In this page you will find documentation about rclone. Rclone is the rsync for cloud storage. Information on how to install rclone and other things may be found at: https://rclone.org. More swift related information is available at: https://rclone.org/swift.

Apart from being an rsync-type tool for cloud storage, it has the following features:

  • MD5/SHA1 hashes checked at all times for file integrity
  • Timestamps preserved on files
  • Partial syncs supported on a whole file basis
  • Copy mode to just copy new/changed files
  • Sync (one way) mode to make a directory identical
  • Check mode to check for file hash equality
  • Can sync to and from network, eg two different cloud accounts
  • Optional encryption ( Crypt )
  • Optional FUSE mount ( rclone mount )


You can use both the SWIFT protocol as well as the S3 protocol to access the system. Rclone needs some variables set in order to work. You can set these in the rclone.conf file. When you use SWIFT the rclone.conf file can have the following contents:

type = swift
user = <user name>
key = <password>
auth = https://proxy.swift.surfsara.nl:5000/v3
domain = default
tenant = <project name>
tenant_domain = default
region = RegionOne
storage_url = <storage url>
auth_version = 3

Users using keystone coupled with their SURFsara Central User Administration (CUA) account should provide the value CuaUsers for domain and tenant_domain. Users having a local keystone account can leave the default values.

Here <storage url> is the url of the storage system that can be found using the swift commandline client or a script that can be downloaded from get_token_and_storage_url.sh

This rclone.conf can be generated interactively by running the command:

rclone config

Using the S3 protocol the rclone.conf file looks like this:

type = s3
env_auth = false
access_key_id = <access key>
secret_access_key = <secret key>
region = other-v2-signature
endpoint = https://proxy.swift.surfsara.nl
location_constraint = NL
acl = private
server_side_encryption =
storage_class =

By default this file resides in: .config/rclone/rclone.conf.

If you want to put the rclone.conf file in a non-standard place, then that is possible too, but then you need to run your rclone commands in the following manner:

rclone --config /path/to/rclone.conf <command> .......

Make sure that this file is only readable by you.

Copy source directory to destination container

rclone copy /my/folder swift:mycontainer

Copy the source to the destination. Doesn’t transfer unchanged files, testing by size and modification time or MD5SUM. Doesn’t delete files from the destination.

If mycontainer doesn’t exist, it is created and the contents of /my/folder go there.

Sync source directory with destination container

rclone sync /my/folder swift:mycontainer

Sync the source to the destination, changing the destination only. Doesn’t transfer unchanged files, testing by size and modification time or MD5SUM. Destination is updated to match source, including deleting files if necessary.


Important: Since this can cause data loss, test first with the –dry-run flag to see exactly what would be copied and deleted.

Note that files in the destination won’t be deleted if there were any errors at any point.

If mycontainer doesn’t exist, it is created and the contents of /my/folder go there.

Check if files in the source and destination match

rclone check /my/folder swift:mycontainer

Checks the files in the source and destination match. It compares sizes and hashes (MD5 or SHA1) and logs a report of files which don’t match. It doesn’t alter the source or destination.

Use rclone to mount file systems in user space

Using rclone to mount a file system in user space is done as follows:

rclone mount --daemon swift:[container] /path/to/local/mount

You can unmount this file system by:

fusermount -u /path/to/local/mount