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opEvents provides two mechanisms to handle repeated event occurrences in a practical fashion, namely stateful event deduplication and programmable event suppression.

Stateful Deduplication and Flaps

All events that are related to stateful entities (e.g. a node which can be in state up or down, an interface etc.) are automatically checked against the recent history of events and the known previous state of this entity. If the new  event reports the same state as the already known one, then the new event is suppressed completely: no event record is created  (except for raw logging, if that is enabled).

In practice this means that when there are multiple reports of a "Node down" around the same time, then only the first event will show up on the opEvents dashboard. This type of deduplication is essential for dealing with event storms; it is therefore always active and non-adjustable.

Related to that is the concept of a Flap, which in opEvents is defined as a transition sequence from state up to down and back up within a short time frame. opEvents uses the configuration option state_flap_window to define this window, by default 90 seconds.

In a flap situation the up event is marked as flap (by setting the flap property to 1) and as associated with the down event (using the eventids or stateful_eventids property). In versions up to 2.2.1, the up event's name is always changed to "<state entity> Flap"; newer versions of opEvents support the config option opevents_flap_name, which lets you specify a template (which can contain node.Xevent.Y and macro.Z placeholders, e.g. "event.event for event.stateful - Flap").

The interaction between down and up events in a flap situation can be fine-tuned using the configuration option opevents_no_action_on_flap (default: "true").

  • When set to "true" opEvents will automatically acknowledge the related down event and set the down event's action_required to false. This causes any actions defined in policies for the down event to be stopped (including escalation actions). The down event is thus closed and disposed of on receiving the up event.
  • On the other hand, if opevents_no_action_on_flap is false, then the down event is not modified in any way and remains open when a flap is detected; it is thus trackable independent of the up event.

Involved Event Properties

This section outlines certain internal details, mostly relevant If you are using a custom parser to feed opEvents.

Stateful event handling relies on three core event properties: statefulelement and state.

  • The stateful property indicates the type of state source, and is a free-form string.
    For example, if the event is related to an interface, stateful should be set to "Interface"; if it's about a service, the value "Service" would be most appropriate, etc.
    You may use any state source type you want in your parser rules, but avoid overloading already existing ones like  "Node" and "Interface".
  • The  element property indicates which (of potentially many) state sources the event relates to.
    For state type interface, a unique interface identifier should be used (i.e. the ifDescr).
    Like above your parser rules may capture or set the element to anything you desire, as long as the combination of node name, stateful and element is a suitably unique identifier for the particular stateful thing you're trying to track.
  • The state property indicates whether the observed state is "good" or "bad".
    opEvents treats the values  up, okgoodnormal or closed as "good", anything else as "bad".
    This comparison is made case-insensitively, i.e. "Good" will work just as well as "OK".

For state tracking opEvents then combines the node name and the values of stateful and element into a lookup key, and associates that key with the state value.
Any repeat events with the same lookup key and the same state value are ignored.

Programmable Suppression

To provide fine-grained control of how to handle repeated events of any kind, opEvents also supports programmable event suppression. Using this facility the administrator can define flexible rules for when to suppress repeat events, based on the recent event history and some further refinement criteria. Please note, however, that programmable suppression is available only for classes or groups of events and cannot be enabled specifically for a single node only.

The configuration file EventRules.nmis can contain any number of user-defined event synthesis and suppression directives given in a simple, almost self-explanatory format.

A suppression rule consists of:

  • a rule name, which is for display purposes only when suppression is concerned,
  • a list of events (more precisely, their names), which are the events to consider for suppression,
  • an optional list of groupby clauses, which define whether thresholds are to be interpreted globally for all named events, or separately within smaller groups,
  • a window parameter, which defines the time window to examine,
  • optional delayedaction and autoacknowledge parameters (in opEvents 2.0.4 and newer),
  • and a suppress clause with a min and/or a max occurrence parameter.

Note that this configuration file can also contain rules for Event Synthesis, which differ just slightly (they have a count parameter and no suppress clause).

Here is an example rule:

All such rules are applied independently to an event (until one indicates suppression or the end of the rule list is reached).

All named events that are listed in a suppression rule and which have occurred in the preceding window seconds are checked and counted together. Listing multiple events in one rule will lump them together as far as the occurrence counting is concerned. These recent events will then be apportioned to groups if groupby is used, and then the event count is compared to the min/max occurrence parameters. If the count is above min and below max, then the new event is marked as a duplicate (of the oldest event that was counted) and has its action_checked property set to 1 which prevents any future policy actions (e.g. escalations) from being executed; the event is nevertheless shown in the opEvents GUI.

If the suppression clause contains no min parameter, then a minimum of 1 is assumed. If no max is present, then infinity is used. Both min and max include the current event, so a min of 2 will suppress the first and further repeats.

Delaying and Closing of Trigger Events

In opEvents 2.0.4 and newer, suppression rules can optionally specify a number for the  delayedaction property, to delay all policy action processing for potential trigger events. If the criteria for suppression are met within the delay period, then all action processing will be aborted and skipped for these suppressed events. If the autoacknowledge property is also set, then the suppression includes not just aborting action processing but also marking the event as acknowledged.

Grouping

If no groupby clause is present, then the set of matching events is counted directly, which may be too generic for many common scenarios. For example suppressing events for a particular customer or service group wouldn't be possible. Grouping solves this problem: the set is split into groups with matching property values and the thresholds are applied to those groups.

The groupby clause has the form of a list of node.X or event.Y property specifications (e.g. node.customer or node.group), which are used to group events into buckets for counting: only events that share the same values for all the listed grouping properties will be counted together. For example, the groupby clause [ 'node.customer', 'event.priority' ] would cause this suppression rule to be applied independently for all combinations of customer and event priority. The clause given in the example block above will suppress 2-8 node configuration events for any individual node within 120 seconds; without the groupby repeat node configuration events would be suppressed regardless of where they happened.

The common node properties are listed here, and the standard event properties are documented on this page.

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