Alex Kuretz at MediaSmartServer.Net has released an update to his popular Remote Notification add-in. The new version is 1.5 and introduces some new functionality. The full version will cost $15USD and the Lite version, with the same feature set as the current 126.96.36.199 release, remains free of charge. A 30 day trial period will allow you to assess the value of the extra features in your implementation before you buy, and a secured licensing model ensures the safety of your personal information used for licensing.
Remote Notification is an add-in that allows the home server to forward alerts and error messages to predetermined email or SMS texting address. This is particularly handy if you are providing remote administration for a home server. I’ve personally run this application for about two years and recommend it as required for new installations. It is very convenient to have the server tell you when there are issues.
Here’s what Alex has to say about features:
Remote Notification lets you proactively monitor your Home Server in the following ways:
- Receive your Home Server health alerts in your email inbox
- Receive your Home Server health alerts on your mobile phone¹
- Control the health alerts that are sent based upon severity level
- Control the health alerts that are sent with custom text filters
- Control when health alerts are sent with Notification Schedules (Do Not Disturb)
- Send the alerts to as many recipients as you want
- Easy setup of your email settings with SMTP Presets
- Be confident that your server is functioning properly with Daily Reports via email
- Monitor your Home Server health alerts via RSS Feed
- View your Home Server’s health alert history for alerts you may have missed
¹ Requires that your mobile provider offers an SMS Gateway. Regular text messaging fees will apply based upon your service provider and plan.
For this release, new features were added that require the purchase of a license to use. The differences between the lite and registered versions are summarized here:
|Supports Email and SMS Recipients|
|Daily Email Reports|
|RSS Feed of Active Notifications|
|Notification Schedules (Do No Disturb)|
The daily report is very useful. It’s divided into a summary section, which gives an overview of the server and any active notifications, and a detailed section. The detailed section shows the detail of any active warning notifications as well as detail about each client’s backup and health status. Finally, a roster of installed add-in’s, including version information, is provided. At a glance, you can see everything that has been installed on the server. Remote Notification sends out this report each day after the conclusion of the backup window. The RSS feed shows details of any active notifications. If you use RSS on your PC or smartphone, this could be an interesting way to see any active server notifications. Exclude Filters allow you to set up exclusions to what notifications are forwarded based on keywords and is a handy way to minimize the number of unwanted notifications. The Do Not Disturb setting ensures that messages are not sent out during set times of the day, handy if you sleep in the same room with your phone. If you enable this feature, the application will not send notifications until outside the blackout window. No more text messages at 3:30am waking you up!
For this release, Alex put together a very comprehensive online documentation repository. You can see it at http://www.remotenotification.com/documentation/. This ensures that you always have access to the latest documentation and help files, and allows the developer to provide very detailed tutorials. I hope to see more of this type of online documentation in other commercial add-in releases.
Installation is like any other add-in:
- Download the add-in here;
- Save to the Software\Add-ins folder on your home server;
- Log onto your WHS console;
- Select Settings;
- Select Add-ins;
- Click on the Available tab;
- Click on the Install button under Remote Notification.
If you are currently running Remote Notification 188.8.131.52, uninstall before installing this version. Alex has implemented a migration feature which should import the settings that you are currently using in 184.108.40.206 to make it easier to upgrade. Simply click on Remote Notification Settings on the Remote Notification tab in the console and follow the prompts to migrate settings.
Alex documents the following steps to use when configuring Remote Notification in his Quick Start Guide:
Follow these steps and you’ll be up and running in minutes.
Highly detailed tutorials are available for each step required to configure and use Remote Notification.
SMTP settings page:
Add email recipients:
Adding SMS and Report recipients works the same way, but instead of choosing Email in Recipient Type, choose SMS or Report.
I was part of the beta testing team for this application, and had a front-row seat to watch this add-in progress. (Full Disclosure Alert: I received a full license at no charge in return for my testing efforts.) As such, I’ve had plenty of time to use the new version. The daily report of server status is very useful; at a glance, I know my uptime, remaining OS partition space, the status and date/time of the last backup of each machine on my network and a complete inventory of loaded add-in’s, including versions. If I were managing several servers remotely, that report alone would be worth the cost! In addition, the RSS feed is convenient, and I also value being able to load extra recipients into the texting/email notification function. My wife appreciates the Do Not Disturb window; no more waking her up in the middle of the night with SMS messages from the server. I’ve been very happy with the new features and recommend that you use the 30 day trial to see if you agree that the extra features are worth it.
Remote Notification Add-in DownloadRemote Notification Website Remote Notification Documentation
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