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Debugging Noisy Alerts

If alerts are too frequent, or "noisy", there are several strategies for quieting them. Depending on the health check design, size of your infrastructure, and application requirements, alerts may be expected or be a sign of an immediate problem.

When alerts are loud, it's always worth diagnosing why prior to turning them off – it may be a sign of issues in the underlying system.

Lenient Health Checks

One way to lower the frequency of alerts is to make health checks more lenient to partial or minor failures. As an example, if your health check takes the load average of a system, it's better to take the past five of fifteen minute load, rather than one minute.

Spikes in usage causing alerts may be a sign of important scaling requirements of your system not being met, so leniency should only be built into checks with this in mind.

Health Check Retries

Occasionally a health check talks to a system that may have occasional failures. In this case, it may be wise to implement retry logic into the check system to immediately verify if the system is still in a problematic state.

It's important, however, to build this same retry into your application itself. Flapping health checks may be a sign of reliability or quality of service issues that need to be handled at the application level.