Group Email using SMTP Notification Channel in BizTalk360

|  Posted: April 9, 2019  |  Categories: BizTalk360

Monitoring and Alert notification is amongst the core functionalities in BizTalk360. To empower better usability, we are improving the alert notification in the upcoming release v9.0 by adding the option for sending alert notifications to a group of Email Id’s. We always give importance to our customer voice and give importance to customer feedbacks while picking up the features for every release. Also this feature becomes implemented based on our customers feedback.

Email-Distribution-List-Feedback

This feature not only addresses the Group Email list, it also has the additional capability to add recipients based on UP Alert and Auto Correct Alert, and an option to copy in people (CC) in notification emails. Those functionalities are also highly recommended by customer feedback as below.

Group-Email-for-UP-alert - Auto Correct-alertAdding-Email-CC-Feedback

We have achieved the above feedbacks in one powerful feature called “SMTP Notification Channel”.

What is SMTP Notification channel in BizTalk360?

Intending to send email notifications, you simply need to specify the recipients Email address. You can add multiple Email id(s) separated by semicolon. The SMTP Notification channel emails are sent using the SMTP Client server.

SMTP-Notification-Channel-Configuration

The following table provides descriptions of the configuration fields and indicates whether they are required. The section that follows this table provides example configurations.

Field IsRequired? Description
Email To Required Email address of the notification recipients for all type of alert
CC Optional Email address of the notification recipients
Up Alert Optional Email address of the notification recipients for Up alert
Auto Correct Alert Optional Email address of the notification recipients for Auto Correct alert

The user can create multiple email distribution lists by configuring multiple SMTP notification channels and map them to the same or different Alarms based on the business needs.

SMTP-Notification-Channel-Alarm-Mapping

Note: To receive alerts through the SMTP notification channel, the user needs to configure the SMTP settings in BizTalk360 (BizTalk360-> Settings-> Monitoring and Notification-> SMTP). The SMTP Notification channel will take the server connection details form the configured SMTP settings.

SMTP-Settings-Configuration

BizTalk360 Alarm Configuration Methods

As you know in BizTalk360, you can configure the alarm notifications in two ways, one is by configuring Alarm only with email ids and the other one is mapping Notification channels (ServiceNow, Slack, PowerShell, Webhook, Microsoft Teams).

Now, in the notification channel we have added an additional advantage for Email configuration, called the SMTP Notification channel. This will behave the same as the native Email configuration methods, which is actually very easy to use and maintain.

BizTalk360 native Email Configuration

In earlier versions of BizTalk360, a user could configure the Alarm by directly proving the Email id(s), as shown below.

Alarm-Email-Configuration

 

If the user wants to use the same recipients in another alarm, the user needs to copy the email and paste it to the new alarm or they need to type it again manually. It is a very time consuming and tedious process when you want to configure multiple email ids.

Also, in the earlier BizTalk360 versions, there is no option to group the alerts like UP Alert, AutoCorrect Alert and to have a CC for the admin or any other recipients. To overcome all, we have introduced the “SMTP Notification Channel”.

Cons of using the native Email configuration

  • It’s hard to configure multiple recipients for multiple alarms
  • Any user can change the recipients for any alarms, which is a security risk
  • All the alert like up alerts, down alert, autocorrect will be sent to all the configured Emails
  • No CC option was available

Grouping Email using SMTP Notification Channel

Using this SMTP Notification channel, a professional can effortlessly create multiple email contact groups and effectively send or automate sending BizTalk360 alerts to thousands of recipients in multiple email groups at the same time. In Addition to that, they can group the email recipients based on the type of alerts like Up Alert and Auto Correct Alert.

