July 24, 2019 By Andy Wachs 3 min read

Based on your feedback, we are excited to bring you new improvements to email notifications.

Frustrated from receiving so many status and announcement emails cluttering your inbox? Wishing you could acquire this information at your convenience and without having to search for the right links?

Well, IBM is pleased to inform you that new improvements are now available to our ordering, maintenance, incident, and announcement notification email process. These changes are being made in response to your feedback that the dissemination of status information and announcements from IBM Cloud can be cumbersome, intrusive, and unmanageable.

Four (4) areas of improvements being made immediately to IBM Cloud notifications 

1. Improved readability

Up until this change, email notifications for IBM Cloud infrastructure were formatted in plaintext. Now, most (and, shortly, all) emails are formatted in HTML. The emails are more readable and important information is more easily discernible. We are also now including clickable links for performing relevant functions, like changing email preferences and visiting the Events and Ordering pages to obtain status information

Benefits who: All users

2. Improved control 

In the past, IBM Cloud took the position that most customers needed to receive immediate notification for most events. We began to receive your feedback that the email volume was becoming disruptive. At the same time, we improved our design and scope of the status dashboard available to customers, adding more information and better organizing the information for faster comprehension.  

We embarked on a journey, initially, to provide greater control for you to be able to specify how you want to receive status information, enabling you to specify your email preference per severity or impact level (shown at the end of this blog) so you can decide which emails you want to receive.

For example, you can choose to receive “Severity 1” incident notification emails, while also choosing to suppress lower-severity incident emails. However, you can still view all notifications in the IBM Cloud Console regardless of your email settings. 

We are now taking the next step, informed by how frequently most of you are suppressing email notifications over the nine months since the expanded controls were put in place. In the past, the default setting was to send email notifications, requiring you to “opt-out” if you wanted suppression. We are now changing the default to an “opt-in” setting, which will require you to explicitly indicate those types and categories for which you would like to receive email notifications. Note: High severity/importance events will continue to be defaulted for you to receive, and you will explicitly have to suppress emails for these events if so desired.

Remember, you can change your preference at any time (add or remove suppression by Type and Severity), and all events—regardless of email preference—are posted to your Cloud Console account.

Benefits who: Only new users (i.e., we will NOT change the current settings for existing users, but when you add new users, they will inherit the new default setting)

3. Reduced replication

In the interest of keeping you well-informed with frequent updates, it is not unusual for IBM Cloud to send several email notifications for each relevant event affecting your cloud resources. We learned from your feedback that most of your users do not need this service, and they feel interrupted by the cluster created in your email inbox. 

So, going forward, we are changing our default distribution strategy. We will continue to send the original notification email in accordance with your preference. Email notifications will no longer be sent for updates to event notifications, but both the original and all update notifications will be posted to the Cloud Console account. We are now including the following in the original email notification for fast access:

Benefits who: All users

4. Reduced clutter

We have received feedback from many Master Users that they do not desire to receive emails for Orders and Provisioning transactions placed by users on their account, as long as the information is available in the Control Console for subsequent access. IBM Cloud will no longer send email confirmations to Master Users informing them of ordering or provisioning transactions placed by their users. The users themselves will receive email notifications in accordance with their preference setting for that transaction type. All such transactions will continue to be posted to the Orders page in the console.

Benefits who: Master Users

Event importance ratings

Below are the importance ratings that will be included in all email notifications. 

Maintenance

  • High: Maintenances that will, or are likely to, cause service outages and disruptions.
  • Medium: Maintenances that will, or are likely to, cause brief service outages and disruptions or extended service outages or disruptions to a subset of the service.
  • Low: Maintenances with no service disruption during or after the maintenance.

Incident

  • Severity 1: Business critical functionality is inoperable or critical interface is failed. This severity usually applies to a production environment and indicates that an inability to access services is leading to a critical impact on operations
  • Severity 2: A service feature or function is severely restricted in its use.
  • Severity 3: Functionality exists but the user interface could function better, which precludes any non-essential functions of the service.
  • Severity 4: An inquiry or non-technical request.

Announcement

  • Major: Events of which customers must be notified, including legal notices, service decommissions, or security patches.
  • Minor: Informative announcements worth being informed of, including product enhancements.

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