Using Mobile Phone email addys for monitoring

Matthew Palmer mpalmer at
Thu Sep 6 21:30:37 UTC 2007

On Thu, Sep 06, 2007 at 01:46:18PM -0700, Rick Kunkel wrote:
> For instance, if an application fails to contact a certain service on a
> certain server, it sends an email (through it's own SMTP service, to avoid
> a chicken-and-egg prob if/when our main SMTP service fails) to


> Is SMTP to a mobile phone a fundamentally flawed way to do this?
> Anyone else have any issues, past or present, with this kind of thing?

Consider what other points of failure there are for your notification
e-mails, other than your main SMTP server.  I've got:

* Failure of your Internet link
* DNS failure at your end
* SMTP failure at the other end
* Failure of *their* Internet link
* Some sort of SMTP blacklisting at their end

There's probably some I've missed there, too.

Notification of outages needs to be as robust as possible, and SMTP to an
off-site location is about as fragile as they come these days.  The only
thing I spec for SMS notifications is a GSM modem physically connected to
the monitoring box.  There's still points of failure, but they're a lot
fewer than SMTP to some third party.

True paranoids (as we all should be) monitor their monitoring box, and it
might be permissible to use an SMTP to SMS gateway for that monitoring, as
long as you're monitoring all the appropriate things so that wide-scale
failures (such as power loss) still get to you via your GSM modem (mmm,
local UPSen).

- Matt
Professional Paranoid

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