Cron Etiquette?

Thanks to HYCW, I now have a nice way of doing delayed-posting to my blog (at least, until I decide what to use when I ditch Movable Type).

One of the steps in setting up trickle is adding a cron job to run it hourly. As I was doing this, it occurred to me that cron can put a heavy burden on a shared server.

You see, cron does its check for things to do at the beginning of every minute, and it runs everything that needs to start at the same time. People tend to schedule many tasks at the top of the hour, so it seems that you could really bog down a server by running your job during those times.

I don’t manage servers on a full-time basis, so I may be overestimating the impact. I’d like to hear what others think about this, especially if you work at an ISP that handles this sort of thing on a regular basis.

In the meantime, it seems like a good thing for everybody to run your cron jobs at an odd time. For me, trickle runs at :56 after the hour :).

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