Easy monitoring of high-severity errors: create Agent alerts

In my previous post today I talked about error 825 and how you should have an Agent alert set up to catch it when it happens. There are two ways you can set up Agent alerts – using SSMS or using the stored-proc sp_add_alert. In a post from April 2008 I showed how to create an Operator and alerts using the SSMS wizards (see that post here). To use the SP to create the alert for message 825, the code would be as follows:

USE msdb;

EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_add_alert @name = N'825 – Read-Retry Required',
    @message_id = 825,
    @severity = 0,
    @enabled = 1,
    @delay_between_responses = 0,
    @include_event_description_in = 1;

Note the @include_event_description parameter. This is a tinyint that says which of the notification mechanisms should include the description. The list of possibilities is:

  • 0 – None
  • 1 – Email
  • 2 – Pager
  • 4 – Net send

So my value of 1 only includes the description in email, even if I've set up the Operator to receive email and a net send. You can get more info about this SP from the following link: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms189531.aspx.

As to which alerts you should have defined, my advice would be to have one for message 825 and a separate alert for each severity 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. These are the high-severity errors and are also written to the error log. You can get a complete description of all error severities at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms164086.aspx. Note that if you specify @severity, the @message_id must be 0 (and vice-versa).

Happy alerting!

PS And of course you'll need to use the SP sp_add_notification (see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms173843.aspx) to hook the alert to an Operator. Thanks Tibor (who just blogged about how to determine which errors to alert on) – got distracted by email while writing this and forgot to include it!

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