Centipede (Oct/Nov) 2018 Release Overview

The information in this article is the intellectual property of xMatters and is intended only for use with xMatters products by xMatters customers and their employees. Further, this intellectual property is proprietary and must not be reused or resold.

Centipedes, spiders, scorpions, and fleas... this arcade game is so packed with creepy-crawlies, it's an excellent choice for a Halloween-season release! Did you know that Centipede was one of the first arcade games that had a significant female following? Not only that, Dona Bailey, one of the few female game programmers in the industry back in the day, is noted for her contribution to the game's code base!

This release includes exciting new enhancements to xMatters On-Demand's intelligent event management and data retention capabilities. You'll also see that we've made some big updates to our integration and mobile platforms, including the ability to enrich events with data from behind system firewalls, and being able to schedule temporary absences from the mobile app. These are just some of the highlights... so read on for all the details.

Before you dive in to learn about all the improvements, here are some important dates:

  • Non-production environment access: Tuesday, October 30
  • Production environment access: Tuesday, November 13 (triggered between 10-10:30am Pacific)

Sneak Peek

As a special bonus we'll also give you a sneak peek at some enhancements we're working on for a future release:

  • Customized event flood control settings - define your own flood control and suppression rules.
  • Mobile enhancements - log in using a fingerprint or facial recognition and set on-call reminders.

Jump ahead

In a hurry? Here's an overview of this doc if you want to skip ahead to something awesome:

Intelligent Event Management

Over the last year, we've added features to xMatters On-Demand that reduce the amount of noise you receive when an incident occurs, including:

  • Notification Flood Control - prevents over-notification from the same integration during an event.
  • Subscription de-duplication - dynamically sends you the best content based on your role in the communication process and suppresses any duplicate subscription notifications.

In this release, our Intelligent Event Management processes continue to evolve, with the ability to analyze, correlate, and use rule-based filters to suppress incoming duplicate events in real-time.

Event Flood Control

When an event flood happens, the first events to arrive typically contain all the details necessary to identify which of your systems needs attention. Additional events generated during the flood aren't just distracting - they count against your licensed number of events per minute. If you exceed your licensing, xMatters continues to accept your events and queue them for processing at your licensed rate. Greatly exceeding your licensing can cause delays that prevent you from getting timely notifications.

Our latest feature enhancement, Event Flood Control, reduces the number of events that are processed by xMatters when you experience a flood or event storm from one or more of your systems. This feature compares incoming requests to recent events and suppresses similar requests that occur too close in succession to one another.

These suppressed requests don't count against your licensed number of events per minute, allowing other events to flow through xMatters without processing delays.

Availability: Access to this functionality relies on improvements we’re making to our hosting services, which means it will be available for opt-in on different dates depending on your hosting region.

  • Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia, Asia Pacific: Centipede Quarterly Release
  • North and South America: January 2019

Default Flood Control filters

The initial release of this feature lets you opt-in* to a default "Event Rate Filter" for inbound integrations of 4 events per minute for events from the same integration to the same targeted recipients. This default filter is based on our analysis of actual customer event flood data and provides a balance of effective protection against sudden influxes of events, while allowing real event traffic to proceed as normal. This process will remain in effect until the incoming rate of event requests meets or drops below 4 per minute again.

*To enable the default configuration of Event Flood Control for your company, contact xMatters Client Assistance.

FYI - You're experiencing an event flood

How will you know that suppression is occurring? Pretty simple: we'll tell you! When flood control is triggered, the targeted recipients who would otherwise have received a flood of event notifications now receive a single notification from xMatters, and periodic updates while the flood is ongoing.

Here's an example of the initial notification you'll receive when an event flood is detected based on the Event Rate Filter. In this case, xMatters is suppressing events being generated from the "Nethot" communication plan. The suppressed events occur under the event titled "Nethot Alerts" with event ID 59578000:

event-flood-detected-message.png

As long as the flood continues to meet the conditions of the Event Rate Filter, xMatters will send an updated version of this notification every 15 minutes, or for every 1000 suppressed events, whichever occurs first.

We've also updated our Recent Events report to see the details of the flood:

event-report-flood-badge.png

In this example, xMatters received 4 events from the Nethot integration within a one-minute period. Additional events received in this one-minute period meet the conditions of the default Event Rate Filter, which causes suppression to kick in. At this time, xMatters also sends out the initial "Event flood detected" notification.

