create timestamp files for tracking state or progress
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.


Use timestamp files for tracking state or progress


Sometimes you need a simple way for processes to hand off simple information or flags between cooperating processes

  • Is daily system housekeeping running, or complete?
    • Monitoring tools can look for timestamp flag files and alert if something failed, or has taken too long
  • Is a process or task allowed to run? Or has someone or something set a flag to indicate that it should not be run?
    • We use a timestamp file to say whether or not puppet is allowed to run
    • We use timestamp files to indicate that database replication should be stopped (during maintenance), and implement a simple "lockout/tagout" system so that multiple people can turn off replication, and it won't be turned back on until the last person agrees.
  • Has a periodic task completed correctly recently?
    • A cron job can update a timestamp file when it completes, a monitoring system can alert if the task hasn't completed successfully within a reaonable time period. e.g. Some number of failures are acceptable, but consistent failures are not.

How It Works

The timestamp command manipulates files in known directories in /tmp. There are option flags to create, query, and remove timestamp files. Thus providing a very simple, primitive way of communicating via flag files, in a standardized fashion.

Dead simple, but we think it's handy.

What's missing?

It would be nice to be able to compare to the time a timestamp was set, using the timestamp command itself. Currently, we use things like the check_file_age monitoring plugin.