Love / Hate Relationship with Cron

Written by Rajat Bhargava on May 8, 2014

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We’ve spoken with countless ops folks, developers, and IT folks practicing devops over the last several months. The cron topic comes up given our new Directory-as-a-Service® functionality, and more specifically, our device management capabilities. Cron is a lightning rod of sorts. Some people love the simplicity of cron and cite its timeless nature. It has been around for over 40 years! And, then there are those who can’t find a good thing to say about it. Cron has burned them so many times that they will actively look for ways to avoid it. So, how does this relate to the JumpCloud® Identity-as-a-Service platform?

Features of Cron Device Management Functionality

Well, one of the core pieces of functionality that we have created is device management and the ability to schedule jobs, tasks, or policies. We’ve gone a lot further by allowing you to:

  • Coordinate scheduled jobs across multiple servers, quickly and easily.
  • See full results, exit codes, errors, etc. in our GUI or through our APIs, so you have great visibility over the tasks and whether they have succeeded or not.
  • And, perhaps most significantly, JumpCloud provides the capability to execute tasks over your entire infrastructure regardless of where it is hosted from our central management console.

Increased Visibility and Streamlined Scheduling

Our functionality is like cross-platform GPOs. That’s Group Policy Objects for those unfamiliar with the Active Directory vernacular. Our goal in creating this functionality wasn’t necessarily to replace cron because it’s incredibly useful in various situations. We wanted to extend and build upon it to create functionality that could be used to execute a wide range of policies, get better monitoring and visibility on policies, and also to give an overall picture of policies that are being executed across the infrastructure. Want to know the coolest thing about our cron device management functionality? Organizations can continue to use cron and then use JumpCloud to give them full visibility of all of the crontabs on their servers. IT folks who like using cron can continue leveraging their existing processes but add increased visibility. JumpCloud’s task scheduling and device management capabilities can be used for those that dislike cron.

Leverage Cron with Directory-as-a-Service

JumpCloud’s cloud-based directory service can help you, regardless of where you fall on the cron spectrum. You can leverage cron further, build cron-like capabilities for your organization, or any combination of the two. Choose the path that works best for you, and give it a try for free.

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