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Sensu Email Handler


The Sensu Go Email Handler is a Sensu Event Handler for sending
incident notification emails.

Usage examples

Help output

The Sensu Email handler sends an email notifications

  sensu-email-handler [flags]

  -a, --authMethod string         The SMTP authentication method, one of 'none', 'plain', or 'login' (default "plain")
  -T, --bodyTemplateFile string   A template file to use for the body
  -l, --enableLoginAuth           [deprecated] Use "login auth" mechanisim
  -f, --fromEmail string          The 'from' email address
  -h, --help                      help for sensu-email-handler
  -H, --hookout                   Include output from check hook(s)
  -i, --insecure                  [deprecated] Use an insecure connection (unauthenticated on port 25)
  -s, --smtpHost string           The SMTP host to use to send to send email
  -p, --smtpPassword string       The SMTP password, if not in env SMTP_PASSWORD
  -P, --smtpPort uint             The SMTP server port (default 587)
  -u, --smtpUsername string       The SMTP username, if not in env SMTP_USERNAME
  -S, --subjectTemplate string    A template to use for the subject (default "Sensu Alert - {{.Entity.Name}}/{{.Check.Name}}: {{.Check.State}}")
  -k, --tlsSkipVerify             Do not verify TLS certificates
  -t, --toEmail string            The 'to' email address (accepts comma delimited and/or multiple flags)

Environment variables

Argument Environment Variable
--smtpUsername SMTP_USERNAME
--smtpPassword SMTP_PASSWORD

Security Note: Care should be taken to not expose the password for this handler by specifying it
on the command line or by directly setting the environment variable in the handler definition. It is
suggested to make use of secrets management to surface it as an environment variable. The
handler definition above references it as a secret. Below is an example secrets definition that make
use of the built-in env secrets provider.

type: Secret
api_version: secrets/v1
  name: smtp_password
  provider: env


All of the above command line arguments can be overridden by check or entity annotations.
The annotation consists of the key formed by appending the "long" argument specification
to the string (e.g.

For example, having the following in an agent.yml file will create an entity annotation
such that emails generated by events on this entity will go to instead
of the recipient defined in the handler. And the subject would be something to the effect
of 'failing - webserver01/check-nginx'.

namespace: "default"
  - linux
  - "ws://"
annotations: "" "{{.Check.State}} - {{.Entity.Name}}/{{.Check.Name}}",

Note: When using template expansion for annotations in checks, the token delimiters {{ and }} have to be escaped with {{` and `}}, respectively. Yes, this is ugly, but it is because checks are ran through token expansion before being ran. This is not needed for annotations in entities.


"": "{{`{{ .Check.State }}`}} - {{`{{ .Entity.Name }}`}}/{{`{{ .Check.Name }}`}}",


The plugin provides an option to use a template file for the body of the email and is capable of using HTML for formatting the email. This template file would need to be available on all backends on which this handler may run. An example is provided below:



<h3>Informational Details</h3>
<b>Check</b>: {{ .Check.Name }}<br>
<b>Entity</b>: {{ .Entity.Name }}<br>
<b>State</b>: {{ .Check.State }}<br>
<b>Occurrences</b>: {{ .Check.Occurrences }}<br>
<h3>Check Output Details</h3>
<b>Check Output</b>: {{.Check.Output}}
<h4>Check Hook(s)</h4>
{{range .Check.Hooks}}<b>Hook Name</b>:  {{.Name}}<br>
<b>Hook Command</b>:  {{.Command}}<br>
<b>Hook Output</b>: {{.Output}}<br>

Note that this uses tokens to populate the values provided by the event. More information on template syntax and format can be found in the documentation

Also note that line breaks in your template and any text surfaced by token substitution are replaced with the HTML <br> tag.

At the time of this example, check hooks and templates are not able to be used together via the -H and -T flags. However, you may include the hook output as part of the template via the following:

{{range .Check.Hooks}}
Hook Name:  {{.Name}}
Hook Command:  {{.Command}}

Formatting Timestamps in Templates

A Sensu Go event contains multiple timestamps (e.g. .Check.Issued,
.Check.Executed, .Check.LastOk) that are presented in UNIX timestamp
format. A function named UnixTime is provided to print these values in a
customizable human readable format as part of a template. To customize the
output format of the timestamp, use the same format as specified by Golang's
Time.Format. Additional examples can be found here.