As highlighted above, any additional requests that meet the conditions of the Event Rate Filter are suppressed beneath the most recently processed event. The stacked icon with a running badge count indicates the number of suppressed requests. You can click this icon to view more information about these suppressed events in a new Suppression report.

Keep me in the loop!

Want to know when event floods are happening in your system? You can create a subscription to get notified when a flood occurs and is ongoing, even if you're not one of the targeted recipients of the event that triggered the flood:

event-flood-subscription.png

When you create the subscription, you can specify the communication plan and integration that you'll be notified about and select the device types that you'd like to receive notifications on.

Suppression report

We've added a new Suppression tab to the parent event that provides detailed information about the requests that were correlated with it. This Suppression report includes the date and time of the:

  • First suppressed event (when the flood was detected)
  • Most recently suppressed request

For each request it gives the following:

  • When the request was suppressed
  • The name of the flood control filter that applied to the request
  • The values of the event properties that match the filter (in sample shown below, “Integration” and “Targeted Recipients”)
  • The priority of the request
  • The initiator of the request
  • A column for each event property and its value

suppression-report.png

It's also possible to use the xMatters REST API to retrieve data about events with a "SUPPRESSED" status using the GET /events endpoint.

Renamed "Notification" Flood Control

To avoid confusion between Event Flood Control and our previously existing Notification Flood Control feature, we've updated the labels in xMatters On-Demand to call the latter by its official name, instead of just "Flood Control". You’ll notice this in the Communication Plan Builder menu on the Developer tab:

notification-flood-control-3.png

For inbound integrations in the Integration Builder:

notification-flood-control-1.png

And for built-in integrations:

notification-flood-control-2.png

Sneak peek: customized event flood control settings

Want to define your own event flood control filters?

Maybe you'd like to do more granular filtering and suppression, such as by alert type (e.g., network issues) or sub-subsystem (e.g., be able to differentiate between the Nagios and Zenoss alerts that are being fed into your Moogsoft monitoring system). Or perhaps you'd like to define different flood threshold parameters, such as >10 'high' priority events every 3 minutes from a specific communication plan.

You'll be happy to know that we're currently working on adding customizable event flood control settings for our upcoming Defender Quarterly Release that allow you to define your own flood control rules, such as:

  • The communication plan or integration you want the filter to apply to.
  • The event properties you'd like to compare to determine if it's a duplicate event.
  • The rate you consider a flood, which is a rolling window of the number of events per time period.
  • How often you'd like to remind recipients that an event flood is occurring.

The following mock-up gives you an idea of what these controls might look like in xMatters On-Demand:

event-flood-control-UI.png

Minimized subscription delivery updates

In the Asteroids Quarterly Release, we introduced an enhancement for subscription notifications that dynamically identifies the best content to send based on your role in the communication process, and automatically suppresses duplicate notifications.

You can read more about the suppression logic here. Essentially, it ensures that primary responders and decision makers only receive directly-targeted notifications, while interested parties and subscribers get a single copy of the content appropriate for their needs (either an 'FYI' notification, or an actionable notification with response options).

Update: de-duplication by device

After releasing this feature, we had feedback that its implementation - which de-duplicates by user - was too restrictive for our customers that use subscriptions extensively to target different device types. For example, users with separate subscriptions set up for their email and SMS devices would only receive a notification on one of those devices.

In this release, we've updated the behavior of this feature to de-duplicate at the device level. This means that now instead of receiving one notification per event, you'll receive one notification per device. To continue receiving just one notification per event, you can update your subscriptions to target a single device type.

Extended Data Retention

We've heard loud and clear that you want greater access to your xMatters data to support root cause analyses, address compliance requirements, and other important processes. With the Centipede Quarterly Release and the launch of our new data retention capabilites, we're now able to begin giving you access to the data that you need!

Historical data

We are now able to greatly extend customer data retention, providing you with improved visibility into your xMatters data via better reports and access to historical on-call, event, and notification history.

It's the start of an 'xMatters Time Machine' that gives xMatters new point-in-time behaviors to look at historical data, such as:

  • What devices did a user have?
  • What was the state of a group and its members?
  • Who was on call?

For the Centipede release, these features support a new All Events report that retains all of your event data, but limits visibility to that data based on your license level so you only pay for the data you need.

