Memory consumption for rsync -axv --delete

John Long codeblue at
Fri Mar 25 11:10:58 UTC 2016

On Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 09:54:14AM +0000, John Long wrote:
> Hi,
> I have been using rsync for many years and never had any kind of problem.
> Lately I am running out of RAM trying to do an incremental backup to a box
> that only has 2G of RAM. The entire directory structure I'm mirroring is
> about 200G of files. A minority of subdirectories have many files.
> Is there a way to do an incremental backup with --delete option that does
> not use as much memory? Is there a way to tell rsync to use a tempfile
> instead of RAM for keeping tracking of whatever it does?
> And would it be useful to add ignores for the subdirectories I know have
> many files and back them up separately? Is --delete safe to use in this
> case, as in does --delete with --ignore somedir/ not delete files in other
> target dirs that are not in the ignore path?

I didn't phrase this part very well. Is --delete safe to use with --ignore,
meaning will rsync avoid deleting files in the ignore path on the target
side? I think the answer is probably yes but since I'm crashing the target
box with --delete I don't want to have to try this too many times.

Really I'm looking for a workaround to the high memory consumption so I can
sync up the file trees without exceeding the small RAM capacity of the
target box. Any suggestions appreciated.



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