Note: the predefined format constants are not available.

The example below embellishes the prior example template to include two

<h3>Check Output Details</h3>
<b>Executed</b>: {{(UnixTime .Check.Executed).Format "2 Jan 2006 15:04:05"}}<br>
<b>Last OK</b>: {{(UnixTime .Check.LastOK).Format "2 Jan 2006 15:04:05"}}<br>
<b>Check Output</b>: {{.Check.Output}}

Formatting the Event ID in Templates

Each Sensu Go event contains a unique event ID (UUID) that is presented to
this handler in a non-printable format. To properly print this value as
part of a template, the function UUIDFromBytes is provided. The example
below shows its use:

<b>Event ID</b>: {{UUIDFromBytes .ID}}
<h3>Check Output Details</h3>
<b>Check Output</b>: {{.Check.Output}}

Additional formatting via sprig module

Additional functions have been added via the sprig module and examples can be found here.

This example splits a fully qualified entity name and provides the host. We also pull out the interval for the fatigue check if it exists. (index is a built-in golang template function) The div sprig function allows us to translate seconds into hours or minutes.

{{ $host := split "." .Entity.Name }}
Frequency: {{ div .Check.Interval 60 }} minutes
{{ if index .Check.Annotations "fatigue_check/interval" }}<b>Email Every</b>:  {{ div (index .Check.Annotations "fatigue_check/interval") 3600}} hour(s){{ end }}
<b>Check Output</b>: {{.Check.Output}}

Exmaple of adding the first line of the output to subject.

-S {{ $out := split "\n" .Check.Output -}}Sensu Alert - {{.Entity.Name}}/{{.Check.Name}}: {{ $out._0 }}


Asset registration

Assets are the best way to make use of this handler. If you're not using an asset, please consider doing so! If you're using sensuctl 5.13 or later, you can use the following command to add the asset:

sensuctl asset add sensu/sensu-email-handler

If you're using an earlier version of sensuctl, you can download the asset definition from this project's Bonsai Asset Index page.

Asset definition

type: Asset
api_version: core/v2
  name: sensu-email-handler_linux_amd64
    io.sensu.bonsai.tier: Supported
    io.sensu.bonsai.version: 0.2.0
    io.sensu.bonsai.namespace: sensu sensu-email-handler
    io.sensu.bonsai.tags: handler
  sha512: d69df76612b74acd64aef8eed2ae10d985f6073f9b014c8115b7896ed86786128c20249fd370f30672bf9a11b041a99adb05e3a23342d3ad80d0c346ec23a946
  - entity.system.os == 'linux'
  - entity.system.arch == 'amd64'

Handler definition

api_version: core/v2
type: Handler
  namespace: default
  name: email
  type: pipe
  command: sensu-email-handler -f -t -t "," -s
    -u user -p password
  timeout: 10
  - is_incident
  - not_silenced
  - sensu/sensu-email-handler


It can be helpful to run from the command line to debug issues such as authentication. For this you will need two things. First you'll need to have the sensu-email-handler binary and sensuctl utility available locally. Second you will need a JSON representation of a Sensu event. You can obtain the JSON event representation using the sensuctl commandline utility. Here is a generalized example you can use to test with:

sensuctl event info sensu-entity keepalive --format=json | \
  sensu-email-handler -f \
  -t -s \
  -u smtp_username -p smtp_password -S 'testing'

You will need to ensure the details in the command are correct for your environment. Specifically you'll want to replace sensu-entity with the name of a known Sensu entity valid for your environment (Note: sensuctl entity list is helpful)

Installing from source and contributing

Download the latest version of the sensu-email-handler from releases,
or create an executable from this source.

From the local path of the sensu-email-handler repository:

go build -o /usr/local/bin/sensu-email-handler main.go

For additional instructions, see CONTRIBUTING

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