Note: You can access historical event data from anytime after the release of this feature. Events created before the Centipede release will not appear in the All Events report.

'All Events' report

Availability:

  • Non-production: Available now
  • Production: November/December (exact date tbd)

The All Events report allows you to view data for all your events. You can use the report to search for events that started 30, 60, or 90 days in the past, or during a specific date and time range:

all-events-report.gif

We've tricked out the All Events report with some great usability features to enhance your experience working with event data:

  • The table columns are movable, so you can order them in the way that works best for you.
  • The columns are sizeable, so you can expand or shrink them to see what you want to see.
  • If you need to scroll horizontally, the first column remains locked, so the most important information stays visible.
  • You can reduce the number of events using filters (initiator or message subject).
  • You can click on the name of an initiator to view their profile card and contact information:

all-events-report-user-card.png

What data is included?

For it's initial release, the All Events report provides basic event data so it's clear who or what started the event, when it was started, and the messaging generated by the event. The report is still building support for different data objects. For now, it includes the following information for each event:

  • Event ID
  • Date and time the event started
  • Initiator
  • Message subject

The Event ID field is a clickable link that takes you to an 'Overview' of basic information about the event (over time, we'll be adding a LOT more information to this page - picture the Report Card on steroids!):

all-events-report-overview2.png

There's also a 'Message' tab that displays the email content when the event was created:

all-events-report-message2.png

This is a great example of the All Event report's 'time machine' capabilities. You can use this report to see the message content exactly as it existed at the time the event was created (unlike the Events report, where the message tab displays the current content of the message form).

'Events report' vs. 'All Events report'

Speaking of the Events report - it still exists, although we've renamed it the "Recent Events" report to better differentiate it from the new All Events report. You'll see both on the Reports tab:

report-name-change.png

The purpose of the Recent Events report continues to be for viewing the most, well, recent events in your system and taking action. You can continue to use it to manage events that are active in xMatters and access key real-time data such as tracking, conferencing, the event log, and the timeline.

Integrations & Development

We love integrations, and we can safely say there's never an xMatters release that doesn't include significant enhancements to our Integration Platform. This release is no exception, as we bring you several new features and enhancements to the Integration Builder, additions to the Integration Directory, and updates to the xMatters REST API.

Integration Builder

The Integration Builder creates integrations between xMatters and other products or systems, letting you easily add an automated, closed-loop integration linking these systems. The main enhancements to the Integration Builder for this release include the ability to enrich events with data from behind your firewall systems by being able to run inbound integrations on xMatters Agents, a 'Targeted recipient failures' trigger for outbound integrations so you can have a Plan B for scheduling issues, and a few small but useful improvements to several other types of outbound integrations.

Enrich events with data from behind the firewall systems

Availability: Now in On-Demand

The xMatters Agent is a service that you install on a local system so that you can process Integration Builder logic behind your company firewall. Previously, the xMatters Agent only supported outbound integration processing to update local systems. As of this quarterly release, the xMatters Agent now supports inbound integrations for on-premise systems that cannot send requests to xMatters directly. It also enables enrichment calls to local systems, gathering additional information about an event from applications like a CMDB before sending the event to xMatters.

Setting things up

In the Integration Builder, you'll see a new configuration control that allows you to select the location of where you'd like your integration to run. To run the integration on one or more of your xMatters Agents, select 'xMatters Agent' as the location, and then select the Agents you'd like to use:

xm-agent-inbound.png

The ability to process inbound integrations is supported by Version 1.3.0 of the xMatters Agent. If you haven't updated your Agent to the latest and greatest, you'll see a message like this asking you to do so:

xm-agent-compatibility.png

Once you've selected - and possibly updated - your Agents, the "How to trigger the integration" section of the inbound integration configuration screen lists the known URL (or URLs) for the Agents. If the local address or hostname for your Agent is different than what's listed, you can replace the IP portion of the URL with the correct value:

xm-agent-trigger.png

Note: It's possible that xMatters may detect multiple URLs for your Agent if the machine it's running on has multiple network interfaces. We'll let you select the URL that will work best for your on-premise system.

Outbound integration "Targeted recipient failures" trigger

The Targeted Recipient Failures trigger for outbound integrations that we told you about in our Breakout Release is now available! We apologize for the delay - there were a few tricky bits that we needed to get right before we rolled it out.

