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Once upon a time, I thought I found the perfect way to document all scheduled jobs across all servers. I used Google Calendar and created a cal for each server and then added all the jobs as scheduled events. Worked really slick! (more details if curious).

Today I learned that repeating events on GCal max at 365, at which point you have to re-create or duplicate them. Since I've been adding new repeating events for the past year, they'll be "randomly" aging off for the next 11 months. I'm very sad.

Time to find a better way to document scheduled jobs!

How do you do it? I'm looking for a method that makes it pretty easy to see what tasks are scheduled for a server and/or what's scheduled for a certain time of day.

I have a few dozen servers to document, so the old "swim lane" style visio diagram is a bit too cumbersome.

[Edit] Good suggestions so far, but I was hoping to learn that maybe I was making job sched documenting too tough and that there are tons of options out there... Not the case?

[Edit2] Feb 2010 -- I see that we can now repeat events up to 1000 times. That's a nice boost.

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The response was simply -- what are all those tasks -- simply pure curiosity. This site is about learning. – SirStan Aug 20 '09 at 0:20
They are the tasks that keep my little empire running :-) Backups, code promotions, various service restarts, etc. etc. I know what they are, I want to come up with a good way to document their schedules. – Chris_K Aug 20 '09 at 1:47
up vote 1 down vote accepted

My second thought was to export the calendar files from google and use a script to create future files for re-import. (and add that to the jobs list ;-) That would depend on the maximum periodicity of the items I think.

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Well, that may be easiest(?). I'm kind of looking for an option besides GCal... thoughts? – Chris_K Aug 21 '09 at 1:41
Thanks, Mike. For the moment, I'll probably go with something along this suggestion. I'll confess, I was kind of hoping to get suggestions of other tools/methods, but since the cal thing [mostly] works... – Chris_K Aug 23 '09 at 14:14

I would think you'd be able to do something fairly similar by setting up your own CalDAV server and using a compatible client. I think iCal, Kontakt (from KDE), Evolution, and maybe even exchange can read those files.

After reading your article, depending on your wiki software you might be able to find a plugin that reads the iCalendar format.

I thought about this a little more and I checked out a couple of the more popular wikis (mediawiki and tikiwiki) and it turns out that if you go the route of actually hosting your own calendars, you're in luck. There are two plugins for mediawiki :

The Kenyu73 Calendar extension which actually reads the vCal/iCalendar format and The Barrylb calendar extension which doesn't mention if it does (I would suspect it does not).

Additionally, tikiwiki seems to have support for calendars built in (along with nearly everything else) and should probably support vCal/iCalendar format since its billed as a CMS/Groupware solution.

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How do you want to use this information? Do you want alerts or are you simply looking for what amounts to as a daily to-do list? If Google's calendar isn't suitable there are any number of alternatives. As you've already mentioned Visio I'll assume you have at least some Windows in your environment, so what's wrong with Outlook's calendar? If you also have OWA it can be accessed from anywhere, should the need arise.

But... Do you really need a calendar at all? To my way of thinking nearly everything should be automated, coupled with a monitoring system to ensure it all works correctly, so there should be very little need for a calendar. Instead, just document the automation.

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Good questions! Ideally, I want to be able to see what's running where and when -- reasonably, at a glance. When I bring up a new server and need to schedule jobs I want to be able to spot the "open" times. If someone calls at 7PM and says everything is slow, I want one place to look to see what I have scheduled to run at 7PM (or 6:30). Documentation! – Chris_K Aug 21 '09 at 13:52

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