November 10, 2009
Troubleshooting Email Notifications
Our support group is commonly contacted with email notification problems. This can be tricky to troubleshoot because there are many moving pieces and it is difficult to isolate the cause. This post includes some troubleshooting tips I learned as a member of the support group. Before we delve into details, let's take a high-level look at how notifications work. This post applies to both Surround SCM and TestTrack. For this post, when something applies to both the TestTrack and Surround SCM Servers, I will refer to them as the Seapine Server. The usual flow of a notification starts when a user performs an action, like a defect assignment (TestTrack Pro) or checking in a file (Surround SCM). The action fires the notification rule that generates the email. Once the message is generated, the Seapine Server places the email in its mail queue while it attempts to establish a handshake with the mail server. The Seapine Server behaves like a mail client. It does not handle the actual delivery of the email. Instead, it hands the email to a mail server for delivery. If a handshake is established, the email is handed off to the mail server for delivery. If used properly, the mail queue can be your best friend when troubleshooting mail issues. If you can see the message in the mail queue you have eliminated the following:
- The user is not invoking the correct action
- The rule is set up incorrectly
- The SMPT Host is incorrect
- The SMTP port is incorrect
- The SMTP host is accepting the handshake and message but refuses delivery
- The recipient is getting the email, but it was caught by their SPAM filter
- Select the "Pause sending via SMTP/MAPI" option.
- Perform the action that should trigger the notification.
- Check the mail queue. To access the mail queue in Surround SCM, select Tools > Administration > Mail Queue in the Surround SCM client. In TestTrack, click on the Mail Queue button in the TestTrack Server Admin utility.If the mail queue is empty, then either the rule is set up incorrectly or the action invoked is not the correct one. Examine these to find the problem. Repeat this process until you see a message in the Mail Queue as shown in the following image.If the rule is set up correctly, you should see something similar to the following image: [caption id="attachment_1194" align="aligncenter" width="601" caption="Mail Queue"][/caption]
- Once you see a message in the Mail Queue, go back to the Send Mail options dialog and clear the "Pause sending via SMTP/MAPI" option.
- Go back to the Mail Queue. The message might still be there, as it may take a few seconds/minutes for the server to establish a handshake with the mail server.
- The reply to address is something that your mail server does not allow. This is configured per project in TestTrack under Tools > Administration > Project Options > Email and in Surround SCM under Tools > Administration > Server Options > Email servers > Email Notifications. Verify that the notification account name and email address are valid.
- There is something in the body of the email that your spam filter is catching.
- The send to address is something that your mail server does not recognize or allow.