If you look online for an application to sync your data between different sources such as local filesystem or cloud – you don’t need to look far as there are loads on offer. Start to consider the specific requirements and the options become incredibly limited – but one option is perfect and the bonus is that it’s free! Let’s talk about Rclone…
So firstly Rclone is promoted as “rsync for cloud storage” which is a good description, I’ll not compare too much to rsync here though. If you have data on a storage solution (Full list covered on website) and want to copy/move/sync it to another then Rclone is a perfect tool to do this job.
I’ve already addressed that Rclone is free and will confirm that it is available on a variety of Linux distributions, Mac OS and Windows. It is perfect for both one off and regular transfers, using the supplied literature on the website on Linux you can quickly and easily create a shell script and cron job to handle your data backups 100% hands off.
I use Rclone on my home server (Windows Server 2008 R2) to keep an online backup to my unlimited Google Drive. The reason I use Rclone for this is encryption, as the data is transferred it’s content in addition to file and folder names is encrypted. Getting the perfect hands off approach on Windows is as simple as creating a batch script and then a scheduled task for the batch script.
One important consideration is that rclone has no GUI and is 100% command line driven. An application does exist to provide Rclone with a GUI but I’m still testing this and will post an update once I’ve completed testing – one comment at this time is that the setup of remotes still requires some input via CLI on the GUI version so there is no getting away from it.
For those using Rclone in a Linux environment can take advantage of FUSE and mount a remote as a filesystem. This isn’t an option in Windows at this time but workarounds do exist (Example – run Rclone on a Raspberry Pi and configure the directory of the mount as a samba share… no Raspberry Pi, consider a Virtual Machine).
Before using Rclone I looked and tested a number of alternatives but Rclone ticks a lot of boxes and is pretty hard to beat in a number of areas. Below is a video walking through the basic setup in a Windows environment.