I am old fashioned. I use UNIX cron to kick off jobs. They might sqlplus into the database to run some SQL scripts. However Oracle has ways within the database to run scheduled jobs. I am just not that familiar with them. I think the old way was using DBMS_JOBS. Now we have a replacement (or at least an extension) in DBMS_SCHEDULER.

The package gives you procedures such to create a job, run a job, drop a job, enable/disable jobs, or create a schedule. You can provide a job to these procs. Or you can use a list of jobs. Be warned that if you chain jobs, any error halts the whole chain.

One way to do scheduling is to specify a frequency like DAILY or WEEKLY. You don't need to commit changes to have the jobs actually start. So they operate kinds of like DDL in that respect. Some good views of interest to see job info are DBA_SCHEDULER_JOBS and DBA_SCHEDULER_JOB_LOG.

The main privilege you need to run a job is CREATE_JOB. The super priv is SCHEDULER_ADMIN. But you should use that one sparingly. The package was first released in Oracle 10g. Other notable enhancements were the ability to run jobs on external servers in 11gR1. And we got email notifications in 11gR2.

I still am a newbie in the scheduling of jobs within the database. But I am starting to learn the landscape.