Advisory Conditions

Advisory Conditions are a Performance Analysis feature that allows for customized alerting based on performance counter metrics, query results, WMI queries, duration of events, and state changes. Advisory Conditions can be applied globally or at specific targets and instances.

Downloading the Advisory Conditions Pack

When opening the Conditions List at the global level, you'll be prompted to download the latest Advisory Conditions Pack. This pack contains predefined Advisory Conditions that help illustrate the functionality that the Advisory Conditions feature has to offer. If you decide not to download the Advisory Conditions Pack at this point, access it through the Download Latest Advisory Conditions Pack option in the Tools menu. If you choose to disable the automatic checking for Advisory Conditions Packs, checking can be re-enabled in User Preferences in the Updates section.

SentryOne Download Advisory Conditions Pack

After downloading the Advisory Conditions Pack, you'll be prompted to apply actions. Selecting Yes opens the Actions Selector to apply actions to your new Advisory Conditions.

Note:  Scheduled evaluations won't occur until an action is assigned to the Advisory Condition.

Building an Advisory Condition

Create an Advisory Condition by selecting Create Advisory Condition in the Conditions List, or right-click on the All Targets (Global) node, group node, target node, or instance node in the Navigator pane, and then, select Add Advisory Condition. Owner object of the Advisory Condition is dependent on where the Advisory Condition is defined. The following sections explain all the options available when creating an Advisory Condition

SentryOne Add Advisory Condition

Defining an Advisory Condition

In the Navigator pane, there are Advisory Condition folders located at various levels. All preconfigured Advisory Conditions are created at the global level. The following chart outlines the various levels and which types of conditions can be configured at those levels.

Location in HierarchyAdvisory Condition Types Available
Root
Global
Site
Target
  • Amazon RDS for SQL Server
  • Analysis Services
  • APS
  • Azure SQL Database
  • SentryOne
  • SQL DW
  • SQL Server
  • Trintri
  • VMware Host
  • Windows
SQL Server Instance
  • Windows/SQL Server
SSAS Instance
  • Windows/SSAS


Note:  While SQL Server and SSAS Advisory Conditions can be defined higher in the hierarchy, defining them at the instance provides the added benefit of being context aware allowing you to utilize performance counter instances specific to that instance and execute SQL queries within the context of that instance.

Advisory Condition Types

Type is the first option presented when creating an Advisory Condition. The type determines where the condition is evaluated and which metrics are available.

TypeDescription
WindowsThis condition is evaluated at the Target level and has access to Windows performance metrics.
SQL ServerThis condition is evaluated at the SQL Server instance level and has access to Windows and SQL Server performance metrics.
Azure SQL DatabaseThis condition is evaluated at the Azure SQL Database level and has access to Azure SQL Database performance metrics.
VMware HostThis condition is evaluated at the VMware Host level and has access to vCenter performance metrics associated with a VMware Host.
Analysis ServicesThis condition is evaluated at the SSAS instance level and has access to Windows and SSAS performance metrics.
SentryOneThis condition type is evaluated against the SentryOne database and is used to query the SentryOne database for information.

Advisory Condition Options

OptionDescription
Default Evaluation Frequency

Defines how often the condition is evaluated. The evaluation frequency can be adjusted individually throughout the hierarchy.

Note:  Scheduled evaluations won't occur until an action is assigned to the Advisory Condition.

Trigger ThresholdDefines how long the condition must be true before the associated action is taken.
SeverityDefines the setting of severity that can be used as a sorting parameter in the Events Log. Advisory Conditions with a severity of High or Critical can also cause the Advisory Conditions folder in the Navigator pane to turn red when true.
Evaluation TimeoutDefines the limit on how long each evaluation can run before a timeout occurs.
Maximum Instance CountDefines the number of results returned when the Any instance option is used.
ColorDefines the color of the duration line that appears on the Performance Analysis Dashboard.

Supported Versions

When creating an Advisory Condition in the higher levels of the hierarchy, restrict certain conditions to run only on designated versions of Windows and/or SQL Server. For example, if you wanted to restrict the condition to only evaluate on servers with Windows Server 2008 R2 and newer, put 6.1 in the minimum field.

