Cron is the tool in Moodle (and many open source software) in charge of its biorhythm. It is the part of the system in charge of running scheduled tasks and updating elements. It is critical for messaging and other synchronous activities. So it’s no surprise that making sure Cron runs smoothly is a priority in server-side Moodle administration.
When Cron is running well, it can help identify potential issues in your Moodle site. The Cron lock statistics plugin (tool_lockstats) uses Cron to log start and end times of tasks and provide valuable information for server resource management. For each task, it logs:
- Task name
- Hostname where the task is running
- Time gained (start)
- Time released (end)
- PID (unique process ID)
Most tasks managed by Cron last a matter of seconds. The plugin helps keep track of when an ordinary task runs suspiciously long, which can help diagnose bigger problem if that task becomes a repeat offender. It is not a Cron manager and will not end Cron tasks.
Customization options are available, including blacklisting of tasks by name or PID, automatic history deletion after a given date, and debugging messaging.
Cron lock statistics are developed by Brendan Heywood and Nicholas Hoobin from Catalyst IT, Moodle Partner in New Zealand and the UK.
Install or download Cron lock statistics from the Moodle Plugin Directory here. It is compatible with Moodle 2.7 up to 3.3. Use requires administrative permissions.
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