Beyond Cron, Part II: Deploying a Modern Scheduling Alternative


Mike Diehl

One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It’s pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job. Cron traditionally has been considered such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough?

This ebook considers that very question. The first part builds on my previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron ( know-when-youve-outgrown-cron-scheduling-and-what-do-next), and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents a planning and implementation framework.


Table of Contents: 
  • Part I, Why Should You Upgrade?
    • Times Have Changed—Cron Has Not
    • Ease of Use
    • Multi-Server
    • Dependency Management
    • Visualization
    • Change Management
    • Management by Exception
    • Flexibility
  • Part II, Implementation
    • Planning
    • Budgeting
    • Funding
    • Installation
    • Importing
About the Author: 

Mike Diehl has been using Linux since the days when Slackware came on 14 5.25” floppy disks and installed kernel version 0.83. He has built and managed several servers. Mike has written numerous articles for Linux Journal on a broad range of subjects, and he has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science. He lives in Blythewood, South Carolina, with his wife and four sons.