Custom Triggers and Notifications in a ZenPack

In a previous post I talked about how to use triggers and command notifications in Zenoss to trigger custom actions when certain events occur. All of this was done using the Zenoss user interface.

In this post we will achieve something similar, but from a custom ZenPack. At the end of this post, our custom ZenPack will be able to create new custom triggers and notifications when installed.

Defining ZenPack Triggers & Notifications

Triggers and notifications within a ZenPack are actually defined using JSON. To do so, you must create a file named actions.json in a directory called zep (create it if it doesn’t exist), within the ZenPack’s top directory.


  "triggers": [
      "name": "Critical_death_event",
      "uuid": "4c055067-98b7-483e-8f49-2820b4f2f721",
      "enabled": false,
      "rule": {
        "api_version": 1,
        "type": 1,
        "source": "(evt.event_class.startswith(\"/Status/Ping\")) and (evt.status == 0) and (evt.severity > 2)"

  "notifications": [
      "id": "send_sms_message",
      "description": "Send SMS using Twilio",
      "action": "command",
      "guid": "2606439f-5ef7-40dc-90e4-3f3bee11cfe6",
      "enabled": false,
      "action_timeout": 60,
      "delay_seconds": 0,
      "repeat_seconds": 0,
      "send_initial_occurrence": false,
      "send_clear": false,
      "body_format": "echo \"Hello World!\"",
      "clear_body_format": "",
      "subscriptions": ["4c055067-98b7-483e-8f49-2820b4f2f721"]

Below is a table with fields for triggers:

Name Description
uuid Unique identifier
name Trigger’s name
rule Dictionary with attributes api_version, type, source
enabled If the trigger is enabled or not (boolean).
subscriptions List of dictionaries, each containing a notification
users List of dictionaries, each containing a user with permissions on this trigger

We can find the basic notification fields in $ZENHOME/Products/ZenModel/ Notification-specific fields can be found at $ZENHOME/Products/Zuul/interfaces/

The following is a table of Notification fields:

Name Description
id Notification ID (String)
name Notification’s name
enabled Boolean
action Can choose between command, email, SNMP trap, etc.
subscriptions List of dictionaries, each representing a trigger
recipients List of dictionaries representing a user to receive the notification
content Details for an email or pager or the command and environment
details for a command notification

Triggers and notifications require Universally Unique IDs (UUID). We can generate them using Python and then use them in the JSON file:

python -c "import uuid; print uuid.uuid4()"

For each notification, the subscriptions field must be a list of the required trigger uuid fields. This means that the notification will fire when the triggers with those uuids are fired.

-> $ZENHOME/Products/ZenUtils/guid/ also has code to generate globally unique UUIDs.

If the JSON has no errors, you should receive the following output when installing the ZenPack:

2017-05-05 11:05:39,206 INFO zen.ZPLoader: Creating trigger: Critical_death_event
2017-05-05 11:05:39,307 INFO zen.ZPLoader: Creating notification: send_sms_message

Let’s compare the trigger JSON data with the result shown in the user interface:

Custom Trigger

Let’s also take a look at the result for the custom notification:

Custom Notification

Custom Notification 2

Excellent! Everything looks good.

~> When a ZenPack is removed, event fields are removed; however notifications and triggers are NOT removed.

Additionally, if a trigger or notification already exists when a ZenPack is installed, it will be overriden by the definition in the ZenPack.

A possible solution to the problem above would be to programatically remove the notifications and triggers in the ZenPack’s remove method in the file:

def remove(self, app, leaveObjects=False):
        ZenPack.UNINSTALLING = True

        # Remove triggers & notifications here...

        super(ZenPack, self).remove(app, leaveObjects=leaveObjects)
        ZenPack.UNINSTALLING = False


  1. ZenPack Developer’s Guide by Jane Curry
  2. Providing Triggers Notifications and Event Details in ZenPack
zenoss zenpack zenpacklib python zendmd sysadmin monitoring


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