode

By default, you create an alert in the simple mode which involves three steps; select an alert, confirm your scope, and select an alert channel. Simple mode enables you to select alerts with zero configuration involved, removing the need to create queries or define thresholds.

To create an alert in advanced mode, which allows you to investigate and modify any automatically configured alert setting, click Switch to Advanced Mode.

Select an Alert

Select one of the following predefined blueprints that you want to create an alert for.

Blueprint Description
JS Errors Click Select JS Error to select an existing JavaScript error message that you want to be alerted for. Alternatively, you can choose the error message by providing a JavaScript message pattern using equal, contain, starts with, or ends with a defined string.
Slowness Select Slowness to receive alerts when the onLoad time exceeds expectations derived from historical data. The onLoad time metric exists for each page load and models the time until navigation is complete. For example, when the loading indicator of the browser has stopped. More information about onLoad time and related metrics can be found in the Website Monitoring FAQ
HTTP Status Codes Select a specific HTTP Status Code you would like to be alerted for when they occur more often than usual.
Throughput Select Unexpectedly Low Number of Page Loads or Unexpectedly High Number of Page Loads to receive alerts when the expected number of page loads of your website significantly differs compared to the available historical data. A page load is defined by the retrieval of the initial HTML document and all subsequent actions until the next navigation in the browser.

Confirm your Scope

The scope, your current open website, is automatically selected. By applying our Unbounded Analytics queries, you can further scope the alert to a specific subset of website traffic, for example, by geolocation, browser, or user.

Each query filter connects with the AND logic operator; therefore, a website beacon needs to match all the filters applied:

  • Specific pages.
  • Browser types.
  • Operating systems.
  • Countries.
  • Meta: specify additional metadata that you may use to annotate page loads. Select one of the available keys, a predefined value, and then select an operator.

Add Alert Channels

Click Select Alert Channel, and from the list of preconfigure channels, select the channels to receive the alerts. For information about creating channels, see Alert Channels.

Advanced Mode

So that you have a full understanding and control over your alerts, advanced mode enables you to inspect the configuration of each preconfigured alert and modify if need be. In addition to the selections available in simple mode, the advanced mode offers the following.

Scope

The same options are available as in simple mode. For more information, please see Confirm your scope.

Trigger

Select one of the following predefined blueprints that you want to be alerted for.

JS Errors

The same options are available as in simple mode. For more information, please see Select an alert.

In addition, you can select which metric is used for an alert evaluation; errors rate or errors count. Whichever metric you select, Instana automatically derives a threshold value based on the past 4 weeks of data, which can also be modified.

Alerts JS Errors

Slowness

The same options are available as in simple mode. For more information, please see Select an alert.

Furthermore, you can also select which percentile metric is used for alert evaluation. An alert is triggered when the percentage of website page loads, with the onLoad time below the threshold, is less than the corresponding percentile number. Depending on the amount of available historical data, Instana suggests a static or a dynamic baseline. Additionally, you can choose between a daily or weekly seasonality baseline when sufficient data is available.

The static baseline value can be directly modified. Daily or weekly seasonality can be tuned by using the sensitivity parameter, which defines how much outliers may deviate from the expected value before it's considered a violation.

Alerts Slowness

HTTP Status Codes

The same options are available as in simple mode. For more information, please see Select an alert.

Additionally, you can also select which metric is used for alert evaluation; status code count or status code rate. Whichever metric you select, Instana recommends a threshold value based on historical data that can be modified.

Alerts HTTP Status Codes

Throughput

In contrast to the use-case specific options in simple mode described in Select an alert, the advanced mode allows to define a more generic Smart Alert based on the any page view related metric.

In addition, you can select which metric is used for alert evaluation, such as Page Loads or Page Transitions. More details about the available metrics can be found in the Website Monitoring FAQ. Given the example configuration in the image below, an alert is triggered when the number of page transitions is higher than usual. Depending on the amount of available historical data, Instana suggests a static or a dynamic baseline. Additionally, you can choose between a daily or weekly seasonality baseline when sufficient data is available.

The static baseline value can be directly modified. Daily or weekly seasonality can be tuned by using the sensitivity parameter, which defines how much outliers may deviate from the expected value before it's considered a violation.

Alerts Page Transitions

Time Threshold

So that the alert is triggered, time threshold allows you to impose additional conditions on how the defined threshold on the metric should be violated.

The following typical conditions, often used in practice, are offered out-of-the-box:

  • Persistence of time: Select a time window. When the metric violates a defined threshold over the defined time window, you are alerted.
  • The number of violations over time: Select a time window and the number of violations. When the metric violates the threshold a specified amount of times during the given time window, you are alerted.
  • User impact: Specify the number or percentage of impacted users. When the number of users is impacted during the given time window, you are alerted.

Example:

The image below depicts an example configuration for a time threshold based on user impact. Using a metric evaluation granularity of 5 minutes, an alert will only be triggered when at least 10 unique users have been impacted within the last 15 minutes.

Time Threshold User Impact

Alert Channels

Click Select Alert Channel, and from the list of preconfigure channels, select the channels to receive the alerts. It is required to select at least one alert channel. For more information, see Alert Channels.

Alert Properties

Adding additional alert properties is optional; however, it provides you with the additional configuration that best suits your needs. Along with editing the current title and description of the alert, you can also define the alert level; warning or critical, and select whether the alert triggers an incident. For more information, see Alerting.

Custom Payloads

To include an additional payload that is relevant to you in alert notifications for specific alert configuration sent by Instana click on Add Row in the Custom Payloads section.

For more information, refer to: Configure Custom Payload Globally.

Both global custom payload and alert-specific custom payload will be included in alert notifications if applicable, but the alert-specific configuration has priority over the global configuration. As a result, in the case of using the same key, the value of the global custom payload field will be overridden by the alert-specific one.

Unlike global custom payload configuration, Dynamic Custom Payload is not supported in alert-specific configuration.

Baseline Prerequisites

In specific scenarios, a message similar to “Insufficient data to compute a baseline for the selected configuration” is displayed. This occurs when the threshold type is set to Baseline (Weekly Seasonality) or Baseline (Daily Seasonality), but there is not enough historic data to compute a reliable baseline.

The requirements for daily and weekly seasonality are as follows:

Daily Seasonality

  • At least 5 days of metric data, while 7 days of data are recommended.
  • Less than 3 gaps longer than 3 hours at the same time of day in the selected metric.

Weekly Seasonality

  • At least 4 weeks of metric data, while 5 weeks of data are recommended.
  • Less than 2 gap longer than 3 hours at the same time and day of the week in the selected metric.