Common sources of Alert fatigue for your SRE team

Common sources of Alert fatigue for your SRE team

Below, I have listed the five sources that can create alert fatigue for your SRE team and stop them from attending to real issues.  

Non-Relevant Alerts  

Services not underuse, a project that has been decommissioning, and system components lying idle all contribute to creating irrelevant alerts. It is essential to turn off the alerts at the source. The alerts can trigger sets of notifications that jam your inbox and come from various tools and systems that had been erstwhile employed in the projects or services that have been laying off. Periodic infrastructure audit for finding out all such and putting off the alerts can help the SRE team get off the alert fatigue.  

Fewer priority alerts  

Some alerts provide more context for preemptive incident management and are not directly related to the core system’s availability and performance. These alerts don’t add any value in short-term or day-to-day work but can record and configure to identify the root cause of many incidents and events.  

Flapping alerts  

An alert is said to be flapping when it changes states multiple times in an hour. A specific event repeatedly triggers the same alert in a short period creating a distraction for your SRE team. Though these alerts indicate the growing problems with your systems, they cause unrelated issues to pile up in flapping alerts notifications, often hiding essential issues.  

Duplicate alerts  

Duplicate alerts or the same alerts for the events are a cause of distraction for the SRE team. It is an outcome of faulty monitoring configuration of alerts.  

It needs to be accessed upon the four parameters to determine whether an alert is good for the SRE team.  

Arrival on Time– It needs to check whether the alert arrived on time or arrived too long after the event to be considered useful  

Delivery– It needs to check whether the alert was routed or delivered to the correct team or personnel concerned with solving the problem  

Alert description– It needs to be assessed whether the alert description was helpful and clearly described the incident and the resolution steps to be taken or whether it was generic and unhelpful.  

Actionable– It needs to be assessed whether the alert was something that the team or the SRE engineer worked on or just acknowledged by the engineer.  

The SRE team for effective functioning can segregate the alerts into  

  1. Reactive alerts– This generally comprises SLA-based alerts. These alerts are triggered when your business objectives are at immediate risk.  
  1. Proactive alerts– These alerts are triggered if your business goals are at risk in the future  
  1. Investigative alerts– These alerts are triggered to help ward off immediate risks and failure of the system and compromise some of the future business objectives  

Unactionable alerts lead to burnout of your SRE engineers and create a lot of noise.  

Whatever the alerting systems, an SRE team needs to ensure that all the systems and processes are monitor as a whole across the four golden signals of latency, traffic, errors, and saturation. 

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