Staying Up to Date with Email Notifications

Version: Deadline 7.0 and later

Introduction

For farm administrators, staying up to date on the status of render jobs, or the render farm in general, is important. Email notifications are a tool that Deadline offers to help you and the artists stay up to date. Deadline can send these notifications when jobs change state, or when there are circumstances that affect your render farm.

The nature of the notifications can vary from failures to successes, but receiving them can help you stay on top of your workload in a busy environment. For example, let's say one of the artists is waiting for a long running job to finish. Instead of having to constantly check if their job is complete, which can be tedious and destracting, Deadline can simply notify them via email when their job is done.

Configuring Your Email Notifications Account

Before Deadline can send emails, you have to do a bit of technical setup. In the Deadline Monitor, enter Super User Mode, and then select Tools > Configure Repository Options. Then select the Email Notification section. Without any prior setup, you'll see this:

The SMTP Server is the name of your email server. This will vary depending on the email service provider you are using. For example, this could be a public email server, or your company's internal server.

The Sender Account is the email account that the notifications will be sent from. It might be ideal to have a dedicated email account used specifically for sending Deadline email notifications, as it could make it easier for recipients to organize notification emails in their Inbox.

Depending on whether or not the email service uses SSL/TLS, the Port number could vary. The typical ports that are used by SMTP servers are 25 (standard) or 465 (SSL/TLS-enabled).

In most cases, SMTP Server Requires Authentication will be checked. This indicates that Deadline will need to use email account credentials to send emails from the Sender Account. The User Name and Password fields are your credentials for authenticating with the SMTP Server and will allow Deadline to send emails on the Sender Account's behalf.

Now that you've specified the technical details, you can verify your settings by sending a test email to a designated email address. Specify the email address that will receive the verification email in the Send Email To field. The Timeout Seconds indicates how long Deadline should wait for the email verification to succeed. Now you can click the Send button to send the verification.

If everything goes smoothly, the results will show "Success!", and the specified recipient should receive an email with the subject "Deadline Email Notification Test".

Excellent! You've now configured Deadline with your email service!

A Backup Plan

While configuring Deadline with your email service, you may have noticed that there is an additional Secondary SMTP Server tab in your Email Notification menu that is nearly identical to the Primary SMTP Server tab. You may have already guessed what this is for.

Things don't always go as planned, and email notifications are no exception. Let's say for example the SMTP server that you configured Deadline to use is, for some reason, not operational when Deadline tries to send an email through it. The reliability of email notifications is important, and as such Deadline can be configured with a fallback Secondary SMTP Server. The fallback is used when Deadline encounters a problem sending an email through the Primary SMTP Server, giving you some assurance for those unlucky days.

Configuring your fallback email service in Deadline is exactly the same as configuring your primary email service; the difference would likely be the SMTP server that is used to send the email.

Artist Notifications

Now that you've enabled Deadline to send emails, the artists will need to configure their User Settings to receive them. Arists can do this themselves in the Monitor by selecting Tools > Options. This opens the Configure Monitor Options dialog, and they can select User Settings from the list on the left to configure their notifications.

First, they will need to specify their Email Address and set Send Email Notifications to True. These settings can be found in the Notification Settings area. When the Send Email Notifications option is enabled, the Notification Types checkboxes will become configurable. These represent the job events the user wants to receive notifications for.

In this case, Ronald only wants to be notified when there are issues with his jobs. Now email notifications will be sent to Ronald whenever one of his jobs fails, generates too many errors (warning), or times out.

Let's Spam Our Administrators

The other option for sending notifications brings us back to Configure Repository Options > Email Notification, where you configured your SMTP server settings. The two sections to look at here are Notifications and Power Management.

Both of these sections contain fields for specifying email addresses that will receive notifications for the corresponding circumstance. For example, email addresses specified in the Job Failed field will receive emails for every job that fails. Similarly, email addresses specified in the Stalled Applications field will receive emails for every Deadline application that isn't responding (Slave, Pulse, Balancer, ect). If you start receiving a lot of Job Failed or Stalled Applications email notifications, there is likely a major problem with the farm that needs your attention!

Some Final Words

It is worthy of mention that email notifications can be initiated by any Deadline application, and is based on the circumstance for which the notification is sent. For example, email notifications sent when a job is completed are initiated by the Deadline Slave application that actually completed the job. In addition, stalled application emails are initiated by the Deadline application (Slave or Pulse) that performed the housecleaning operation.

Once you've got the technical details out of the way, it's easy to quickly set up email notifications to keep you and the artists up to date. If you've got the gist of this but want to explore some of the options in more detail, all of this information can be found in the Deadline documentation.

Here are a couple user manual references that may be useful when setting up your notifications: