Snapshot overlay

I was wondering if there was any thought about adding a "snapshot filesystem" style overlay to a current remote? I would envision it would be similar to a cache layer but instead of caching, obviously it would be a snapshot layer.

In a snapshot filesystem, all file changes are tracked and one can go back to any version of a file or filesystem. This would be very nice to have even to be able to overlay on the local filesystem.


  • the filesystem could grow quite fast, especially with changes to large binary files.
  • how to map unchanged files across time (no hard links as it would have to be possible to do in WIndows etc
  • access to the current version if the snapshot overlay is not active (?)

I wouldn't know how to implement this type of thing (git? probably not, sqlite databases for file tracking? not sure). But I think it would be a really useful overlay on top of any remote.


you get get some of those features with a command such as

rclone sync ./source remote:full --backup-dir=remote:incrementals/`date +%Y%m%d.%I%M%S`

That is interesting, I hadn't thought of putting those command line options together. It seems like much of the infrastructure is there already.

I was thinking more of an actual layer so that the "complexity" could be abstracted out for the user.

well, not sure what the "complexity" is.

each time the command is run, there will be a new subfolder with a date.time stamp
the 'user' can simply browse the folders and see the files therein using rclone browser or the website of whatever backend you are using.

also, you can do a rclone mount remote: /path/to/local/folder
and then use your favorite GUI file manager to view a folder such as /path/to/local/folder/incrementals/20210732.1500 and download whatever files you need....

I had proposed a chunk-based deuplicating backend which, if ever done (doubtful) could easily also do this. The idea is that it uses content-defined chunking (a la restic) and then has a blob directory and a file directory. Each file the metadata and a list of blocks. I like the idea a lot but it is also a ton of work!

Something like what you said has also been discussed recently (I was dissenting because I think --backup-dir gets that job done too).

tl;dr - KISS

imho, i trust rclone because it is simple, no databases, not dedupe backend, no blobs, no blocks, no chunks, no content defined anything.
rclone already has a chunk backend, that has never left beta, cannot use it cause i cannot trust it....

nice and simple,
please rclone, just copy this file from here to there with checksum verification.
and if a file can be crypted along the way, bonus points.

and a tons of bugs, alphas, betas and perhaps perchance, maybe someday become stable.

restic is already a thing that makes use of rclone so why turn rclone into restic light edition.

in my case, i use/trust veeam backup, which has a database, and VSS delta snapshots.
and use rclone just to copy those files to cloud with checksum verification.

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