A few months ago I came up with an idea for our small business regarding alert management. We have a number of engineers and developers on our team, and each one has different clients. A developer will write up an application, stick a couple of alerts on it that get sent to himself, and then respond to those alerts on his own time.

My idea was as follows: instead of sending alerts directly to a developer, we send them to a centralized "alerts-only" email address, and have a service monitor that address' inbox and forward alerts based on configuration settings. For example, two developers could register themselves to receive all alerts for Company A, and then any alert sent to "alerts@smallbusiness.com" with the subject line "Company: Company A" would be forwarded to those two developers.

It recently struck me that there has to be a software package that handles this already. It seems easy enough to write, but a small bug could easily cripple our alerting system and nobody would know until it's too late.

We are heavily into .NET and Microsoft technologies at our company. Are there any Microsoft solutions out there that could accomplish this task? If not, is there any other good software out there? I know this is a little open-ended, but I would really like to get the community's opinion on this rather than trusting another company who's promoting their own product.

  • I think you should consider @Sameer's answer and the idea that you're trying to solve a problem that has already been solved. Email is not a great alert method, and for anybody who handles a lot of alerts from software, there are lots of systems out there to handle it better. Your target market would be limited to people who were Doing It Wrong™ already and you would just be contributing a hack to make a badly idea easier to swallow. – Caleb Apr 15 '11 at 18:54

Firstly I would like to say that after a point email alerts get a little overwhelming. Typically the way the alerts are written they run every so often and if the check fails they will generate an alert, in your case an email. This will flood your mail box.

Instead why don't you go for a monitoring solution like Nagios/Zabbix and build plugins for custom alerts. Not only do they provide the ability to send email/pages etc but they have a color coded visual representation too so that one has a birds eye view of the system/application health.

Instead of using one email address and routing the mail based on the subject why don't you use mailing lists. Create a list for each company and let them manage it. It will free you from keeping track of of user lists to send the email too.

  • I don't think the e-mails will get overwhelming. We are using emails currently and it is working just fine for us except that managing the lists can be a little cumbersome. Building plugins for custom alerts sounds much more labor intensive than throwing together an alert when an exception fires in an application. We have multiple varied applications that we build and use, and integrating them with a plugin won't always be an option. We like using email because everything supports it. I'm still upvoting this answer because I think it would be helpful if our needs were slightly different. – Jake Apr 15 '11 at 18:54
  • On second thought this sounds like the best advice. Thanks! – Jake Apr 18 '11 at 20:31

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