Cron Job Monitoring Made Easy

Monitoring Cron Jobs

When you’re managing a website, Cron jobs are essential for keeping everything running smoothly. But Cron job monitoring – especially when they’re firing off multiple times a day. In this post, we’ll show you how to use a monitoring tool such as Gravyware Monitor to help make the process a little bit easier.

Cron jobs are a great way to automate routine tasks, but can be time consuming and difficult to manage. If you’re not careful, it’s easy for your Cron job to stop working or forgetful about when it last ran. This blog post will walk you through the process of setting up a system that will allow easy Cron job monitoring so they never slip through the cracks again!

What are Cron jobs and what do they do

Cron Jobs are scripts that allow you to automate certain tasks on your server. They can be used for a variety of things, such as scheduling backups, sending emails, or updating your website.  Nearly every site has some sort of scheduled job running behind the scenes.

Why you need to track your Cron jobs

Tracking your Cron Jobs is the first step to understanding what they are doing and why. If you don’t keep track of what your jobs do, it can be difficult to determine if everything is running properly or find errors in their execution.

Tracking efficiency

By tracking these scripts for a period of time, you gain a baseline metric that will allow you to compare them to the future. If you have a critical job being run every day, such as website backups, and suddenly it stops working (or takes forever), having an archive of past jobs will allow you to spot errors much more quickly than looking through your code line by line for hours on end.  Comparing metrics to their baseline can allow you to be pro-active, rather than re-active when diagnosing potential problems.  This prevents any downtime that you might experience and keeps your business running smoothly.


How Cron job Monitoring can help with your business

Tracking and monitoring Cron jobs is an under-appreciated tool in a system administrator’s belt. If you can’t track your processes, it makes diagnosing problems much more difficult and time consuming than it has to be. It also puts your business at risk if one of these scheduled tasks becomes stuck or corrupted without anyone noticing until the consequences are dire.

Example 1:

monitoring cron jobs

A company has a scheduled job that backs up their database every night.  This job stops working on Monday for some reason, and unfortunately, goes unnoticed until Thursday when they have a major website crash.  They must restore the database, and somehow must explain how the restored database is 3-4 days old.

Perhaps they had some internal notification setup, but the Database Administrator was on vacation this week, and nobody else was being notified that this critical Cron job was failing.

Example 2:

cron job monitoring

A company has a very complex website that relies on outside data to display in a dashboard.  This data is fed to them on a daily basis from an outside source at 2am.  The scheduled job that reaches out to retrieve this data stops working, and the company’s website now is incorrect for all users.  Site users are yelling and the investigation begins.

With Cron job monitoring, it would be immediately evident that a vital piece of the workflow failed, minimizing any downtime users might experience.

How to Become a Cron job Guru

Once you have a few jobs up and running, it becomes necessary to monitor them. You can use special Cron job monitoring services that act as an intermediary between your server and the job itself. They will keep track of when they run (and if they’ve failed), allowing for easy tracking of metrics over time.

These tools are extremely valuable when it comes to debugging issues with your scripts. Without them, you can spend hours trying to determine why a script isn’t working as expected – with the monitoring service, you can have that information in minutes.

With Gravyware Monitoring, you simply add a single line of code to the end of your Cron job, and the monitoring is setup!

The value of using an outside Service for Cron Job Monitoring

Your business is relying on these scripts to run correctly, so it’s important to have multiple layers of monitoring in place.  If something goes wrong with your script, you want to know about it as soon as possible so that you can take corrective action.

Using an outside service for Cron job monitoring gives you redundancy.    If something happens to your server, or the script itself, you’ll know about it and can take appropriate action.  If you were to have the notification application on the actual system you were monitoring, and that server failed, your in-house monitoring would fail as well.  Separating out these modules provides multiple layers of protection.

Using an outside service for your Cron job monitoring gives you visibility.    You’ll know what script ran, and if it failed.  This provides you with the ability to track trends over time and determine which scripts need more attention than others (and pretty soon, your Cron jobs will be running like clockwork!)  But most importantly, it allows non-IT personnel to be able to see if something failed.  You can setup multiple people to be notified (by email and/or Slack message) that there’s a problem.

It’s important to keep your business running smoothly, and the best way to do this is by providing multiple layers of protection.  With an outside monitor for your Cron jobs, you’ll be able to track what failed (and why), improving future reliability as well!

Conclusion

So there you have it.  Cron jobs are an important aspect of monitoring your website. Tracking and monitoring these tasks is vital for ensuring that content is updated, emails get sent out on time, contact forms work properly, etc. When it comes to cronjobs, there’s no such thing as too much information or data—the more you track the better! If you have any questions regarding this blog post please reach out to the Gravyware team.  We’re happy to help answer any queries related to tracking and monitoring cronjobs.

Good luck!
 

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