For some reasons it could be necessary to execute a job in scheduled time. When running the job within a Docker container there’re two ways to do this.

The first would be to create a cron job on the server on which Docker is running and let them execute the job with docker run.

The second way would be to let do everything within the Docker container. But you don’t need to implement any scheduling functionality since it’s out of the box available from any Linux based container.

For example when your container is using the tiny Alpine base image you can use crond for it. The following code snippets are showing you everything what is todo.


NOW=$(date +"%T")

echo "Hello from the job at ${NOW} in $(pwd)" >> /dev/stdout


FROM alpine:latest

COPY ./ /etc/periodic/15min/job
RUN chmod +x /etc/periodic/15min/job

CMD ["crond", "-fS"]

The dockerfile is doing two things. It’s copying the into a predefined folder and mark them as executable.

All scripts that are within this folder will be executed by crond every 15 minutes. There’re more predefined folders under etc/periodic to let run a job hourly, daily, weekly or once per month. In case you need more flexibility you’ve to change the crontabs file for the root user manually.

The program crond comes with the tiny Alpine image but it will not be executed automatically as a background daemon.

It’s possible to let run crond as a foreground process, which is intersting for us. Since we need a process wich is running always, otherwise our Docker container will be finished immdiately after it was started. So with giving dockerd the -f flag as argument it will run constantly as a foreground process and our Docker container will also running continuously.

Please keep in mind that it’s required that the script in the targetfolder don’t have the .sh extension, otherwise run-parts which is used from crond, will not use your script.

Please keep also in mind that the workingdirectory where the will be executed is the /root folder. So maybe you’ve to change the working directory in the at first before executing whatever you’ve to execute…