Tigger's Triggers: More Than Job Scheduling

by Suraj Amancharla, in Tech Talk, posted 8/1/13
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For the most current information about AutoMate's triggers, go here.

With AutoMate’s ability to save its users time and energy at their respective jobs, it’s not surprising to see them bouncing around the office like Tigger filled with happiness (or at least that’s the case at Network Automation).  And a lot of that happiness and free time can be linked to AutoMate’s event-driven Triggers.

Task creation and optimization is built through a combination of steps and logic, but the task becomes even more powerful when it is combined with an AutoMate feature called a Trigger. Triggers watch for specified system events or conditions to occur and then "Trigger" task execution as a result.

But with AutoMate, we know that not everything happens on a schedule. And that is why we designed Triggers that aren’t only for job scheduling, but also based on events. You can set a Trigger to automatically execute at a specific time, when a change occurs on the file system, when an entry is written to a system event log, when a process starts, stops or becomes unresponsive, or any of a variety of other events or conditions. When a task is "Triggered", the steps in the task (comprised of "Actions") are executed.

Moreover, you can attach multiple Triggers to any single task. A good example of this is using the Schedule Trigger (running the task once a day) with the File System Trigger (running the task if a file is added to a folder). Attaching multiple Triggers acts as an "OR" condition (as opposed to "AND") whereby either of the Trigger events will launch the task.

Note: When a task is triggered, it automatically creates a dataset called AMTrigger. This dataset can be used within a task to determine whether or not the task was started by a Trigger, which Trigger it was, and the properties of that Trigger.

Listed below are the current AutoMate Triggers and their capabilities.

Schedule Trigger 

Schedule Trigger

Job scheduling couldn’t be any easier with the Schedule Trigger. It launches a task at the date, time or interval specified. This Trigger can be used for scheduling tasks to run at night or at the end of every workday, week, month or other time frame.  It can even be set to run every second. If a user wants to monitor something like an email inbox constantly, then a task can be triggered if an email is received or sent from a particular folder or account.

File System Trigger

File System Trigger

This is a useful Trigger that monitors file movement and management. This Trigger launches a task when one or more files are added, modified or deleted in any folder that is specified. It can also trigger execution when a number of files exceeds a given amount, if a particular file is a certain size (bigger than 5 MB for example) or when the total size of the folder exceeds an amount specified.

Idle Trigger

Idle Trigger

Often times, a task needs to run when nothing is happening. The Idle Trigger starts a task when no keyboard or mouse input occurs for the specified period of time (i.e. the system is idle).

Key Trigger

Key Trigger

This is one of the more popular Triggers in the AutoMate arsenal. The Key Trigger launches a task when a hot-key combination is pressed or a specific word is typed on the keyboard. This saves time and effort when wanting to jumpstart a task quickly. Just designate the keys and apply the update to the task.

Performance Trigger

Performance Trigger

The Performance Trigger launches a task when a system or process threshold (such as CPU utilization and memory usage) is met.  This Trigger is ideal for monitoring servers, for example, if available memory it too low. In this case, a task can automatically restart the entire system or specific process.

Event Log Trigger

Event Log Trigger

This Trigger launches a task when the monitored event is added to the Windows Event Log. This Trigger can be used to make AutoMate react to system or application generated errors that are sent to the Windows Event Log. For example, the Even Log Trigger can automatically launch a task that emails the system administrator if Windows generates a log entry stating that the DNS server could not be contacted. It can also be used to run a task when a subsequent AutoMate task logs an event to the Windows Event Log with the use of the Log Event Action.

Process Trigger

Process Trigger

The Process Trigger starts a task every time the user is working with a particular program; it can launch a task when the specified process starts, ends or stops responding.

Service Trigger

Service Trigger

Frequently used to monitor service applications for unexpected crashes, the Service Trigger launches a task when the specified service starts, stops, pauses, resumes or stops responding. For example, if the specified service suddenly stops, a task can launch and execute a Start Service Activity to restart the service as well as run a Send Email Action to email a message regarding service stoppage to the appropriate recipient.

SNMP Trigger

SNMP Trap Trigger

This launches a task when a SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) trap is received.

Startup Trigger

Startup Trigger

This launches a task when the AutoMate task service starts or when a user logs onto the system.

Window Trigger

Window Trigger 

The Windows Triggers can be used when a specified window opens, closes, is focused or loses focus. This is useful in a back-office (or unattended) environment to monitor the system for application generated error dialogs, which could then be automatically handled when they appear. For example, a notification message could be sent to the system administrator upon the occurrence of an error.  

WMI Trigger

WMI Trigger

This Trigger launches a task when a WQL (WMI Query Language) query executed on the agent machine returns true or more than 0 rows. Queries built using WQL are used to manage and control the WMI Service.  

What's your favorite Trigger? Leave your answer in the comments below.