Rsync lets users replicate, backup, and synchronize files or folders across multiple systems in a network.
- Lets users transfer files and directories to a new source
- Automates the process of archive syncing
- Makes use of ssh for security purposes
- Only copies over the parts of files that are different between machines
- Minimizes time and bandwidth in syncing and transfer
- Very specialized tool with many of the same functions as Samba
- Requires a moderate understanding of command line coding
Given how much of our information is stored digitally, creating reliable backups is a necessity. While digital data allows us to store more without having to worry about hard copies taking up space or degrading, that doesn't mean it's entirely safe. An external attack or a corrupted system can easily wipe out a whole library of critical information. For power users, particularly system administrators and business owners, a backup system is practically a necessity. This allows the automation of backups and a more efficient approach to managing them. Rsync is one of the better backup systems on the market, both due to the simplicity of its interface and the effectiveness of the technology behind it. Typical backup systems have a pretty simple objective: transferring files, data, or folders from a source device to a backup server or hard drive. But that's not necessarily the most efficient way to get things done. Transferring information directly and running checksums to make sure the process is completed correctly can be a beastly drain on your bandwidth costs and a slow endeavor. Often, this means replacing new files or directories wholesale. Rsync takes a more nuanced approach to syncing and transfer. It uses a complex algorithm to compare files and directories at both the source and the recipient, identifying only the differences between these versions and transferring over only the data that distinguishes them from each other. This is a lifesaver if you regularly update large amounts of information, as it can transform a ten terabyte transfer into a sync only a fraction of that size. Rsync has been around for over two decades, and it almost always does an efficient job of only transferring what needs to be transferred, reducing the burden it puts on your network and saving time in the process. While rsync does take some degree of programming experiences, the language it draws from is pretty simple and should be easy to use for anyone familiar with working in a command line interface. Push and pull works exactly like you'd expect in a Linux terminal, and commands for creating and exporting to new directories similarly use basic command line syntax. While this can be used to transfer single files from one source to another, it's not a particularly effective way of accomplishing this. Moving entire directories and archiving them requires a little more acquired knowledge, but it's basically as simple, and the ability to automate your processes means that you can spend less time in the shell and more time focusing on more important matters. The additional ability to run tests before you lock in any command is a great function, and rsync even allows you to toggle password functions on and off at a whim. What rsync does on the surface is simple, but how it does it makes it a valuable tool for anyone who needs to regularly transfer and sync information.