Guidelines for Displaying Alarms from the Watcher

Alarm Events

Alarm data is contained in the alarm Watcher event. The primary fields needed for display are:

  • name: the name of the alarm. Each alarm has a unique name.
  • severity: the current severity of the alarm. One of NONE, WARNING, SERIOUS and CRITICAL.
  • maxSeverity: the maximum severity seen for this alarm since it was last reset. Reset to NONE if alarm is aknowledged while the severity is NONE. Thus maxSeverity should always be >= severity.
  • acknowledged: has this alarm been acknowledged? Ignore if severity and maxSeverity are both NONE. If acknowledged then the name of the user who acknowledged it is given in acknowledgedBy.
  • mutedSeverity: if greater than NONE then the alarm is muted.
  • reason: the detailed reason for the current severity. This will almost certainly be blank if severity is NONE and is set blank when the alarm is reset.
  • timestampEscalate: time at which the alarm will be escalated if not knowledged (once escalation is supported). Ignore if maxSeverity < CRITICAL.

Display Suggestions

For purposes of displaying alarms I suggest that you consider an alarm to have the following states (in addition to severity), each of which should be displayed differently:

  • Nominal: no problem; remove the alarm from the Watcher display. This is indicated by``severity=NONE`` and maxSeverity=NONE; the value of acknowledged is irrelevant.
  • Active or Semi-Active: the alarm condition is present and has not been acknowledged. This is indicated by severity>NONE and acknowledged=False. Semi-Active simply means that the alarm condition is present but has ameliorated somewhat; in other words severity < maxSeverity.
  • Stale: the alarm condition is no longer present but the alarm was never acknowledged. This is indicated by severity=NONE, maxSeverity>NONE and acknowledged=False. Note that a stale alarm will still be escalated, if appropriate, so you must display stale alarms. One option to consider is to display them grayed out.

Muted Alarms

Independently of the above states an alarm may also be muted by an operator, e.g. to hide a condition that keeps going away and returning again, so that acknowledging it becomes tedious. A muted alarm is indicated by mutedSeverity > NONE. If the alarm severity goes above this level the alarm will unmute itself (set mutedSeverity back to NONE); thus you do not need to pay attention to any severities to decide if an alarm is muted. Muted alarms should not normally be displayed and will never be escalated. However, please offer a way to view muted alarms, so an operator can umute a muted alarm, perhaps because the problem has been fixed or the alarm was accidentally muted. Furthermore, it would be very helpful to always provide a count or other summary of muted alarms, so the operators know that some alarms are muted.

Other fields associated with muted alarms (only relevant if mutedSeverity > NONE):

  • The person who muted the alarm is given by mutedBy if mutedSeverity
  • The time at which the alarm will automatically unmute itself is given by timestampUnmute.