Using Hudson to manage crons

Darren - 02 Nov 2009

We've been using Hudson for several months now to manage our builds -- we probably have 80-90 different projects that it's responsible for. It's an awesome system for continuous integration and testing.

It's also an awesome system for scheduling and managing generic jobs. We've only just begun to use it as a cron server, but it's clear that it has numerous advantages over the more traditional way of using the unix cron service directly.

  • Notification plugins -- Hudson can be easily configured to send email and Jabber notifications when cron jobs start, succeed, or fail. You can also track your scheduled jobs via RSS.
  • Stdout/Sterr logging -- Hudson saves the stdout and stderr from each run automatically.
  • SCM integration -- if you need to update a job, just check the changes into SVN (or whatever SCM system you use). Hudson will automatically pick up the changes the next time your job is run.
  • Nice web interface -- never underestimate the productivity gains from having a good UI. It can be surprisingly tricky to determine exactly which crons are running on a generic Unix box. Not so with Hudson.

At Bizo, we believe that developers should be getting their hands dirty in the operational aspects of their projects -- Hudson gives us an easy interface for managing our scheduled jobs using the same tools that we're familiar with for managing our build processes. Hudson is such a great tool for continuous integration that it's easy to overlook how good it is at the simpler task of managing generic scheduled jobs.

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