Email form initiation issues

We've received reports that some customers are struggling with the email form initiation feature in xMatters. If this includes you, then hopefully this article will help.

Symptoms

The main issue seems to be that, after configuring the form in the web user interface with the appropriate details and settings, you send an email to the appropriate address and... nothing happens. The form is not triggered, and the event doesn't get created in xMatters.

Cause

The most likely reason for this is that your SMTP server is configured to allow CNAME expansion for email addresses. With this feature enabled, the email server can sometimes change the "to" address for emails when routing them to their destination.

To trigger a form in xMatters via email, you must send an email (from an email address belonging to a user that has permission to initiate the event) to an address matching the following format:
<recipient>@<formID>.<company>.xmatters.com

But with the CNAME expansion option enabled, an email sent to 
mmcbride@traveladvisory.example.xmatters.com 
might be changed during transit through your email server to something more like
mmcbride@us1-west-1.mail_traveladvisory.example.xmatters.com.

Solution

To resolve this issue, you'll need to work with your IT team to disable the CNAME expansion feature or setting on your SMTP email server.

As an example, here's a description of the CNAME expansion setting on a Sendmail email server (from the Sendmail documentation):

confDONT_EXPAND_CNAMES	DontExpandCnames
					[False] If set, $[ ... $] lookups that
					do DNS based lookups do not expand
					CNAME records.  This currently violates
					the published standards, but the IETF
					seems to be moving toward legalizing
					this.  For example, if "FTP.Foo.ORG"
					is a CNAME for "Cruft.Foo.ORG", then
					with this option set a lookup of
					"FTP" will return "FTP.Foo.ORG"; if
					clear it returns "Cruft.FOO.ORG".  N.B.
					you may not see any effect until your
					downstream neighbors stop doing CNAME
					lookups as well.

More information

For a more thorough explanation of CNAME expansion, check out these SMTP articles from IETF.org:

(To save you a little time, the money quote appears to be this one: The lookup first attempts to locate an MX record associated with the name. If a CNAME record is found instead, the resulting name is processed as if it were the initial name.)

You can check the online help for more information about all of our integration options, including the email form initiation feature - though we highly recommend you try out the more reliable, customizable, and feature-rich inbound integrations available through the Integration Builder.

 

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