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Email Endpoint Integration Guide – VictorOps


Versions Supported: Getting Started, Essentials, or Full-Stack

VictorOps Version Required: N/A SaaS

What you need to know: The ability to modify the subject line of the email is a crucial component of the Email Endpoint Integration.

The VictorOps generic email endpoint is a basic email ingestion interface which allows you to send emails to a specially crafted VictorOps address in order to create, acknowledge, or resolve incidents in your timeline. Simply send an email from any monitoring tool or email service provider to your assigned email endpoint address to receive a result in VictorOps.

Please note, the ability to modify the subject line of the email is a crucial component of the Email Endpoint Integration. If you are unable to customize the subject or body of the email, please refer to the Legacy Email Systems and Recommended Transmogrifier Rules section at the bottom of this article. Also, please feel free to contact support@victorops.com for assistance using our Transmogrifier feature for custom handling of email messages.

In VictorOps

Please log into the VictorOps web portal and then select Settings >> Alert Behavior >> Integrations >> Legacy Email. 

If the integration has not already been enabled, click the blue Enable button within the Generic Email icon to generate your email endpoint address. Once enabled, this integration will generate the generic email endpoint address (partially obscured below).

Email Endpoint Address

Your VictorOps email endpoint address consists of three parts:

First, the Email Endpoint Key, the long string of numbers, characters, and dashes prior to the routing key, is unique to your organization in VictorOps. And, although you may revoke a key and generate a new one, only one endpoint key will be available to you at a time.

The Routing Key (+$routing_key) can be used to route an email endpoint initiated incident to a specific team or teams within VictorOps. For example, you’ve established routing key named database. The phrase “$routing_key” would be replaced with “database” to form the address as follows:

Note: if your email provider prohibits using a plus sign (+), try replacing it with a dot (.)

70ysj-6ks..(endpoint key)..9284+database@alert.victorops.com

Please note, a routing key in VictorOps is case-sensitive and should exactly match the routing key name in the routing language in the email endpoint. Also please note that a routing key is not required, and may be omitted from the email address altogether. Below please find the same address without a routing key (notice that there is no “+” symbol):

70ysj-6ks..(endpoint key)..9284@alert.victorops.com

The last part of the email endpoint address is email domain: @alert.victorops.com.

For more information on setting up routing keys, see our Knowledge Base article on Routing Keys.

Formatting Emails and Handling Incidents

When using the email endpoint, the resulting behavior of the VictorOps platform will depend on the use of predefined keywords in the subject line of the email as follows:

  • CRITICAL – This keyword will open a new incident, thus triggering whatever escalation policy has been configured for the team receiving the incident.
  • WARNING – This keyword will add an entry to the timeline, but not open a new incident.
  • INFO – This keyword will post an informational event in the timeline, without creating an incident. (Nobody gets paged)
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – This keyword, though rarely used, will acknowledge an incident. The platform will stop paging users.
  • RECOVERY or OK– Either of these keywords will resolve an open incident. The platform will stop paging users.  (It is not necessary for an incident to be acknowledged before it can be resolved)

When an email is ingested by VictorOps, the subject line is parsed and the above keywords are removed. Any remaining text in the subject line will become the title and main identity of the resulting incident (entity_id field). The body of the message will be included as text in the state_message field of the incident. A best practice is to include the keyword at the end of the subject line to avoid issues with spaces in the title of the incident.

If an email does not contain any of these keywords, it is not parsable.

Example Incident using Email Endpoint

The following example email will result in the creation of a new incident that will be routed to the team Lannister (routing key = lannister).

Below, please find the resulting incident with expanded payload in VictorOps.

The above incident may be acknowledged by sending the same email but replacing the keyword CRITICAL with the keyword ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.  It can also be resolved by replacing the keyword ACKNOWLEDGEMENT with the keywords RESOLVED or OK.

Troubleshooting Auto-Resolution

Make sure that the subject line of the email is the same for all emails related to a given incident (excluding the keyword, obviously).  In other words, if you were to send an email with the subject line “Database server DB6 is down CRITICAL” and then you tried sending an email to resolve the incident with the subject line “Database server DB6 is up RECOVERY”, the VictorOps platform would not recognize that the second email is related to the incident opened by the first (because the entity_id for the first alert contains the word down, while the entity_id for the resolution message is different, containing the word up instead).

Legacy Email Systems

Some legacy monitoring tools do not permit users to alter the content of the subject line of their email notifications.  In this case, it may be possible to use our Transmogrifier tool (Enterprise only) to control the workflow of incidents generated by that tool.  Contact our support team at support@victorops.com for help with this configuration.

Recommended Transmogrifier Rules

Sending alerts through the email integration can be limited depending on the flexibility you have over your email system. If you have the ability to modify the subject line and body of the email you may transform Critical alerts to a Recovery state. For this use case, please see the example Transmogrifier rule below.

With this Transmogrifier rule, we are looking for a keyword or phrase “UP” in the Email Body (state_message in the payload) using wildcard matching, denoted by the asterisks. If the keyword or phrase “UP” is present in the body of the email, then the message_type will transform to RECOVERY (this can be replaced with any of the parsable fields listed in the “Formatting Emails and Handling Incidents” section).

Updated on May 10, 2018

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