Cron Replacement: Article | HelpSystems

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Windows, UNIX, Linux, AIX
January 11, 2017


We know that cron has its value for scheduling one-off time-based tasks, like pulling down updates or running a simple report on the status of the email system twice a day. These are easy crontab tasks for your IT team to schedule and manage, especially if you’re in a stable and small company.

But if you’re in a developing company that’s on the rise—growing your IT team and working to get your product to market—you’ve probably experienced growing pains with cron scheduling. For example, you might not have gotten critical deals because the sales team didn’t receive a report on time—because your IT team was fiddling with cron to write the correct reporting script.  

Crontab scheduling simply can’t support a growing and changing enterprise. Read on to find out how to seamlessly replace cron with enterprise job scheduling software—and never look back.

Cron Replacement: Why You Need an Enterprise Scheduler

A primary reason to replace cron is to increase visibility into your enterprise. Because individual users can maintain and execute crontab schedules on their own machines, upper level management has very little visibility into the ramifications of those individual schedules across the business. Moreover, cron is difficult to execute at the enterprise level because of the differences in releases, which means that individuals are not only managing their own cron schedules, but they’re managing different versions of cron, which makes it impossible to build a cohesive schedule.

Not only is cron difficult to implement at the enterprise level for the above reasons, but it does not contain the features for work management that contribute to building a strategic business. An enterprise job scheduler provides you with tools to maximize the job schedule across the organization: auditing, reporting, notification, web services, security, cross-platform capabilities, and a functional user interface from which to see the history and status of every job that’s running across the business.

How to Replace Cron

An enterprise scheduling tool like Skybot Scheduler makes it easy to replace cron and continue automating your enterprise without a blip in the radar. Simply put, Skybot replaces cron 100% straight out of the box with very little work. You can import your entire existing crontab schedule into Skybot Scheduler and even continue scheduling with familiar cron syntax from within Skybot. What’s more, Skybot gives you’re the cross-platform capabilities and application interfaces you need to integrate your cron schedule across the applications and platforms that make up your data center, giving you the power to build a truly dynamic enterprise schedule.

Why You Should Replace Cron to Grow Your Business

Every time you need to pound a nail in, you don’t go buy a new hammer. You use the existing tool that you have. You’ll likely use the same brand of nails, and you’ll generally get through the project unscathed. We know that cron is the existing tool that’s readily available to you, but cron is more of a rock than a hammer. It’s such a basic tool. Every time you need to schedule a new job, you’re “buying a new hammer”—writing and fiddling with that new script that you hope runs your jobs on time so that sales gets their reports. The courser your tool set, the more creative you have to be. But is it worth the gamble? The extra work to use that tool? Why would you pound nails in with a rock when you can shoot them in with a nail gun? Why would you schedule with cron when you can use a robust enterprise scheduler?

If you’re trying to grow your business but you’re still scheduling jobs with cron, you’re doing so at the expense of increasing efficiency and effectiveness across the business. Because cron requires you to overthink your solutions, you’re losing out on gaining quality and speed that could transform the way your business runs. You want to invest in tools where you get good reuse of the things you’ve already built. With an enterprise scheduler, you can reuse jobs and code that’s already been written, which is a huge boost to productivity. When you’re messing around with cron, you’re not solving your internal customers’ problems. The rock just can’t compete.


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