Feature request, or HowTo? State-full resume rsync transfer

Donald Pearson donaldwhpearson at gmail.com
Mon Jul 11 14:01:57 MDT 2011

I am looking to do state-full resume of rsync transfers.

My network environment is is an unreliable and slow satellite
infrastructure, and the files I need to send are approaching 10 gigs in
size.  In this network environment often times links cannot be maintained
for more than a few minutes at a time.  In this environment, bandwidth is at
a premium, which is why rsync was chosen as ideal for the job.

The problem that I am encountering while using rsync in these conditions is
that the connection between the client and server will drop due to network
instability before rsync can transfer the entire file.

Upon retries, rsync starts from the beginning.  Re-checking data that has
already been sent, as well as re-building the checksum in it's entirety
every time.  Eventually I reach an impasse where the frequency of link loss
prevents rsync from ever getting any new data to the destination.

I've been reading through the various switches in the man pages to try to
find a combination that will work.  My thinking was to use a combination of
--partial and --append.  With the first attempt using the --partial switch,
and subsequent attempts using both --partial and --append.  The idea being
rsync would build a new "partial" file, and be able to resume building that
file while making the assumption upon subsequent retries that the existing
partial file, however large it may be, was assembled correctly and does not
need to be checked.

However in practice rsync does not work in this way.  I did not find any
other switches or methods that would enable rsync to literally pick up where
it left off, without destroying the original destination file, so that it's
blocks can be used to minimize transferred data and not need to always start
from block #1.  Such that the aggregate of multiple rsync attempts are able
to complete the transfer as a whole while still maintaining the minimum
amount of data "on the wire" as if the file was sent in a single rsync

If this is possible with rsync's current feature set I would be very
appreciative of someones time to reply with an example.

Or if this is not currently possible, an idea that comes to mind and
ultimately a feature request would be to have a switch that tells rsync upon
session drop, to do a memory dump of its checksum list, and the last
completed block worked on, to a provided file name specified by the switch.
 This way, with a 2nd switch, rsync can be executed again and will reference
this memory dump file, instead of rebuilding a new checksum list, and use
that to pick up where it left off or "restore previous state", instead of
starting over from block #1.

Best regards,
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