When you select this option for your integration, it'll be triggered whenever xMatters is unable to immediately notify anyone for an event associated with the selected form:

targeted-recipient-failures.png

This is useful if you'd like to be alerted when an event fails to notify any recipients due to group coverage or scheduling issues, or if there's a configuration problem that needs attention. Common next steps could be posting to a chat system for triaging, or creating a new event to a different recipient, like a NOC. The payload for the targeted recipient failures webhook includes the following information:

  • The total number of targeted recipients - the exact number of targeted recipients that could not be notified.
  • The identity of the targeted recipients - the target name, UUID, and type (for example, if they're a user, device, group, or dynamic team) for the first 100 recipients.
  • The type of failure - whether the initial event failed to notify anyone immediately, or if the failure occurred during the escalation process.

We've also updated the Run a script outbound integration default script to demonstrate how you can access information from this new trigger type:

targeted-recipient-failures-script.png

Phased feature roll-out

To help speed accessibility and adoption of the new targeted recipient failures trigger, we’ll be implementing it in phases. The new trigger relies on the improvements we’re making to our hosting services, which means that customers will experience different behavior based on their hosting region.

If you’re hosted in a region where we’ve already updated our service, the trigger will fire whenever xMatters determines that there are no available recipients to notify at any time in the targeting and escalation process. By contrast, if we haven’t completed the upgrades in your region yet, the trigger fires only when xMatters determines that there are no available recipients to notify during the initial targeted notification.

An example would be good right about now...

Let's say you've set up an outbound integration with a targeted recipient failures trigger. A notification targets a group with two users (separated by a five-minute delay), but neither user has a notifiable device. xMatters cannot notify the first user so it triggers the outbound integration. That instance of the trigger will fire for customers in all regions and will show a triggerType of 'INITIAL_EVENT'.

After five minutes, xMatters attempts to notify the second user – and here’s where the behavior is a little different: If you’re in an area where the hosting service has already been upgraded, xMatters will trigger the outbound integration again. If your instance has not been updated, xMatters will not trigger the outbound integration because the user was not one of the initial targets. This same behavior would also apply if the notification timed out or they manually escalated it to the second user. The triggerType in these cases would be 'TIMED_ESCALATION' or 'MANUAL_ESCALATION'.

Various outbound integration improvements

Now that we've gotten those big features out of the way, let's not forget to mention some of the smaller - but still important! - updates we made to improve several different outbound integration types that are available in the Integration Builder.

Device Delivery: add device UUID
The payload for outbound integrations triggered by device delivery includes an outdated numeric ‘deviceID’ property. These days, to do anything interesting with devices using the xMatters REST API you now need to use a device’s UUID. So, we’ve added a new 'deviceUUID' property to the device delivery payload, and we’ve removed references to the deviceID field from the script editor and the sample scripts.

Comment: include reference to response
The payload for outbound integrations triggered by comments on an event does not distinguish whether the comment was added directly to the event by a user or a third-party system, or if it was supplied by a user with their response. For comments added by users with their response, the payload now includes the UUID of the user’s response, allowing you to take different actions with the comment based on their response.

Notification responses: triggered after processing response
We’ve updated the notification responses trigger to fire after the response has been processed. Previously, it was possible for a response integration to fire even though a response was rejected during processing. This update resolves the confusion that some of our customers have experienced, where two users end up with the impression that an issue is being handled by the other user, leaving the issue to go unhandled until escalations or other alerts happened.

Integration Directory

The Integration Directory streamlines the work required to integrate your tools with pre-built integrations that are easy to find, configure, and manage. In this release we continue to enhance our ever-expanding list of packaged and built-in integrations and to maintain their required certifications.

New and updated integrations

This quarterly release adds the following new and updated integrations to the Integration Directory:

integration-logos.png

New integrations

  • Microsoft Teams - We’re excited to offer an xMatters Bot for use with Microsoft Teams. This integration is installed directly from Microsoft Teams and the rest of the xMatters configuration is handled automatically.
    • You can use the xMatters Bot to find xMatters groups, see who’s on call, and invite on-call members to a channel by sending an invitation to their preferred device. Delivery notifications and responses are updated in the Microsoft Teams channel as part of the thread, so the channel is kept informed.
  • Jira Ops - We’ve partnered with Atlassian to launch a new Jira Ops integration using their latest "glance" technology. This integration is an extension of our Jira Cloud add-on, and so it should be immediately familiar to new and existing users. With a streamlined configuration, you can get it up and running in just a few minutes.
    • This integration includes an xMatters glance that provides a quick view of events related to the incident and helps facilitate incident resolution using the ‘Engage with xMatters’ feature. xMatters notification responses, escalations, and comments made by your team members are all recorded in the new Jira Ops timeline, ensuring that you have the most up-to-date status while handling incidents

