Response Rulesets

Response Rulesets control how often Actions are taken in response to Conditions. The default ruleset is Notify Every Time, meaning that the Action is taken every time the Condition is met. Response Rulesets allow for an extra level of configurability for certain notifications by allowing you to define additional criteria that must be met in order for the Action to be taken.

For example, you may receive false-positive Database Offline/Online messages throughout the day on servers/networks that are highly utilized. An example Response Ruleset for this scenario might specify that this Condition must be true for five minutes before an email is sent. Additionally you can specify under what criteria subsequent actions for this same Condition occur.

Actions and their configured Response Rulesets have a hierarchical configuration. When you configure an Action with a Response Ruleset the Action and the Action's Response Ruleset are inherited by each object below that level. For a visual representation of how inheritance works within SentryOne, see the Alerting and Response System Hierarchy diagram.

Note:  Response Rulesets are a powerful tool that help adjust Alerts. Response Rulesets are available globally, meaning the same Response Ruleset can be applied to multiple Conditions. Any changes made to a Response Ruleset affect every Condition where the Response Ruleset is applied.

Windows are also available to help you adjust Alerting in your environment. Windows may be applied directly to any configured Action to control the time frame of when that Action is processed. Apply a Window in the Response Ruleset tab of any configured Action. For more information about configuring Windows, see the Schedules and Windows topic.

Ruleset Types

There are two ruleset types, Count Based and Time Based.

Ruleset TypeDescription
Count Based

Count Based rulesets control:

  • How many times a Condition occurs within a specified time frame before Actions are taken.
  • How many times a Condition reoccurs before subsequent Actions are taken.
  • How long to continue taking Action when a Condition is occurring.

For more information, see the Response Ruleset Count Based example.

Time Based

Time Based rulesets control:

  • How long a Condition exists before Actions are taken.
  • How much time elapses before subsequent Actions are taken.
  • How long to continue taking Action when a Condition is occurring.

For more information, see the Response Ruleset Time Based example.

Managing Rulesets

Response Rulesets are managed by selecting the Tools menu > Manage Response Ruleset command. Create, edit, and delete rulesets in this window. Assign rulesets to all Actions configured within your environment. Once a Response Ruleset has been defined, it can be associated with a Condition.

SentryOne Tools > Manage Response RulesetsSentryOne Response Rulesets window

Response Rulesets can also be managed for individual Actions from the Response Ruleset tab found within the Conditions pane (View > Conditions).

SentryOne Conditions pane Ruleset tab

Creating a New Response Ruleset

Create a new Response Ruleset by completing the following: 

  1. Open the Response Rulesets window by selecting Tools > Manage Response Ruleset.
    SentryOne Tools > Manage Response Rulesets
  2. Select New Ruleset to open the Response Ruleset Editor.
    SentryOne Response Rulesets window
  3. Enter a name for the Response Ruleset, and then select Count based or Time based from the Ruleset Type box.
    SentryOne Response Ruleset Editor

Depending on the Ruleset type you're creating, the configuration options are as follows:

Ruleset Configuration Options

Count BasedConfiguration Options
SentryOne Response Ruleset Editor Count BasedSentryOne Response Ruleset Editor Process Actions After setting

Process Actions After:

  • Occurrences – number of times the event must occur prior to processing actions.
  • within (checked) – the window of time in which the events needs to occur.
  • within (not checked) – ignores time limit, enables subsequent actions.

SentryOne Response Ruleset Editor Process Subsequent Actions Every setting

Process Subsequent Actions Every:

  • Occurrences – number of times the event must occur prior to processing subsequent actions.
  • for up to – how long to follow the subsequent actions setting before starting ruleset over.


Time BasedConfiguration Options
SentryOne Response Ruleset Editor Time BasedSentryOne Response Ruleset Editor Process Actions After setting

Process Actions After:

  • The amount of time a condition must exist prior to processing actions.

SentryOne Response Ruleset Editor Process Subsequent Actions Every setting

Process Subsequent Actions Every:

  • The amount of time a condition must continue to exist between processing actions.
  • For up to – how long to follow the subsequent actions setting before starting ruleset over.


Note:  Modifications to a Response Ruleset trigger an Audit Condition.

