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A service that can start containers on a defined schedule.

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Rancher Cron Service

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This service is used to start containers on a specified schedule and uses robfig/cron cron package.

When this service is running on Rancher, it will poll Rancher Metadata for all stacks in an environment to find services that have

label set to valid cron expression format (see below).

It will automatically update itself with any new and removed services every 30 seconds.

Once it finds a container with

label, it will start that container on schedule specified by the value of that label.

You should not have Auto Restart turned on and have scale of 1 for services you wish to run as a cron container.

Running on Rancher

Use following

    io.rancher.container.create_agent: 'true'
    io.rancher.container.agent.role: environment
  image: socialengine/rancher-cron:0.2.0

It is important to include both labels as Rancher will set

, and
. If you want a bit more control, feel free to set those manually.


If something is not working as you expect, you can enable debug output by modifying the command to

rancher-cron -debug
. This is also helpful for submitting issues.

CRON Expression Format

A cron expression represents a set of times, using 6 space-separated fields.

Field name   | Mandatory? | Allowed values  | Allowed special characters
----------   | ---------- | --------------  | --------------------------
Seconds      | Yes        | 0-59            | * / , -
Minutes      | Yes        | 0-59            | * / , -
Hours        | Yes        | 0-23            | * / , -
Day of month | Yes        | 1-31            | * / , - ?
Month        | Yes        | 1-12 or JAN-DEC | * / , -
Day of week  | Yes        | 0-6 or SUN-SAT  | * / , - ?
Note: Month and Day-of-week field values are not case sensitive. "SUN", "Sun", and "sun" are equally accepted.

Special Characters

Asterisk ( * )

The asterisk indicates that the cron expression will match for all values of the field; e.g., using an asterisk in the 5th field (month) would indicate every month.

Slash ( / )

Slashes are used to describe increments of ranges. For example 3-59/15 in the 1st field (minutes) would indicate the 3rd minute of the hour and every 15 minutes thereafter. The form "*\/..." is equivalent to the form "first-last/...", that is, an increment over the largest possible range of the field. The form "N/..." is accepted as meaning "N-MAX/...", that is, starting at N, use the increment until the end of that specific range. It does not wrap around.

Comma ( , )

Commas are used to separate items of a list. For example, using "MON,WED,FRI" in the 5th field (day of week) would mean Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Hyphen ( - )

Hyphens are used to define ranges. For example, 9-17 would indicate every hour between 9am and 5pm inclusive.

Question mark ( ? )

Question mark may be used instead of '*' for leaving either day-of-month or day-of-week blank.

Predefined schedules

You may use one of several pre-defined schedules in place of a cron expression.

Entry                  | Description                                | Equivalent To
-----                  | -----------                                | -------------
@yearly (or @annually) | Run once a year, midnight, Jan. 1st        | 0 0 0 1 1 *
@monthly               | Run once a month, midnight, first of month | 0 0 0 1 * *
@weekly                | Run once a week, midnight on Sunday        | 0 0 0 * * 0
@daily (or @midnight)  | Run once a day, midnight                   | 0 0 0 * * *
@hourly                | Run once an hour, beginning of hour        | 0 0 * * * *


You may also schedule a job to execute at fixed intervals. This is supported by formatting the cron spec like this:

where "duration" is a string accepted by time.ParseDuration.

For example, "@every 1h30m10s" would indicate a schedule that activates every 1 hour, 30 minutes, 10 seconds.

Note: The interval does not take the job runtime into account. For example, if a job takes 3 minutes to run, and it is scheduled to run every 5 minutes, it will have only 2 minutes of idle time between each run.

Time zones

All interpretation and scheduling is done in the machine's local time zone (as provided by the Go time package.

Be aware that jobs scheduled during daylight-savings leap-ahead transitions will not be run!


This project uses

for managing vendor dependancies, so first, please run
govendor sync
to install external packages.



make build
to create a new executable.


VERSION=dev make package
to create a new executable and package it into a docker image (which you can then test in rancher), it will be named
. This assumes same docker daemon rancher has access to.

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