Defining an Advisory Condition

SentryOne Defining Advisory Condition

Select one of the following logical operators:

  • And—All conditions must be true for an action to occur.
  • Or—One or more condition(s) must be true for an action to occur.
  • Not And—One or more condition(s) must be false for an action to occur.
  • Not Or—All conditions must be false for an action to occur.

Select the plus + icon, and then select a comparison type or an existing Advisory Condition. For more information about logical operators, see the Logical Choice article. 

Note:  When creating a multi-statement Advisory Condition while using And as a logical operator, be conscious of the order of the logical operators so you don’t short circuit the condition. With the And operator, if the first statement is false, the subsequent statements will be skipped.

Warning: If an Advisory Condition is altered, it is altered in all other Advisory Conditions that are using it as an existing condition.

The following table shows which value retriever types are available for the various comparison types. 

Comparison TypesValue Retriever Types
Performance Counter
  • Numeric Comparison
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side

Note:  Performance Counter instances are only available at the appropriate instance context for Additional AC Type Restrictions. 

Performance Counter Baseline
  • Numeric Comparison
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side

Note:  User-defined baselines must exist on the instance for Additional AC Type Restrictions. 

SQL Server Query
  • Numeric Comparison
  • String Comparison
  • Date/Time Comparison
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side

Note:  Windows SQL Server only for Additional AC Type Restrictions. 

Repository Query
  • Numeric Comparison
  • String Comparison
  • Date/Time Comparison
  • Additional AC Type Restrictions
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side
SSAS Query
  • Numeric Comparison
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side
Resource Exhaustion
  • Windows Advisory Condition Type
  • Date/Time Comparison
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side
Azure SQL Database Query
  • Numeric Comparison
  • String Comparison
  • Date/Time Comparison
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side

Note:  Azure SQL Databse only for Additional AC Type Restrictions. 

VMware Host

Note:  VMware Host only. 

WMI Query
  • Numeric Comparison
  • String Comparison
  • Additional AC Type Restrictions
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side
Explicit Value
  • Numeric Comparison
  • String Comparison
  • Date/Time Comparison
  • Additional AC Type Restrictions
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side
Last Value
  • Numeric Comparison
  • String Comparison
  • Date/Time Comparison
  • Additional AC Type Restrictions
  • Expression Right Side
Expression
  • Numeric Comparison
  • Additional AC Type Restrictions
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side
Duration
  • Numeric Comparison
  • Additional AC Type Restrictions
  • Expression Left Side
  • Expression Right Side
Existing Condition
  • Additional AC Type Restrictions

Value Retriever Types

TypeDescription
Performance Counter

Performance Counters are available based on the type of condition that's being created. Conditions being built at the target and instance level are context aware and have access to specific counter instances. When defined at the target level or lower, use baselines that are associated with Performance Counters.

Note:  SentryOne provides virtual Performance Counters for use in Advisory Conditions. These virtual counters are gathered using stored procedures and may cause more overhead than counters collected through PerfLib. Virtual Performance Counters are identified by the lack of a colon. For example, SQL Server Data File Size is a virtual counter.

Performance Counter (User)

The Performance Counter (User) option allows for the selection of any performance counter. After selecting this option, select Connect, enter a server name, and then select Connect again. After connecting to the server, select the category field to view a list of all of the Performance Counter categories on that server. After selecting a category, select the counter that's to be evaluated.

Note:  Connecting to a server is only necessary to provide a list of Performance Counter categories and counters. During evaluation, the counter is evaluated in the context of each monitored instance.

