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FEATURE STATE: Kubernetes v1.21 [stable]

A CronJob creates Jobs on a repeating schedule.

One CronJob object is like one line of a crontab (cron table) file. It runs a job periodically on a given schedule, written in Cron format.

When creating the manifest for a CronJob resource, make sure the name you provide is a valid DNS subdomain name. The name must be no longer than 52 characters. This is because the CronJob controller will automatically append 11 characters to the job name provided and there is a constraint that the maximum length of a Job name is no more than 63 characters.


CronJobs are meant for performing regular scheduled actions such as backups, report generation, and so on. Each of those tasks should be configured to recur indefinitely (for example: once a day / week / month); you can define the point in time within that interval when the job should start.


This example CronJob manifest prints the current time and a hello message every minute:

apiVersion: batch/v1
kind: CronJob
  name: hello
  schedule: "* * * * *"
          - name: hello
            image: busybox:1.28
            imagePullPolicy: IfNotPresent
            - /bin/sh
            - -c
            - date; echo Hello from the Kubernetes cluster
          restartPolicy: OnFailure

(Running Automated Tasks with a CronJob takes you through this example in more detail).

Cron schedule syntax

# ┌───────────── minute (0 - 59)
# │ ┌───────────── hour (0 - 23)
# │ │ ┌───────────── day of the month (1 - 31)
# │ │ │ ┌───────────── month (1 - 12)
# │ │ │ │ ┌───────────── day of the week (0 - 6) (Sunday to Saturday;
# │ │ │ │ │                                   7 is also Sunday on some systems)
# │ │ │ │ │                                   OR sun, mon, tue, wed, thu, fri, sat
# │ │ │ │ │
# * * * * *
Entry Description Equivalent to
@yearly (or @annually) Run once a year at midnight of 1 January 0 0 1 1 *
@monthly Run once a month at midnight of the first day of the month 0 0 1 * *
@weekly Run once a week at midnight on Sunday morning 0 0 * * 0
@daily (or @midnight) Run once a day at midnight 0 0 * * *
@hourly Run once an hour at the beginning of the hour 0 * * * *

For example, the line below states that the task must be started every Friday at midnight, as well as on the 13th of each month at midnight:

0 0 13 * 5

To generate CronJob schedule expressions, you can also use web tools like

Time zones

For CronJobs with no time zone specified, the kube-controller-manager interprets schedules relative to its local time zone.

FEATURE STATE: Kubernetes v1.24 [alpha]

If you enable the CronJobTimeZone feature gate, you can specify a time zone for a CronJob (if you don't enable that feature gate, or if you are using a version of Kubernetes that does not have experimental time zone support, all CronJobs in your cluster have an unspecified timezone).

When you have the feature enabled, you can set spec.timeZone to the name of a valid time zone name. For example, setting spec.timeZone: "Etc/UTC" instructs Kubernetes to interpret the schedule relative to Coordinated Universal Time.

A time zone database from the Go standard library is included in the binaries and used as a fallback in case an external database is not available on the system.

CronJob limitations

A cron job creates a job object about once per execution time of its schedule. We say "about" because there are certain circumstances where two jobs might be created, or no job might be created. We attempt to make these rare, but do not completely prevent them. Therefore, jobs should be idempotent.

If startingDeadlineSeconds is set to a large value or left unset (the default) and if concurrencyPolicy is set to Allow, the jobs will always run at least once.

For every CronJob, the CronJob Controller checks how many schedules it missed in the duration from its last scheduled time until now. If there are more than 100 missed schedules, then it does not start the job and logs the error

Cannot determine if job needs to be started. Too many missed start time (> 100). Set or decrease .spec.startingDeadlineSeconds or check clock skew.

It is important to note that if the startingDeadlineSeconds field is set (not nil), the controller counts how many missed jobs occurred from the value of startingDeadlineSeconds until now rather than from the last scheduled time until now. For example, if startingDeadlineSeconds is 200, the controller counts how many missed jobs occurred in the last 200 seconds.

A CronJob is counted as missed if it has failed to be created at its scheduled time. For example, If concurrencyPolicy is set to Forbid and a CronJob was attempted to be scheduled when there was a previous schedule still running, then it would count as missed.

For example, suppose a CronJob is set to schedule a new Job every one minute beginning at 08:30:00, and its startingDeadlineSeconds field is not set. If the CronJob controller happens to be down from 08:29:00 to 10:21:00, the job will not start as the number of missed jobs which missed their schedule is greater than 100.

To illustrate this concept further, suppose a CronJob is set to schedule a new Job every one minute beginning at 08:30:00, and its startingDeadlineSeconds is set to 200 seconds. If the CronJob controller happens to be down for the same period as the previous example (08:29:00 to 10:21:00,) the Job will still start at 10:22:00. This happens as the controller now checks how many missed schedules happened in the last 200 seconds (ie, 3 missed schedules), rather than from the last scheduled time until now.

The CronJob is only responsible for creating Jobs that match its schedule, and the Job in turn is responsible for the management of the Pods it represents.

Controller version

Starting with Kubernetes v1.21 the second version of the CronJob controller is the default implementation. To disable the default CronJob controller and use the original CronJob controller instead, one pass the CronJobControllerV2 feature gate flag to the kube-controller-manager, and set this flag to false. For example:


What's next

  • Learn about Pods and Jobs, two concepts that CronJobs rely upon.
  • Read about the format of CronJob .spec.schedule fields.
  • For instructions on creating and working with CronJobs, and for an example of a CronJob manifest, see Running automated tasks with CronJobs.
  • For instructions to clean up failed or completed jobs automatically, see Clean up Jobs automatically
  • CronJob is part of the Kubernetes REST API. Read the CronJob object definition to understand the API for Kubernetes cron jobs.
Last modified March 28, 2022 at 9:42 AM PST: kep2140 (e80bed6065)