Other new integrations
Our field teams built the following integrations, which are available in xMatters Labs on GitHub. Although not 'officially supported' integrations, they're a great starting point for those looking to get integrated with the following products:

  • EasyVista - an IT service management platform.
  • Microsoft Azure Monitor - a monitoring service for Microsoft Azure cloud resources and the applications that run on Microsoft Azure.
  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control - software for monitoring and managing enterprise clouds and traditional Oracle IT environments from a single console.
  • Site24x7 - software for visualizing time series data.
  • Terraform - an automation platform that helps transform infrastructure into code.

Updated integrations

  • Jira Server - Jira Server is a platform that teams can use to plan, track, release, and support software. Combined with xMatters, this integration allows teams to automatically communicate with the correct on-call resources to resolve issues faster.
    • We converted our existing packaged integration into a shiny new built-in integration.
    • This integration is built specifically for the self-hosted Jira Server offering. We've created separate xMatters integrations for installations of Jira Cloud (available now) and Jira Data Center (being submitted for certification).
  • ServiceNow 5.1 - This latest version of the xMatters application for ServiceNow is certified for Istanbul, Jakarta, Kingston, and London. Notable updates to this integration include:
    • Updates to the group data sync so that any supervisors you've set up for a group in xMatters are preserved in future data syncs.
    • Improvements to the xMatters configuration page in ServiceNow, including showing you if you've already entered a password, and accepting xMatters hostnames with a backslash at the end.
    • Tidied up configuration settings.

xMatters REST API

We continually enhance our xMatters REST API calls to provide new capabilities and to replace existing SOAP and older REST methods. These calls not only support customer integration needs, they're also the foundation for data access by our mobile clients, the web user interface, and other key xMatters services.

xMatters REST API enhancements

In this release, we've enhanced the xMatters REST API to provide access to more information about communication plans, like forms, response options, shared libraries, and integration constants and endpoints.

Get forms and response options
Communication plan forms let you define the information contained in messages, including response options with actions that recipients can take for an event. You can now use the xMatters REST API to search the forms in your communication plans and retrieve information about a form's recipients and response options:

  • GET /forms - returns a list of the communication plan forms in your xMatters instance.
    • You can use the search query parameter to find forms that match a specific term in their name, description, or both.
    • You can use the embed query parameter to include recipients (if any are defined in the form layout).
  • GET /plans/{planId}/forms - returns the forms for a specific communication plan.
    • This endpoint allows you to embed the response options that are available for each form, in addition to their recipients.
  • GET /plans/{planId}/forms/{formId}/response-options - returns a list of the response options for a form.
    • You can use this endpoint to programmatically retrieve the identifiers for responses on a form, instead of having to manually log into the web user interface and copy them. This streamlines the process of configuring response options when you trigger an event.

Shared libraries
You might be aware that the Integration Builder's shared libraries feature allows you to store common or useful code functions and reference them from any integration in your communication plan. It's now possible to retrieve shared libraries for a comm plan using the xMatters REST API:

For each shared library, the methods above return the:

  • Library name
  • Base64-encoded script source code
  • Name of the communication plan the shared library belongs to

Communication plan constants and endpoints
You can also now use the xMatters REST API to get information about the constants and endpoints in your communication plans. This is great when you want to know the values that are being used for these variables in your integration scripts, or if you'd like details about the authentication methods of your endpoints. Here's how to get the goods:

  • GET /plans/{planId}/constants - returns a list of constants configured for the specified communication plan. For each constant, this API call returns the:
    • Unique identifier of the constant
    • Communication plan the constant belongs to
    • Name of the constant
    • Value of the constant that will be used wherever it appears in integration scripts
    • Description of the constant
  • GET /plans/{planId}/endpoints - returns a list of endpoints configured for the specified communication plan or built-in integration. For each endpoint, this API call returns the:
    • Unique identifier of the endpoint
    • Communication plan the endpoint belongs to
    • Name of the endpoint
    • Base URL of the target system
    • Type of endpoint ('XMATTERS' or 'EXTERNAL')
    • Authentication type configured for the endpoint in xMatters
    • Authenticating user

What's next?

Over the next quarter you can expect to see additional REST web services supporting various activities in xMatters, including:

  • Creating and updating shared libraries
  • Viewing integrations for communication plans
  • Viewing users' subscriptions
  • Viewing, creating, and deleting temporary absences

We'll also be adding a new version of the On-Call endpoint that will be able to see shifts and schedules in the past.

You can learn more about the xMatters REST API in our online help.

Mobile

The major themes for our mobile platform this release are to enable mobile users to adjust their on-call responsibilities without having to log into the xMatters web user interface, and to upgrade our Android app to take advantage of the latest Android notification capabilities. Read on for all the details and for a couple of sneak peeks that are not to be missed!

Add temporary absences from the mobile app

Availability:

  • iOS: Included in Version 3.14 (available now from the App Store)
  • Android: Expected to be available in early 2019.

It's now possible to add temporary absences to your on-call schedule using the xMatters mobile app. To schedule an absence, go to the My Schedule screen in the app and tap the new temporary absence icon (the stopwatch) in the top right corner. Click the following image to take a closer look:

mobile-event-management.png

To configure the absence, provide the start and end dates for when you'll be away, and which groups will be affected. It's now optional to select another user to replace you while you're away - if you don't select one, you'll be taken out of the rotation and your supervisor will be notified so that they can make any necessary shift changes.

For more information about this feature, such as how to add an absence for another user, see our support article Add temporary absences from the xMatters mobile app.

Android 8 updated notification settings

The latest version (v2.13) of our xMatters Android app offers exciting new options for customizing the way you're notified about xMatters events. There are now separate notification channels for each priority of xMatters event - high, medium, and low - which means that you can configure different notification options (including custom sounds) for different categories of xMatters alerts.

Note: These updates apply to Android 8 and later. If you're running an earlier version of Android, your notification settings will remain unchanged.

android-customize-alerts.png

Want to know more?

For all the details about these new notification settings, see our support article, New notification workflow and options for Android 8 users.

Sneak peek: on-call reminders

On-call reminders is a much-requested feature and we've experienced delays in getting it to market. After an initial implementation, we had to completely re-architect how we do on-call notifications. While our competitors deal with 10-50 user systems, we have customers with over 300k users and 15k groups - being able to set an arbitrary number of on-call reminders for users is quite a performance challenge!

With the development of our new data retention and a dedicated on-call reminder service to generate the reminders, we expect to see this feature available in our Defender release, if not sooner!

mobile-on-call-reminder.png

Sneak peek: biometrics as passcode

If you've been using a smart phone for a while, there's a good chance you've encountered the ability to use your fingerprint for authentication. Recently, facial recognition has also become a popular way to sign into your device and many of your favorite apps.

Our mobile teams are investigating the best way we can implement this functionality in our xMatters mobile apps, so that users can use their biometric signature (AKA their fingerprint or face ID) as an alternative sign-in method to a 4-digit passcode.

There are some important privacy and security concerns that we need to take into account, but we hope to bring you this functionality in a not-so-distant release. Stay tuned!

biometrics.png 

Other Product Updates

In case all the above wasn't enough for you, this release includes some other great product updates that we think you're going to find very useful.

Daylight Saving Time warnings

Whenever the clocks change to adjust to the start and end of Daylight Saving Time, we get asked why there are suddenly gaps and overlaps in our customers' group schedules. This mysterious behavior occurs when a group contains shifts in different time zones that don't adjust to DST changes on the same date.

Now that we're in DST season, you'll be happy to know that we've introduced new behavior into xMatters to warn you when you've got shifts in different time zones, so that you can prepare for any coverage gaps (or overlaps) that might occur in your schedule.

You'll see this on the Daily, Weekly, and Monthly calendar view:

DST-warning-message.png

And on the shift details screen:

DST-warning-message-2.png

You can read more about this enhancement in our support article, Spring forward, Fall back.

Note: You'll be able to dismiss DST warnings with the 5.5.234 release of On-Demand. See you again in March!

