The release of vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager 8.6 contained a new feature that may have flown under your radar, but I believe is a great addition to an already great product. Introducing Outbound Notifications!

Introducing Outbound Notifications

This new feature enables you to configure Lifecycle Manager to send you notifications to a specified Microsoft Teams channel, Slack channel or by email. Notifications triggers can be selected through the Lifecycle Manager UI so you can have as many or as few as you need.

TriggersNotification Type   
Product UpdatesUpdates
Patches
Support Packs
LicensesHealth
CertificatesHealth
Environment HealthHealth
Others???

Note that you can break down notifications about Product Updates into 3 distinct categories, allowing for more granular notification setup. The other triggers are all encompassing. The other trigger I am not 100% sure what this covers, but believe this will cover the remaining item notifications, shown under the notification bell icon in the user interface, such as VCF notifications, Health Notifications for vRealize Suite Products and Identity Manager Health Notification [editor comment: hopefully we will be able to confirm sometime soon, right?].

Give me my notifications

As previously mentioned, you have three methods to receive notifications. If you want to setup notifications via a Teams or Slack channel, then VMware provide some decent instructions on how to do so. I’m going to opt for notifications by email, mainly because it also highlights the addition of the SMTP configuration open in settings.

SMTP and Outbound Notifications are configured from within the Settings page of the LifeCycle Manager appliance

Configuration

It goes without saying that there are some prerequisite requirements to configure everything up properly. To configure notifications by email you will need the following details

  • SMTP address & port number for your mail server
  • SSl/TLS settings (or none if your server supports nothing!) for your mail server
  • Authentication details, i.e. username and password for authentication, if your mail server requires them
    • note: If your mail server requires authentication, create a new password entry in the LifeCycle Manager Locker, containing the username and password to use
  • Recipient email address (or addresses) to receive the email notifications

There is one more final requirement which when stated will seem very obvious! Your Lifecycle Manager appliance will need access to the internet (through a configured proxy server is ok). Without internet access, your LifeCycle Manager appliance cannot check for updates from VMware, therefore, you will never receive any notifications for anything you configure.

Step One: Setup SMTP

If you have the details for your SMTP server then configuring is simple. When you have entered all the details, ensure you send a test email message to ensure that everything is working as expected. Don’t forget to hit save!

Configure your SMTP server settings and ensure that everything works by sending a test email

 

 

Step Two: Selection Your Notification Triggers

Now you have the SMTP configuration resolved, it is time to configure what notifications we want emailed to us. Head into Settings -> Outbound Notifications. Select a frequency (I am using DAILY whilst testing) and enter your recipients list. Select the notification triggers you want and hit save.

Step Three: Sit Back and Wait!

Eventually emails will start to arrive in your inbox.

Example email received following SMTP and Outbound Notification configuration

 

BUT…

As great as this is, there are a few bits missing here (please VMware, add some of these to your roadmap)

  • You can only configure this once. What you have just configured is it. You can edit and you can change, but you can only have one configuration [editor comment: one configuration to rule them all Bilbo]
  • Daily, weekly or monthly occurrence – can we please have a custom schedule? How about first day of the month, or every other day?
  • Expand on the ‘other’ notifications so we really know what we will be getting?

Ultimately this is a great step in the right direction, but if we can eventually have product update notifications going to our operational teams and license health updates going to our licensing team, then I can see an even greater future benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

paul_davey

CIO at Sonar, Automation Practice Lead at Xtravirt and guitarist in The Waders. Loves IT, automation, programming, music

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