Rclone as a helper for external backups

Rsync for the Cloud

Article from Issue 227/2019
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Backups for critical data have to withstand major disasters. Rclone, a descendant of Rsync, enables easy backups to the cloud and supports many services.

We all live in the hope of never getting into a situation where our belongings are destroyed by theft, fire, water, or natural disaster, but there are no guarantees. If you are serious about preserving your important digital data, you should secure it outside your home, preferably in several places at the same time. The Rsync-based Rclone [1] tool helps with off-site backup scenarios.

Rclone is a command-line program that performs one-way synchronization between locally defined datasets and a cloud. If you run it a second time, it searches the local filesystem for changes and then incrementally uploads only the changes to the cloud of your choice. Rclone implements most of Rsync's options and syntax. In addition, it offers additional commands to optimally support the individual services. Rclone offers a graphical front end for people who prefer not to work at the command line.

Rsync's two-way synchronization is not part of Rclone's feature set. This means that it deletes any locally-deleted files from the cloud, but not vice versa. In addition, the program does not save older versions when changes are made to files. It overwrites changed files, unless the selected service has its own versioning system, such as Google Drive or Dropbox. One way to avoid this is to use the backup-dir function, which moves changed or deleted files to a separate directory [2].

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