PagerDuty Automation Actions

PagerDuty Automation Actions are scripts run by an automation runner (software agent) installed on your infrastructure. By associating Automation Actions with a PagerDuty service, responders get push-button access to a library of defined diagnostic or remediation actions, resulting in shorter resolution times and fewer disruptive escalations.
Automation Actions can now be used as part of an Event Orchestration to enrich incident data with diagnostics information or perform remediation actions on incidents automatically.


Pricing Plan and Feature Trial

PagerDuty Automation Actions are available as an add-on for Business and Digital Operations pricing plans. Please contact us if you would like to upgrade your plan or trial PagerDuty Automation Actions.

Configure Automation Actions


Runner Installation

A runner can execute many actions, however you’re unable to associate a single action with many runners. If a different relationship is required to achieve your desired use case, we recommend creating multiple actions and associating them with as many runners as needed. At present, runners can queue 50 simultaneous actions.


Required User Permissions

Users with the following roles can create, edit and delete Automation Actions:

  • Account Owner
  • Admin/Global Admin

Users with the following roles can create, edit and delete Automation Actions associated with their Teams:

  • Manager Team roles

Users with the following roles can view all Automation Actions:

  • Account Owner
  • Admin/Global Admin
  • Manager
  • Responder
  • Observer

Users with the following roles can invoke Automation Actions on incidents:

  • Account Owner
  • Admin/Global Admin
  • Manager base roles
  • Responder
  • Observer

Create a ​​PagerDuty API Key

In the PagerDuty web app:

  1. Navigate to Integrations API Access Keys and click Create New API Key.
  2. Enter a Description that will help you identify the key later on. If you would like it to be read-only, check the Read-only option.
  3. Click Create Key.
  4. A unique API key will be generated. Copy it to a safe place, as you will not have access to copy this key again. Once it has been copied, click Close.
    • If you lose a key you will need to delete it and create a new one.

Create a PagerDuty Process Automation Token

In PagerDuty Process Automation:

  1. Go to User Icon Profile.
  2. To the right of User API Tokens, click .
  3. Enter a name for the API token and click Generate New Token.
  4. Copy the User API Token and keep it in a safe place for later use.

Create a PagerDuty Process Automation Project

  1. Create a Process Automation Project that will contain the Job you’d like PagerDuty responders to be able to execute.

Create a Job

  1. Create a Process Automation Job in the Project. After the job is created, copy its ID and keep it in a safe place for later use.

Create a Runner

Next, you will add a new runner to generate an ID and secret.

  1. In PagerDuty, navigate to Automation Automated Actions Runners tab +Add Runner
  2. Enter a Name and Description and click Next, Generate Runner Secret & ID.
  3. On the following screen, click Download ID & Secret to download the file credentials.pdrunner-creds, and click Confirm.
  4. Open credentials.pdrunner-creds in your preferred text editor, replace <API_Token> with the PagerDuty API key from step 4 above, and save the file:
rundeck_url: http://localhost:4440
rundeck_token: <Your_Saved_PagerDuty_Process_Automation_API_TOKEN>


PagerDuty Process Automation On-Prem

If you are configuring the runner to connect to PagerDuty Process Automation On-Prem, you may also enter your Rundeck URL and Rundeck API token so that the runner is able to communicate with your Rundeck instance.

  1. Install Java 11+ on the machine that will host the runner. We recommend Linux (Ubuntu 18) or higher. If the operating system is reasonably new, it is recommended to perform an update:
    a. sudo apt-get update: Update the Ubuntu version.
    b. sudo apt install openjdk-11-jre-headless: Install the open source Java version that the runner uses.
    c. mkdir automation_runner: Create a folder in a preferred directory on your system to place the credentials files.
    d. cd automation_runner: Navigate into the runner’s directory.
    e. Insert the credentials file that was downloaded from the PagerDuty Runner menu. It should already contain the PagerDuty API key inside the file.
    f. mv credentials.pdrunner-creds .pdrunner-creds: Rename the file to .pdrunner-creds.
    g. wget Download the latest runner software from PagerDuty.
    h. ls -larths: View current directory to see all of the files. You should see two files from step 13.
    i. java -jar pd-runner.jar: Launch pd-runner.
    j. tail -f /home/ubuntu/automation_runner/runner/logs/runner.log : Optionally verify activity in runner.log.

  2. Next, check the runner’s status in PagerDuty. A green checkmark indicates that the runner is active and running successfully. A red circle indicates that the runner is not running or there is a problem with the runner. Please verify your Java 11+ installation and check the local runner logs, or refer to our FAQ.

Create an Automation Action

Once the runner is running successfully, you can add an action.

  1. Select the Actions tab and click Add Action.
  2. Perform the following:



Name the action

Enter a Name for the action.

