DBA Tips Archive for Oracle


Crontab Redirect to Log File With Date in Name

by Jeff Hunter, Sr. Database Administrator


  1. Overview
  2. Solution


The following article should serve as a note on how to include a date string (using the UNIX date command) to a file within a crontab file.

You may have run into this before. You attempt to insert the current date/time to a file within the crontab as follows:

30 12 * * * /u01/app/oracle/bin/rman_backup.pl > /u01/app/oracle/log/rman_backup_`date '+%Y%M%d'`.log 2>&1
You then receive an email from cron with the following error:

/u01/app/oracle/log/rman_backup_`date '

/bin/sh: -c: line 1: unexpected EOF while looking for matching ``'
/bin/sh: -c: line 2: syntax error: unexpected end of file

Ok, so you try to escape the % with \ and try it again. Well, I didn't get an error, but the log file now includes the newly included escape character \:

Even trying to use two escape characters does not do the trick. You will get an error similar to the first by with +\\ at the end of the message.

One solution is to simply use the date command without any formatting, but this is not what most users are looking for when you want a standard convention (standard date format like YYYYMMDD) for log files.

Read on for one possible solution...

The solution that has always worked for me no matter what SHELL I am using or the flavor of UNIX:
30 12 * * * /u01/app/oracle/bin/rman_backup.pl > /u01/app/oracle/log/rman_backup_$(date +\%Y\%m\%d_\%H:\%M:\%S\%z).log 2>&1
If you need only the date (not including the time element):
30 12 * * * /u01/app/oracle/bin/rman_backup.pl > /u01/app/oracle/log/rman_backup_$(date +\%Y\%m\%d).log 2>&1

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Last modified on
Friday, 22-Feb-2008 18:18:01 EST
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