Title is TLDR. More info about what I’m trying to do below.

My daily driver computer is Laptop with an SSD. No possibility to expand.

So for storage of lots n lots of files, I have an old, low resource Desktop with a bunch of HDDs plugged in (mostly via USB).

I can access Desktop files via SSH/SFTP on the LAN. But it can be quite slow.

And sometimes (not too often; this isn’t a main requirement) I take Laptop to use elsewhere. I do not plan to make Desktop available outside the network so I need to have a copy of required files on Laptop.

Therefor, sometimes I like to move the remote files from Desktop to Laptop to work on them. To make a sort of local cache. This could be individual files or directory trees.

But then I have a mess of duplication. Sometimes I forget to put the files back.

Seems like Laptop could be a lot more clever than I am and help with this. Like could it always fetch a remote file which is being edited and save it locally?

Is there any way to have Laptop fetch files, information about file trees, etc, located on Desktop when needed and smartly put them back after editing?

Or even keep some stuff around. Like lists of files, attributes, thumbnails etc. Even browsing the directory tree on Desktop can be slow sometimes.

I am not sure what this would be called.

Ideas and tools I am already comfortable with:

  • rsync is the most obvious foundation to work from but I am not sure exactly what would be the best configuration and how to manage it.

  • luckybackup is my favorite rsync GUI front end; it lets you save profiles, jobs etc which is sweet

  • freeFileSync is another GUI front end I’ve used but I am preferring lucky/rsync these days

  • I don’t think git is a viable solution here because there are already git directories included, there are many non-text files, and some of the directory trees are so large that they would cause git to choke looking at all the files.

  • syncthing might work. I’ve been having issues with it lately but I may have gotten these ironed out.

Something a little more transparent than the above would be cool but I am not sure if that exists?

Any help appreciated even just idea on what to web search for because I am stumped even on that.

  • bartlbee@lemmy.sdf.org
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    2 months ago

    zerotier + rclone sftp/scp mount w/ vfs cache? I haven’t tried using vfs cache with anything other than a cloud mount but it may be worth looking at. rclone mounts work just as well as sshfs; zerotier eliminates network issues

    • linuxPIPEpowerOP
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      2 months ago

      What would be the role of Zerotier? It seems like some sort of VPN-type application. What do I need that for?

      rclone is cool and I used it before. I was never able to get it to work really consistently so always gave up. But that’s probably use error.

      That said, I can mount network drives and access them from within the file system. I think GVFS is doing the lifting for that. There are a couple different ways I’ve tried including with rclone, none seemed superior performance-wise. I should say the Desktop computer is just old and slow; there is only so much improvement possible if the files reside there. I would much prefer to work on my Laptop directly and move them back to Desktop for safe keeping when done.

      “vfs cache” is certainly an intriguing term

      Looks like maybe the main documentation is rclone mount > vfs-file-caching and specifically --vfs-cache-mode-full

      In this mode the files in the cache will be sparse files and rclone will keep track of which bits of the files it has downloaded.

      So if an application only reads the starts of each file, then rclone will only buffer the start of the file. These files will appear to be their full size in the cache, but they will be sparse files with only the data that has been downloaded present in them.

      I’m not totally sure what this would be doing, if it is exactly what I want, or close enough? I am remembering now one reason I didn’t stick with rclone which is I find the documentation difficult to understand. This is a really useful lead though.

      • bartlbee@lemmy.sdf.org
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        2 months ago

        Zerotier + sshfs is something I use consistently in similar situations to yours - and yes, zerotier is similar to a vpn. Using it for a constant network connection makes it less critical to have everything mirrored locally. . . But I guess this doesn’t solve your speed issue.

        I"m not an expert in rclone. I use it for connecting to various cloud drives and have occasionally used it for an alternative to sshfs. I"ve used vfs-cache for cloud syncs but not quite in the manner you are trying. I do see there is a vfs cache read-ahead option that might he|p? Agreed on the documentation, sometimes their forum helps.