Pros of using the SMTP Notification channel

  • It is an easy and effective way to create and manage multiple mailing lists
  • User can group the email recipients accordingly to their business needs, based on the alerts like UP alert and Auto correct Alert
  • It helps to add the CC to the alerts, which helps to notify an admin or other professional as per their business norms
  • Any user can use the Configured SMTP channel for their respective alarms
  • Only the admin or Super user can create the SMTP Notification channel. Another user cannot create the Channel which improves the security

How can we effectively use the SMTP Notification for our business

Creating an Email Distribution List with the SMTP Notification Channel: Most of the customers use BizTalk360 for the monitoring capability. The user can monitor BizTalk artifacts through the BizTalk360 alarms and the user gets notified when any artifact goes down. The user can configure n number of alarms for their business needs.

For instance, if a user was monitoring multiple BizTalk artifacts with more than 100 BizTalk360 Alarms with the same set of recipients, and if the admin wants to add/remove a recipient, then the admin needs to go and manually change all the alarms which is time consuming. This can be done much simpler with using the STMP channel; it is enough to provide email recipients only at SMTP notification channel configuration. The same can be used across all the alarms, just by enabling the SMTP channel. And, if there is any change in recipient ids, it’s enough to change it in SMTP notification channel and it will be reflected in all the alarms. The user can also configure multiple SMTP channels to multiple alarms or a single alarm as below, this will reduce the manual effort.

Mapping-Multiple-SMTP-Notification-channel-in-Alarm

Personalize Alerts to notify different group of users: As you know, users get notified through different types of Biztalk360 alerts such as Down alert, UP Alert, AutoCorrect Alert, Regular Alert and Data Monitoring Alert. The Down Alert will be triggered when the correct state of the artifact is different from the Expected state; the UP Alert will get triggered when all the configured artifacts are in Healthy state; the AutoCorrect Alert will be triggered when system tries to rectify the violation to make BizTalk Environment healthy.

In case an admin wants a down alert to be sent to everyone in the team, but the Up Alert or Auto correct alert need to be notified to only specific members in team, that can be easily achieved by configuring the selected recipient ids Up Alert/Auto correct field while configuring SMTP channel.

UP-Alert-and-Down-Alert

Create the SMTP Channel with the Email To, which indicates the Down Alert recipients, then configure the UP Alert and Down Alert recipients on the respective fields. Then configure the channel to the respective Threshold Alarm. When the artifacts are down, it will trigger the alert only to the configured recipients and the same for UP Alert and AutoCorrect Alert.

Make a copy to different users: Within an organization, a user needs to provide a copy of an alert to the admin or some other authority. In this case, they can configure the CC in the SMTP Channel, then the alert will get notified to the admin.

Customizing SMTP Notification Channel: The SMTP Notification channel can be customized based on the business requirements using the GitHub project file. For Instance, if the user wants to send the Data Monitoring alerts to a specific Email group, this can be achieved by adding a piece of code in the GitHub project file. For SMTP Notification channel, the data are retrieved based on the alert notification type.

Notification-Type

You need to perform the following steps:

  • Add the fields to get input for Data monitoring Alert Emails in the global properties XML File.

<TextArea Name=”DataMonitoring-Alert” DisplayName=”Datamonitoring Alert Email” IsMandatory=”false” Tooltip=”Only Data Monitoring alerts will be trggerred to the configured Email Id(s)” DefaultValue=”” Value=”” Type=”email” ValidationPattern=”^([\w+-.%]+@[\w-.]+\.[A-Za-z]{2,}(\s*;?\s*)*)+$”/>

  • Get the email id’s and assign to another variable in the SMTPChannel.cs file as

Get-Email-Id(s)-in-SMTPChannel.cs

  • You need to add the Condition respective for Data Monitoring Alert as

Condition-For-DataMonitoring

Then the user can add separate group Emails for Data Monitoring alert as below.

UI-With-Data-Monitoring-FieldWrap Up

A mailing list or group email can be the bliss of a feature for businesses of any size. The SMTP Notification channel allows you to reach out to as many people as you want without having to re-write or copy-paste the same email multiple times.

Stay tuned!!

Conclusion

If you plan on creating and send group emails for an organization or a business purpose, then this SMTP Notification channel will ensure a productive, scalable and goal-driven approach to your group email campaigns.

 

Author: Sowmiya Subramanian

Junior Software Engineer in BizTalk360

Back to Top