Describe the action

Describe the purpose of the action.

Select Type

Select script OR process automation to determine how you would like the action to be invoked.

Type of action

Select Diagnostic OR Remediation.

Define your action

Depending on your Select Type selection above, enter the following:

  • Enter your desired script: This can be a script in a particular language, or a simple Unix command. The only requirement is that the runner host is capable of running the script and supports the script’s language.


  • Enter Process Automation Job ID: Enter your desired Process Automation Job ID. This should be an existing job ID in the Process Automation instance.
    (Optional): It is also possible to enter Process Automation arguments. For example, passing the PagerDuty incident ID at runtime as a string argument: -pd_incident_id ${pagerduty.incidentId}

Link the runner that will run this action on your infrastructure

Select the runner from the dropdown menu.

Associate this action with one or more services. The action will be available on any incidents that trigger on the selected service(s)

Select the PagerDuty service from the dropdown menu.

Associate with a Team to limit who has access to run this action

Associate this action with a particular PagerDuty Team (Optional).

Click Create Action to complete configuration. You may repeat step 18 multiple times to create more actions.

Context Variables

Use Context Variables in Automation Actions

You can enrich Script and Process Automation actions with context variables that use data from the first triggering alert attached to an incident. Where possible, send event data to PagerDuty in our Common Event Format (PD-CEF), since using standardized event data will make it easier to re-use actions for multiple event types.

You can reference alert fields using ${pd.alert.key} syntax, where key is the path of the JSON key name (for example, ${}). Square bracket notation is also supported for cases where event data may contain arrays or fields with dots in the name (for example, ${pd.alert.details.nodes[0].hostname}). You can also reference fields that are not in the PD-CEF format.

Context Variable Placeholders

PD-CEF Placeholders

The following placeholders, based on standard PD-CEF fields, are available:


Non-Standard Fields

If the event is not normalized to PD-CEF, any value in the alert data can be referenced using the same {$pd.alert.key} structure. For example:


Incident Metadata

Two incident metadata context variables are also available. These context variables represent the obfuscated incident ID of the incident and the user ID that invoked the Automation Action (i.e., pushed the button in the web or mobile app):



PagerDuty Automation Action (Script)


Script with context variables

PagerDuty Automation Action (Process Automation Job)


Process Automation with context variable

Search and Filter

Once created, Automation Actions and Runners can be searched and filtered. Navigate to Automation Automation Actions and use the following features in their respective tabs:

Actions Tab

  • Search: You may search by action name.
  • Filters:
    • Services
    • Teams
    • Type
    • Category

Runners Tab

  • Search: You may search by runner name or description.
  • Filter:
    • Status

Delete an Automation Action

  1. Go to Automation Automated Actions.
  2. With the Actions tab selected, select the name of your desired action to go to its detail page.
  3. In the top right, click Delete Action.
  4. In the confirmation dialog, click Yes, delete.

Run an Action on an Incident

Once Automation Actions have been configured, PagerDuty responders can run them on incidents. Automation Actions can run either a provided script or trigger a Job in PagerDuty Process Automation.

Run a Script Action in the Web App

  1. In the PagerDuty web app, navigate to an open incident on a service where the Automation Action is configured to run. Click Run Actions and select your desired action.

Run a script action

  1. Select the incident’s Timeline tab to see notes related to the execution of the action from the previous step. Click the output report link to view detailed output of the action.

Script details in the incident timeline

  1. The Output tab will reveal the output of the script that was run.

Output tab

  1. The Script tab displays a detailed view of the script that was run.

Script tab

  1. The Context tab displays the alert data used at the time of action invocation.

Context tab

Run a Process Automation Job in the Web App

  1. Navigate to an open incident on a service where the Automation Action is configured to run, click Run Actions and select your desired action.
  2. Click Run Job on the prompt that appears.
  3. Select the incident’s Timeline tab to see execution of the action from above. Click the output report link to view detailed output of the action.

Process automation details in the incident timeline

  1. The Output tab will show the output of the Process Automation Job that was selected.

Output tab

  1. Click View full output in Process Automation to view the Process Automation Job and see the results.

Full output

  1. Select the Script tab to see the detailed view of the Process Automation Job that ran.

Script tab

Run an Action in the Mobile App

  1. Tap an incident to view its details page, then tap Automation Actions. Alternatively, you may also tap More Automation Actions.
  2. Select your preferred Automation Action from the list, then tap Run Script or Run Job, depending on the type of action that was selected.
  3. The Output tab will reveal the output of the script that was run or the job that was selected.
  4. The incident will also have a history of all Automation Actions that have been run on the incident in the Initiated Automation Actions section. Tap View [x] Actions and then tap an action to see its details.