Assigning a Response Ruleset to an Action

Assign a Response Ruleset to an Action from within the Manage Response Ruleset dialogue by completing the following:

  1. Open the Manage Response Ruleset dialogue (Tools > Manage Response Ruleset ).
    SentryOne Tools > Manage Response Rulesets
  2. Select any Action found within the Configured Actions section, and then select the drop-down arrow in the Ruleset column to see Response Rulesets applicable for the Action.
    SentryOne Response Rulesets window
  3. Select the Response Ruleset that you'd like to apply, and then select Close to save your selection.
    img title="SentryOne Response Rulesets window Version 18.4" class="fr-fic fr-dib img-responsive fr-fil" style="width: 56%;" alt="SentryOne Response Rulesets window" src="//dyzz9obi78pm5.cloudfront.net/app/image/id/5b44db20ec161caa7b2b8714/n/s1-repsonse-rulesets-window-select-desired-response-ruleset-and-select-close-184.png">

You can also assign a Response Ruleset to an Action from the Response Ruleset tab found within the Conditions pane (View > Conditions). 

  1. In the Navigator pane (View > Navigator) select the node where you'd like to configure the Action.
    SentryOne select the desired node in the Navigator
  2. Select the Action that you'd like to apply a ruleset for in the Conditions pane (View > General/Failsafe/Audit Actions), and then select Rulesets tab found directly beneath the Action.
    SentryOne Conditions pane Ruleset tab
  3. Select the Response Ruleset that you'd like to apply.
    SentryOne Condtions pane Ruleset tab FailSafe Error Notification

Note:  The following are the best practices for using Response Rulesets:

  • Name global rulesets by their behavior.
  • Name custom rulesets by the object and event/condition they apply to.
  • Use count based rulesets for event driven rules.
  • Use time based rulesets for condition driven rules.

Response Ruleset Examples

Response Rulesets control how often Actions are taken in response to Conditions. The default ruleset is Notify Every Time, meaning that the Action is taken every time the Condition is met. Response Rulesets allow for an extra level of configurability for certain notifications by allowing you to define additional criteria that must be met in order for the Action to be taken. For a general overview, see the Response Ruleset topic.

Count Based Example

As a reminder Count Based rulesets control:

  • How many times a Condition occurs within a specified time frame before Actions are taken.
  • How many times a Condition reoccurs before subsequent Actions are taken.
  • How long to continue taking Action when a Condition is occurring.

This Count Based ruleset example deals with a SQL Server Agent job that often fails.

For this example assume the following:

You have a Send Email action configured at the instance level for the SQL Server Agent Job: Failure Condition. There's a SQL Server Agent Job FrequentJob, that runs every minute. The occasional failure is expected and can be disregarded, but if this job begins failing repeatedly it usually indicates a problem.

To prevent getting an alert on every failure, set a Response Ruleset to limit the processing of the Send Email action for the SQL Server Agent Job: Failure Condition so that an email is only sent after the job failed multiple times within a specified time frame. For the example we configure a Count Based Response Ruleset that requires the job to fail three times within five minutes. 

To accomplish this you need to apply a Count Based Response Ruleset at the job level (FrequentJob). Apply this Response Ruleset at the individual job level as opposed to the instance level to avoid suppressing email notifications for the rest of your Agent Jobs belonging to that instance.

Configure a Send Email action for the SQL Server Agent Job: Failure Condition for the Agent Job FrequentJob.

  1. Select the FrequentJob node in the Navigator Pane.
  2. Open the General Actions section in the Conditions pane (View > Conditions).
  3. Select Add found in the Explicit section of the General Actions section. This opens the Select Action window.
  4. Expand the SQL Server Agent Job: Failure Condition. Select the Send Email action from the checkbox. Select OK to add the configured action. Be sure to specify a Selected Target in the Action Settings tab. 

Next, apply a Response Ruleset to the configured Action.

  1. Select the configured email action in the Explicit section of the Conditions pane.
  2. Select the Response Rulesets tab found directly beneath the Explicit section of the Conditions pane. The default Response Ruleset, Notify Every Time is applied. Select New to open the Response Ruleset Editor.
  3. Give the Response Ruleset a name.

    SentryOne Response Ruleset Editor Frequent Job Failure

  4. Fill in the information as specified above and select Save to apply the newly created Response Ruleset to the configured Action.

Now that the Send Email action configured for the SQL Server Agent Job: Failure Condition has the above Response Ruleset applied, an email only sends alerting you that the FrequentJob failed, if it does so three times within five minutes.

Only the SQL Agent Job FrequentJob is impacted by this change. Other Agent Jobs are still subject to the Send Email action configured at the instance level that has the default Response Ruleset of Notify Every Time.

