Tip: Configure a Fail-Safe Operator for Notifications

When things go wrong with notification, operators do not get notified and problems might not be corrected in a timely manner. To prevent this, you might want to designate a fail-safe operator. The fail-safe operator is notified in the following situations:

  • SQL Server Agent cannot access system tables in the msdb database, which is where operator definitions and notification lists are stored.
  • All pager notifications to designated operators have failed, or the designated operators are off duty (as defined in the pager schedule).

To configure a fail-safe operator:
1. Right-click the SQL Server Agent entry in SQL Server Management Studio, and then select Properties.
2. In the SQL Server Agent Properties dialog box, select the Alert System page.
3. Select Enable Fail-Safe Operator to define a fail-safe operator.
4. Use the Operator drop-down list to choose an operator to designate as the fail-safe operator. You can reassign the fail-safe duty by selecting a different operator, or you can disable the feature by clearing Enable Fail-Safe Operator.
5. Use the Notify Using check boxes to determine how the fail-safe operator is notified.
6. Click OK.

Using the fail-safe operator on pager notification failure might seem strange, but it is a good way to ensure that alerts are handled efficiently. E-mail and net send messages almost always reach their destination—but the people involved are not always watching their mail or sitting at their computer to receive net send messages, so the fail-safe operator is a way to guarantee notification.

From the Microsoft Press book Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Administrator's Pocket Consultant.

Looking for More Tips?

For more SQL Server Tips, visit the TechNet Magazine SQL Server Tips page.

For more Tips on other products, visit the TechNet Magazine Tips index.