Temporary Absence updates

Over the course of the Centipede release, we implemented several of the updates to Temporary Absences that we mentioned were coming when we unveiled this feature in the Breakout Release. These included the following:

Stay in the loop when your on-call schedule changes
When you or a supervisor add a temporary absence to your schedule, xMatters lets the following people know:

  • Your supervisor
  • The supervisors of any groups that are affected
  • The user that's replacing you (if one was selected)

If you added the absence, then you obviously know when it's taking place - but what if your supervisor added it to your schedule? To keep you in the loop about changes to your on-call schedule, we've updated the Temporary Absence feature to notify you as well when someone else adds an absence to your schedule.

See who's absent from a group
Group supervisors need an accurate representation of who's on call, so we improved the shift information displayed on the group Overview and in the Who's on Call report. Both will now show when a user is absent, and who their replacement is (if they have one).

Here's an example of a temporary absence on the Group Overview screen:

absences-group-overview.png

And, here's the same shift displayed in the Who's On Call report:

absences-WOC.png

Remove escalation delays for absent users
We've updated the web user interface to remove delays associated with absent users that are displayed in the Group calendar and Who's On Call report. (The functionality of xMatters was already updated to skip these delays and automatically continue to the next on-call user - but we still needed to remove this text from the UI.)

Note: We've made an exception to this for when a delay before an absent user is at the start of the escalation timeline.

Get notified if there's an empty shift
When multiple users set up temporary absences, it can result in an empty shift. That's not good for any business! Now if your temporary absences results in no one on call, you'll receive a warning in the web user interface, and the group supervisor will be notified so they can ensure there's appropriate coverage:

no-on-on-call-warning.png

no-on-on-call-email.png

Stay logged in during product updates

Previously, whenever we'd perform maintenance or make updates to xMatters On-Demand, you'd get logged out of the system and need to sign back in. That was really annoying. The great news is that as of this release, it's no longer an issue.

Early Access Program & feature delivery update

The goal of our current delivery model for xMatters On-Demand is to balance feature delivery with customer change management processes. This means providing visibility into upcoming changes for customers that want it, while allowing other customers to have a more standard non-production environment that matches production.

If you aren't familiar with the current model, we release features that are only visible to admins/developers at a faster pace than the quarterly release process. These features should not impact end users until a customer provisions them into their communication plan. Customers can opt their non-production environments into the Early Access Program to see features and functionality enhancements that impact end users before they're released on a quarterly basis. All customer non-production environments are updated two weeks prior to official quarterly production release to allow for testing and training on new features.

We regularly reevaluate and improve our deployment processes to ensure they reflect industry best practices and customer feedback. For more information about our deployment process, see our On-Demand Deployment Process and Early Access article. We'll update that document whenever we make a change, and let you know about the change through other appropriate channels.

Have more questions? Submit a request

5 Comments

  • 0
    Avatar
    Doug Peete

    The new All Events report is enabled for all customers in all production environments

    All customer's event data will now be retained indefinitely. Visibility is controlled by your license level and is greatly expanded for all license levels. You can increase your window of visibility at any time, with the current license levels have the following windows:

    • Free – 90 days
    • Starter – 1 year
    • Base – 1 year
    • Advanced – Unlimited

    We are nearly there on all of our Centipede commitments... the final feature, the Microsoft Teams bot, is working its way through Microsoft certification. It will be the easiest to install integration we've ever put in our Integration Directory. We'll update when that is available... and then see you all in February for the Defender release (pew pew).

  • 0
    Avatar
    Anthony Joyes

    The teams bot will be welcomed, for sure!  

  • 0
    Avatar
    Doug Peete

    Update on the extended data retention and the new All Events report: we'll be enabling that in European and Asia-Pacific production environments on Monday.

    North American enablement is still in progress and we'll provide updates as we go.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Doug Peete

    Thanks Anthony!

    Current status of the release:

    Inbound xAgent support (aka "Enrich events with data from behind the firewall systems" is now live in all production environments.

    We are expecting the extended data retention to go live in non-prods this week. We will seed your data warehouse with all of your existing history currently available in your Events report. (Empty data warehouses are boring).

    The Event Rate Filters (aka "Event Flood Control") are available for customers in our EMEA and APAC regions - simply log a support ticket if you'd like that enabled.

    And the xMatters Bot for Microsoft Teams is going through Microsoft certification as we speak, and is expected to be available before the end of the month.

    All other updates are live in production!

  • 0
    Avatar
    Anthony Joyes

    As ever, some really good updates - great news

Article is closed for comments.
Powered by Zendesk