The cron daemon manages the automatic scheduling of crontab commands. The role of the cron daemon is to check the /var/spool/cron/crontab directory for the presence of crontab files.
The following tasks are performed by the cron daemon at startup.
Checks for new crontab files
Reads the execution times that are listed within the files
Submits the commands for execution at the proper times
Listens for notifications from the crontab commands regarding updated crontab files
In much the same way, the cron daemon controls the scheduling of at files. These files are stored in the /var/spool/cron/atjobs directory. The cron daemon also listens for notifications from the crontab commands regarding submitted at jobs.