The Top Cron Replacement Tool & 5 Cron Alternatives

Cron is a job scheduling utility built into the UNIX and Linux operating systems. However, with its notoriously cryptic syntax, Crontabs can be difficult to maintain. In this post, we’ll go over the reasons why Cron might not be the best fit for an organization. We’ll also discuss what makes a great Cron alternative for UNIX & Linux job scheduling and share top Cron alternatives you might want to consider.

See How JAMS Compares to Cron


Why You Might Be Looking for a Cron Replacement? cron alternative

Cron job scheduling is widespread because it comes built-in to UNIX servers and provides a free way to begin automating some tasks. But limitations to crontab scheduling make it a less-than-ideal choice for enterprise job scheduling because:

  • Cron job scheduling is not robust enough to support enterprise-level processes across multiple platforms or applications.
  • Manually building and editing crontabs is extremely error-prone
  • Cron job scheduling lacks immediate error reporting
  • Different UNIX implementations have subtle variations, so if your data center includes AIX, Linux, UNIX, and Solaris boxes—all with their own version of crontab scheduling—it becomes even more difficult to manage crontab scheduling across the enterprise

Organizations that instead leverage workload automation with Linux and UNIX platforms and applications gain advantages such as:

  • Reduced Security Risk – A central command center eliminates unnecessary administrative logins.
  • Rapid Automation – A unified language for automation means less time and money spent on single-purpose scheduling tools.
  • Shorter Resolution Times – Even with jobs running across hundreds of Linux and UNIX servers, JAMS users can pinpoint issues at their source and resolve them quickly.

JAMS: The Top Cron Alternative for Linux and Unix Users cron alternative

If any of the above issues sound like what you’re experiencing with Cron, it’s time to make a switch. And don’t worry,  it’s easy to migrate to JAMS job scheduling software

JAMS includes a built-in conversion utility to migrate crontabs, including all their properties. Easily import jobs residing on any Linux or UNIX server throughout your network. And once converted – a process that takes minutes – you can apply dozens of new properties to schedule and trigger jobs according to the unique requirements of your business.

Build Linux and UNIX Processes Into Enterprise Workflows

JAMS helps enterprises get the most out of technology investments, even when individual IT teams and business units employ a variety of distros and platforms for their critical processes. JAMS supports all available distros and makes Linux and UNIX batch processes accessible to powerful, multi-step workflows that can include jobs on Windows, i Series, z/OS as well as business applications.

Windows cron job software organizes your difficult to maintain UNIX crontab jobs across your Windows, UNIX, and Linux systems. With JAMS, you can quickly and easily schedule UNIX cron jobs that are event-driven for coordinated batch processing, cross-system monitoring, and enterprise job scheduling.

“We view JAMS as more than a job scheduler. We think of it as a process automation tool.” Doug Botimer, Senior UNIX Administrator, Marketing Associates

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Benefits of JAMS Over a Cron Job Scheduler: cron alternative

  • Create complex, customizable, event-driven scheduling
  • Oversee user privilege control with role-based security
  • Monitor history, auditing, and create built-in notifications
  • Access your job management information from one central console
  • Control cron jobs on enterprise servers from work or home

Get our Guide to Migrating Off Cron>

FAQS About Using JAMS as a Cron Replacement

Q: How do we convert Cron jobs to JAMS?  

A: With the Cron to JAMS Conversion Utility, JAMS provides an easy method of migrating all existing Cron jobs from various Linux and UNIX flavors into JAMS for a single point of management.

Q: What event-based scheduling options are available in JAMS?  

A: One of the biggest reasons JAMS makes an excellent Cron alternative is because of our event-based scheduling options that allow jobs and processes to be triggered by file transfers, system startups, user-defined events, and more. 

Q: Can both systems run side by side while we transition? 

A: Yes! While our conversion process is quick, JAMS supports all systems and platforms and lets you control your environment how you want to. 

Q: Will permissions be carried over from Cron to JAMS? 

A: Yes! The Cron to JAMS Conversion Utility pulls the core properties of your Cron jobs—like schedule, exceptions, credentials, and job sources—directly into JAMS.

Q: How should we incorporate JAMS related features once our Cron replacement is completed and jobs are moved over? 

A: Once your Cron jobs are migrated into JAMS, you can apply dozens of new properties to schedule and trigger jobs according to the unique requirements of your business.

Q: How do I schedule a job without cron? 

A: The JAMS job scheduler lets you orchestrate jobs across any platform or system so you can include non-Cron jobs into workflows so you don’t have to use multiple disparate tools to accomplish your job scheduling needs.

5 Other Cron Alternatives

Looking to broaden your search for a Cron alternative?  Here are five other tools to consider, however, while they’ll replace Cron, they will only run your jobs on UNIX and Linux and not provide cross-platform job scheduling in a single pane of glass:

  • JAMS
    JAMS simplifies and schedules Cron jobs for event-driven, coordinated batch processing.
  • Cronie
    Cronie runs programs at scheduled times using the UNIX daemon crond.
  • Anacron
    For systems that don’t run 24 hours a day, Anacron runs jobs daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Airplane
    Airplane uses scheduled tasks to replace Cron jobs.
  • Fcron
    Fcron uses scripts to replace Cron jobs.
  • Systemd
    Systemd is a system and service manager for Linux.


See a Cron Job Scheduling Alternative in Action