Run an Action in Slack

You can execute a PagerDuty Automation Action from Slack, provided the following prerequisites are fulfilled:

  1. In Slack, trigger an incident with the /pd trigger command.
  2. Select More actions… Run an action.
    • If prompted, please follow the steps to authorize your user in Slack.

Select Run an action

  1. Select an action from the dropdown.
  2. Review the action’s details and click Run.

A message posts in Slack when an action begins, as well as when it finishes. Select View output report in the completion message for full details about the action.


Action details in Slack


What network port does a runner use?


The runner requires outbound access to PagerDuty’s public API: There is no inbound access requirement.

What happens if I trigger an action and the runner is down?


The action will be queued until the runner is available again. Once the runner is online, the pending action will execute.

How long does it take for an inactive runner to switch to offline (red status)?


A runner will switch to red status after 5 minutes of inactivity.

What should the successful messages look like in the runner.log?


See output below:

[email protected]:~$ more /home/ubuntu/automation_runner/runner/logs/runner.log 
10:33:16.643 [main] INFO  io.micronaut.context.env.DefaultEnvironment - Established active environments: [ec2, cloud]
10:33:18.389 [main] INFO  com.dtolabs.automation.core.plugins.JarPluginScanner - Deleting plugin jar cache at /home/ubuntu/runner/runner/var/tmp/pluginJars
10:33:18.389 [main] INFO  com.dtolabs.automation.core.plugins.JarPluginScanner - Deleting plugin lib dependency directory at /home/ubuntu/runner/runner/plugin-cache
10:33:18.450 [main] INFO  io.micronaut.flyway.AbstractFlywayMigration - Running migrations for database with qualifier [default]
10:33:18.452 [main] INFO  org.flywaydb.core.internal.license.VersionPrinter - Flyway Community Edition 7.5.3 by Redgate
10:33:18.621 [main] INFO  org.flywaydb.core.internal.database.base.DatabaseType - Database: jdbc:sqlite:/home/ubuntu/runner/runner/storage/db.sqlite (SQLite 3.32)
10:33:18.657 [main] INFO  org.flywaydb.core.internal.command.DbValidate - Successfully validated 1 migration (execution time 00:00.011s)
10:33:18.664 [main] INFO  org.flywaydb.core.internal.schemahistory.JdbcTableSchemaHistory - Creating Schema History table "main"."flyway_schema_history" ...
10:33:18.699 [main] INFO  org.flywaydb.core.internal.command.DbMigrate - Current version of schema "main": << Empty Schema >>
10:33:18.702 [main] INFO  org.flywaydb.core.internal.command.DbMigrate - Migrating schema "main" to version "1 - create tables"
10:33:18.713 [main] INFO  org.flywaydb.core.internal.command.DbMigrate - Successfully applied 1 migration to schema "main" (execution time 00:00.015s)
10:33:19.210 [main] INFO  io.micronaut.runtime.Micronaut - Startup completed in 2652ms. Server Running: http://localhost:4441

Is the runner process running on Ubuntu?


The command ps aux | grep -i runner should output something similar to the following:

ubuntu   19741  0.7  9.6 3758548 386980 pts/0  Sl+  10:33   0:55 java -jar pd-runner.jar
ubuntu   20385  0.0  0.0  14860  1144 pts/2    S+   12:35   0:00 grep --color=auto -i runner

Is it possible to reveal the PagerDuty incident ID or the user who ran the Runbook Action from within a script?


Yes, you can access the incident ID with ${} and the user ID with ${}. The example below shows how to escape them so that they print. These placeholders can also be used in a non-escaped fashion.

# script
df -h
echo "script ran by user:" ${}
echo "for incident id" ${}

How can I set up the Automation Action with a Process Automation Job that requires passing a PagerDuty incident ID as a variable?


This is possible by specifying an argument string when configuring an Automation Action. The string argument to be passed in is: -pd_incident_id ${pagerduty.incidentId}.

Is it possible to disable the execution of Script Actions?


Yes, this is possible. By default, a Runner executes both Script and Process Automation Job Actions. If execution of Script Actions is undesired, a Runner can be configured to do so via one of the following methods:

a) Add an override directive to the Runner configuration file: .pdrunner-config

script_type_actions_enabled: false

b) Supply a system property when starting a Runner

java -jar pd-runner.jar

c) To verify when Script Actions execution is disabled, the runner/logs/operations.log will show a line similar to:

13:55:37.023 [main] INFO  com.rundeck.sidecar.agent.operations.OperationService - Runner started. Version: 0.1.28 Operations registered: [RundeckCommand, TriggerRundeckJob, CancelInvocation, Ping, ExecuteAgentScript (disabled via configuration), RundeckFileCopy]

Note the ExecuteAgentScript (disabled via configuration) statement that confirms that execution of Script Actions has been disabled.

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