Performance Counter BaselinePerformance Counter Baselines are available when the Advisory Condition is created at the target or instance level. A user defined baseline must exist at the instance level to be used.
SQL Server QueryEnter the database that the query runs against in the first field. If the condition is being defined at the instance level, there's a button next to the field that provides a list of databases available for that instance. The next field is for the query. The query can be entered manually or can be selected from a list of queries using the Query Editor. If a query returns multiple results, the first result is used for the evaluation.
Azure SQL Database QueryEnter the database that the query runs against in the first field. The next field is for the query. The query can be entered manually or can be selected from a list of queries using the Query Editor. If a query returns multiple results, the first result is used for the evaluation.
Repository QueryAllows you to perform a query against the SentryOne database. When using a Repository Query, use the variables @ComputerID and @ConnectionID in your query to dynamically adjust depending on the computer or connection that the Advisory Condition is evaluating against.
Resource ExhaustionAllows you to perform a check against a Relative Date Value when using the Forecasting feature. For more information on enabling Disk Forecasting, see the Disk Space and Monitoring Service Settings articles.
SSAS QueryAllows you to issue DMV queries in Advisory Conditions. DMV queries offer additional insight into SSAS metadata, and can be executed as MDX or DMX queries. Enter a query string in the provided field, or use the Query Editor to enter the query manually.
WMI QueryAllows you to query WMI using WQL. For more information, see the Querying with WQL article.
Explicit ValueAllows for an explicitly defined value.
Last ValueThis is a right side specific option that returns the previous evaluations value of the left side of the argument.
ExpressionUsing the expression option allows for basic mathematical operation to be applied to other values. Operations include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These mathematical operations can be performed against any of the other numeric value options.
Duration

This option returns the amount of time elapsed to acquire the specified value. Various time units are available, ranging from milliseconds to days.

Note:  When using any query retriever types in conjunction with the Any qualifier to compare multiple results, the query is required to return a key/value pair in order to identify which value met the defined condition. This also ensures that conditions using queries on both sides of the condition, or comparing the last value, automatically matches values with the same key.

Query Editor

When using a query retriever type like the SQL Server or Repository query, select the button to the right of the query input box to launch the Query Editor.

SentryOne Query EditorThe Query Editor is where queries can be edited and saved for future use in Advisory Conditions.

  • New—Opens the New Query window.
  • Test—Opens an instance dialog window. Specify the server and database name that the query is to be executed against. The resulting value is displayed in the field to the right of the test button.
  • Delete—Deletes the selected query.

Note:  Only queries that have been tested and have a value data type can be selected for use from the Query Editor.

Conditions List

The Conditions List is accessed from various locations within the hierarchy of the Navigator pane. The number in parentheses beside the Advisory Conditions folder indicates how many Advisory Conditions are defined at that level within the hierarchy. An exception to this is the Advisory Conditions folder located beneath the Contacts node in the Navigator pane. The number here indicates the total number of Advisory Conditions defined across the environment.

Note:  What's seen in the Conditions List depends on where the list is opened within the hierarchy. Wherever the list is opened, the list contains Advisory Conditions defined at that level, its parent's levels, and children’s levels.

Conditions Pane

The Conditions pane provides a list of all available conditions. This pane also displays the owner object, creation date, and last modified date of the condition as well as which user modified it. Disable an Advisory Condition by unchecking the checkbox in the Enabled column. Also add tags to assist with sorting and organizing the conditions.

Select Add Advisory Condition to open Windows, Windows/SQL Server, or Windows/SSAS. Select the condition type to open the Condition Editor. For more information about adding a condition, see the Condition Settings topics. 

SentryOne Condition Editor

Select Edit Advisory Condition to open the Condition Editor for the condition that is currently selected in the Conditions pane.

SentryOne Condition Editor v2The Show Events Log button takes you to the Events Log filtered by the Advisory Condition that is selected in the Conditions pane. The SentryOne ABC Icon row allows you to search in each row. The following is a list of important columns to remember: 

  • Type—What target the condition is used for. 
  • Object—Actual name of the object where the condition was created. 
  • Object Type—Specifies what the object is. 
  • Enable—Allows you to enable or disable the Advisory Condition in each row. 
  • Tags—Used to organize the Advisory Conditions by keywords. 

