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How Do I Choose the Best Open Source Job Scheduler?

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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2016
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Choosing the best open source job scheduler requires research on the many different features and options available. Jobs and projects can be complex, involving a lot of people, innumerable tasks, and many vendors spread over a long period of time. Many different tasks must come together to complete the project on time and on budget. An open source job scheduler arranges schedules, assigns duties, and allocates resources while keeping everyone up to date. Complex jobs would be incredibly difficult to bring to completion were it not for the open source job scheduler programs available today.

The open source model of developing software benefits from the collective minds and talents of the people who develop the various parts of the software. Technical assistance, however, may be lacking. There will be times when an open source program fails, develops a problem, or is confusing to use, and you will need a knowledgeable support system. Be sure to check all the details regarding hours of accessibility and the type of help rendered. The best way is to consult with others who use the program.

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Look for the features that work best for your project. Some open source job schedulers place more importance on scheduling while others emphasize budget and the monitoring of financial resources. Others automatically produce and distribute reports, and still others require users to generate their own reports. Different programs will have different features for different types of businesses, and it's up to you to review each open source job scheduler and select the one that works best for your specific situation. Some of the features and capabilities to look for in a job scheduler include job triggers, audit trails, task integration, scalability, and automatic functions like prioritization of tasks and alert management.

Job triggers are one of the key functions to look for in a full-featured, open source job scheduler. With this feature, jobs are scheduled to begin and run when a pre-specified trigger is activated. These triggers can be programmed to activate at a certain time of day or on specific days and not be activated on days that are not listed on a typical calendar — days like religious or special holidays. Job triggers should also have the capability of repeating a specific number of times, indefinitely, with delayed intervals, and on a specific time or date.

The ability to launch and automatically execute files, scripts, and other database procedures is one of the main components to look for in any open source job scheduler. A good open source job scheduler should have a means to store jobs and job triggers in a database, file them, or store them in a memory cache for later use.

Some job schedulers are too complicated and require so much time to learn that they become an impediment to everyone that needs to use the system. For example, a job scheduler created and used by the technical, engineering, scientific and administrative teams that prepare and launch the Space Shuttle at NASA will almost certainly be too complicated for most companies and organizations. Simple job schedulers that are easy to use for people at all levels are going to be the best job schedulers. The best open source job scheduler should have the capability to create simple or complex schedules that execute or monitor thousands of jobs over any specified length of time. Finding the balance between the level of complexity and required capabilities is the challenge for anyone looking for the best open source job scheduler.

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