Note:  Consider the following:

  • With this ruleset in place on the Send Email action, you could still have the failure execute the Log To Database action using the default ruleset. This way every failure is recorded.
  • You could also apply an additional Send Email action for the SQL Server Agent Job: Failure Condition with a different ruleset. This could be useful for escalation purposes or if a different team member prefers to be notified every time the job fails.
Time Based Example

Time Based Rulesets control:

  • How long a Condition exists before Actions are taken.
  • How much time elapses before subsequent Actions are taken.
  • How long to continue taking Action when a Condition is occurring.

This Time Based ruleset example deals with Instance Offline/Online Alerts.

For this example assume the following:

You have a Send Email action configured at the Global level for the SQL Server: Offline Condition.

You have a site, TransientSite in your environment that contains several instances. You're being alerted by email that these instances are going offline and online, but when you check these instances they seem to be false notifications. This can happen if there's transient network issues and the monitoring service is unable to connect to the monitored servers. If these problems are truly transient, you may not necessarily want to be notified every time this happens.

To prevent getting an alert for every occurrence of these transient network issues set a Response Ruleset to limit the processing of the Send Email action for the SQL Server Instance: Offline Condition. This Response Ruleset adds additional criteria to the processing of the Send Email action so that an email is only sent after the instance is detected to be in an offline state for a specific period of time.

For this example we do this by:

  1. Configuring a Time Based Response Ruleset that requires the SQL Server: Offline Condition to be true for five minutes.
  2. Disabling the SQL Server Instance: Online Condition

To accomplish this apply a Time Based Ruleset at the site level for the TransientSite. Apply this Response Ruleset at the site level as opposed to the global level to avoid suppressing email notifications about the rest of your instances going offline and online.

Configure a Send Email action for the SQL Server Instance: Offline Condition at the TransientSite level.

  1. Select the TransientSite node in the Navigator pane (View > Navigator).
  2. Open the Failsafe Actions section in the Conditions pane (View > Conditions).
  3. Select Add found in the Explicit section of the Failsafe Actions section. This opens the Select Action window.
  4. Expand the SQL Server Instance: Offline Condition. Select the Send Email action from the checkbox. Select OK to add the configured action. Be sure to specify a Selected Target in the Actions Settings tab.

Next apply a Response Ruleset to the configured Action.

  1. Select the configured email action in the Explicit section of the Conditions pane.
  2. Select the Response Ruleset tab found directly beneath the Explicit section of the Conditions pane. The default Response Ruleset, Notify Every Time is applied. Select New to open the Response Ruleset Editor.
  3. Give the Response Ruleset a name.

    SentryOne Response Ruleset Editor TransientSite Offline

  4. Fill in the information as specified above and select Save to apply the newly created Response Ruleset to the configured Action.

Now that the Send Email action configured for the SQL Server Instance: Offline Condition has the above Response Ruleset applied, an email only be sends alerting you that one of the instances belonging to the TransientSite is offline, if it's detected to be in that state for longer than five minutes. You receive an additional email every 10 minutes for up to one day as long as the instance remains offline.

Next,disable the Send Email action for the SQL Server Instance: Online Condition at the TransientSite level. This stops any SQL Server online email notifications. With the above Response Ruleset applied, once you stop receiving emails for the SQL Server Instance: Offline Condition the server is online again.

To disable the Send Email action for the SQL Server Instance: Online Condition at the TransientSite level.

  1. Select the TransientSite node in the Navigator pane (View > Navigator).
  2. Open the Failsafe Actions section in the Conditions pane (View > Conditions).
  3. Expand the SQL Server Instance: Online Condition. Select the Send Email action from the checkbox. Select OK to add the action.
  4. Select the configured email action in the Explicit section of the Conditions pane. In the Behavior column select the drop down box and choose the Disabled behavior. For more about action behaviors, see the Actions topic.

Note:  Consider the following:

  • You may also want to follow the same procedures for the SQL Server Agent: Offline/Online conditions, by applying the same Response Ruleset for the Offline condition and disabling the Online condition.
  • By default all Failsafe conditions are configured with a Log To Database action, so there's always a record of each time the SQL Server Instance: Offline Condition is met if you need to review it.
  • You could also apply an additional Send Email action for the various Offline/Online conditions with a different Response Ruleset. This could be used for escalation purposes in the event of an long term server outage.