SentryOne Events Log

Context Menu

SentryOne Advisory Conditions Context Menu

TaskDescription
EditAllows for editing of the selected Advisory Condition.
Show Events LogOpens the Events Log filtered by the selected Advisory Condition.
Snooze > This Condition/All ObjectsDisables actions and alerting on the selected Advisory Condition for the selected period.
Snooze > All Conditions/All ObjectsDisables actions and alerting on all Advisory Conditions for the selected period.
Unsnooze > This Condition/All ObjectsRe-enables actions and alerting on the Advisory Condition.
Unsnooze > All Conditions/All ObjectsRe-enables actions and alerting for all Advisory Conditions.
CloneCreates a copy of the selected Advisory Condition with a new name with the owner object being in the context of the Conditions List.
ExportExports the selected Advisory Condition to a .condition file.
ImportImports an Advisory Condition from a .condition file.
DisableDisables the selected Advisory Condition.
DeleteDeletes the selected Advisory Condition.

Evaluation Status Pane

The Evaluation Status pane displays the last evaluation for the selected condition. This pane shows the object that was evaluated, the result of the evaluation, the duration and time of the evaluation, and information pertaining to any errors that may have occurred. The bottom of the pane provides a count of the objects that were evaluated. Selecting an evaluation in this pane displays the results of that evaluation in the Evaluation Results pane. The Evaluate Selected button performs an evaluation of the Advisory Condition against the selected object in the Evaluation Status pane. The With Logging option generates an entry in the Events Log if the condition doesn't have the Log to Alerting Channels action assigned to it. The Evaluate All button performs an evaluation of the Advisory Condition against all legal targets. The With Logging option generates an entry in the Events Log if the condition doesn't have the Log to Alerting Channels action assigned to it.

Context Menu

SentryOne Evaluation Status Pane Context Menu

TaskDescription
Snooze This Condition/This ObjectDisables actions and alerting for the selected Advisory Condition on the object for the selected amount of time. 
Jump To Performance Analysis DashboardJumps to the time frame of the Advisory Condition event.
Show Events LogOpens the Events Log filtered by the selected Advisory Condition.

Evaluation Results Pane 

The Evaluation Results pane, located at the bottom, shows the evaluation step results of an Advisory Condition along with any values retrieved through Performance Counters or queries. Hover over any of the values to open a tooltip with additional information like the duration of retrieving that value, the non-rounded value, error messages, and Performance Counter instance names.
SentryOne Evaluation Results Pane

Note:  If you use the logical operator Any, the number of values that can be listed is tied to the Maximum Instance Count value. The maximum value that can be listed is 100.

Note:  Query data is cached for one minute in the monitoring service before it is written to the SentryOne database. So, if you have a condition that uses T-SQL queries, and you evaluate more than once a minute, the data will be retrieved from the cache and may not be accurate. Evaluate at least once a minute.

Events Log

The Events Log displays all the Advisory Condition events that are active or have completed. Selecting an entry in the Grid view displays the starting state of the event. When Advisory Conditions complete, select the End Time column to display the result state that closed the active event. Select the Expansion node in the Notes column to add notes to the event. This is also included in future notifications of that condition.

You also can assign users to events. Select the Assigned User column, and then select a user from the drop-down list. You can also automatically assign a user to all events of a particular Advisory Condition by selecting an Advisory Condition in the Conditions pane that has the Send to Alerting Channels action assigned to it, and selecting the user in the Action Settings tab. Assigning users to Advisory Condition events allows for users to quickly sort events and investigate any events that they've been assigned.


SentryOne Advisory Conditions Context Menu

Context Menu

TaskDescription
Jump to > Performance Analysis DashboardJumps to the time frame of the Advisory Condition event.
Jump to > NavigatorJumps to the target or instance where the Advisory Condition event was evaluated. 
Edit Advisory ConditionOpens the Advisory Condition Editor for the selected Advisory Condition.
Disable/Enable Advisory ConditionDisables or enables the selected Advisory Condition.
Snooze > This Condition/This ObjectDisables actions alerting on the selected Advisory Condition on the selected object for the selected period.
Snooze > This Condition/All ObjectsDisables actions and alerting on the selected Advisory Condition on all objects for the selected period.
Close > All for ObjectClose all event logs for objects. 
Close > All for ConditionClose all event logs for conditions.