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move a lot of files over ssh

Terminal - move a lot of files over ssh
tar -cf - /home/user/test | gzip -c | ssh [email protected] 'cd /tmp; tar xfz -'
2009-08-24 18:35:38
User: esplinter
Functions: gzip ssh tar
move a lot of files over ssh

Useful to move many files (thousands or millions files) over ssh. Faster than scp because this way you save a lot of tcp connection establishments (syn/ack packets).

If using a fast lan (I have just tested gigabyte ethernet) it is faster to not compress the data so the command would be:

tar -cf - /home/user/test | ssh [email protected] 'cd /tmp; tar xf -'


There is 1 alternative - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
rsync -az /home/user/test [email protected]:/tmp/
2009-08-25 10:45:15
User: peshay
Functions: rsync
Tags: ssh file move

copy files to a ssh server with gzip compression

tar cfX - exclude_opt_weblogic . | ssh tmp-esxsb044 "cd /opt/weblogic ; tar xf -"

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

tar -czf and you spare that gzip pipe

Comment by lv4tech 361 weeks and 5 days ago

why not try a nc? Here, I am assuming that you have shells open in both the systems. The netcat manual has an example which does just that.

@lv4tech : i believe that tar internally does the same, pipes it to gzip if its -z, and bzip2 if its -j.

Comment by ninadsp 361 weeks and 5 days ago

You could also have ssh use a different (maybe less "secure") cipher like Blowfish or RC4:

tar -zcf - dirname | ssh -C blowfish-cbc [email protected] "cd /tmp; tar xfz -"

see the different speeds yourself:

openssl speed aes rc4 blowfish

It'd be interesting to see how nc does versus ssh -C with blowfish or rc4/arcfour.

Comment by bwoodacre 361 weeks and 5 days ago

Is this really saving tcp connection establishment? I tried this with many mp3 files and what I observed was, as soon as I start running it, I start seeing mp3 files in destination. So, it looks like, as if, tar is archiving/compressing single mp3, sending it through ssh and then single archive file is uncompressed at destination. So, my question is, in this case, does tar archive files one by one or compress them into single archive?

Comment by alperyilmaz 326 weeks and 2 days ago

the tar xfz on the ssh side should be zxf

Comment by elilindner 162 weeks and 4 days ago

@alperyilmaz: Yes, tar creates a stream of files. Think if it as a multi-file cat command. As the stream is sent over the wire it is one TCP connection, The tar command would then write those files as the stream comes across there by looking like it is file by file.

Comment by Sukima 102 weeks and 5 days ago

Your point of view

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