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Data migration

juicefs sync is a powerful data migration tool, which can copy data across all supported storages including object storage, JuiceFS itself, and local file systems, you can freely copy data between any of these systems. In addition, it supports remote directories through SSH, HDFS, WebDAV, etc. while providing advanced features such as incremental synchronization, and pattern matching (like rsync), and distributed syncing.

Mixing Community Edition and Enterprise Edition

juicefs sync shares code between community edition and enterprise edition, that's why even if you use the other version, sync will continue to work normally, with one exception with jfs:// protocols. CE and EE employ different metadata implementations, so if jfs:// is involved, you can't mixed two editions.

juicefs sync works like this:

juicefs sync [command options] SRC DST

# Sync object from OSS to S3
juicefs sync oss:// s3://

# Sync objects from S3 to JuiceFS
juicefs sync s3:// jfs://VOL_NAME/

# SRC: a1/b1,a2/b2,aaa/b1 DST: empty sync result: aaa/b1
juicefs sync --exclude='a?/b*' s3:// jfs://VOL_NAME/

# SRC: a1/b1,a2/b2,aaa/b1 DST: empty sync result: a1/b1,aaa/b1
juicefs sync --include='a1/b1' --exclude='a[1-9]/b*' s3:// jfs://VOL_NAME/

# SRC: a1/b1,a2/b2,aaa/b1,b1,b2 DST: empty sync result: a1/b1,b2
juicefs sync --include='a1/b1' --exclude='a*' --include='b2' --exclude='b?' s3:// jfs://VOL_NAME/

Pattern matching

When composing a sync command, keep in mind that SRC and DST ending with a trailing / are treated as directories (e.g. movie/.) Those don't without a trailing / are treated as prefixes, and will be used for pattern matching. Assuming we have test and text directories in the current directory, the following command can synchronize them into the destination ~/mnt/:

juicefs sync ./te ~/mnt/

In this way, the subcommand sync takes te as a prefix to find all the matching directories, i.e. test and text. The above command will copy them to ~/mnt/.

You can also change the destination to add a prefix, effectively renaming while copying:

# The `test` directory synchronized to the destination directory will be renamed as `abst`, and `text` will be `abxt`
juicefs sync ./te ~/mnt/ab

Similar to rsync, you can use --exclude, --include patterns to build filters:

  • Patterns ending with / only matches directories; otherwise, they match files, links or devices.
  • Patterns containing *, ? or [ match as wildcards, otherwise, they match as regular strings;
  • * matches any non-empty path components (it stops at /).
  • ? matches any single character except /;
  • [ matches a set of characters, for example [a-z] or [[:alpha:]];
  • Backslashes can be used to escape characters in wildcard patterns, while they match literally when no wildcards are present.
  • It is always matched recursively using patterns as prefixes.
  • The earlier options have higher priorities than the latter ones. Thus, the --include options should come before --exclude. Otherwise, all the --include options such as --include 'pic/' --include '4.png' which appear later than --exclude '*' will be ignored.

To sync everything, but excludes hidden directories and files (name starting with . is regarded as hidden):

# Excluding hidden directories and files
juicefs sync --exclude '.*' /tmp/dir/ s3://ABCDEFG:[email protected]/

You can use this option several times with different parameters to exclude multiple patterns. For example, using the following command can exclude all hidden files, pic/ directory and 4.png:

juicefs sync --exclude '.*' --exclude 'pic/' --exclude '4.png' /tmp/dir/ s3://ABCDEFG:[email protected]

Option --include can be used to include patterns you don't want to exclude. For example, only pic/ and 4.png are synchronized and all the others are excluded:

juicefs sync --include 'pic/' --include '4.png' --exclude '*' /tmp/dir/ s3://ABCDEFG:[email protected]

Pattern matching can also be used to delete specific files from the storage system. The trick is to create an empty directory locally as SRC.

The demonstrations are as follows. To be cautious, all demonstrations add the --dry --debug options, so the command will not actually delete any files, but print the execution plan. After the verification is successful, you can actually execute it by removing these two options:

mkdir empty-dir
# Delete all objects in mybucket, but keep files with the suffix .gz
juicefs sync ./empty-dir/ s3://xxx:[email protected]/ --delete-dst --exclude=*.gz --dry --debug
# Delete all files with .gz extension in mybucket
juicefs sync ./empty-dir/ s3://xxx:[email protected]/ --delete-dst --include=*.gz --dry --debug

Sync behavior

Sync without a mount point

For data migrations that involve JuiceFS, it's recommended use the jfs:// protocol, rather than mount JuiceFS and access its local directory, which bypasses the FUSE mount point and access JuiceFS directly. This process still requires the client configuration file, you should prepare in advance using juicefs auth. Under large scale scenarios, bypassing FUSE can save precious resources and increase performance.

Incremental and full synchronization

By default, juicefs sync performs incremental synchronization, existing files are overwritten when their sizes don't match. On top of this, you can also use --update to copy files when source files' mtime are newer. For scenarios with higher demand for data integrity, use --check-new or --check-all to perform byte stream comparison between SRC and DST.

For full synchronization (copy everything no matter already exists or not), use --force-update.

Directory structure and file permissions

juicefs sync skips empty directories by default. To synchronize empty directories, you can use --dirs option.

In addition, when synchronizing between file systems such as local, SFTP and HDFS, option --perms can be used to synchronize file permissions.

You can use --links option to disable symbolic link resolving when synchronizing local directories. That is, synchronizing only the symbolic links themselves rather than the directories or files they are pointing to. The new symbolic links created by the synchronization refer to the same paths as the original symbolic links without any conversions, no matter whether their references are reachable before or after the synchronization. Also note that:

  • The mtime of a symbolic link will not be synchronized;
  • The --check-new and --perms options will be ignored when synchronizing symbolic links.

Data sync and compaction

When destination is a JuiceFS file system, the jfs:// protocol is preferred because it needs no FUSE mount point (saves overhead), and also it's already optimized for file fragmentation problems.

If you absolutely have to use a FUSE mount point to carry out data migration, then for large file scenarios, it's recommended to add the --flush-wait=60s option, this will effectively reduce the number of slices and reduce write amplification. Read troubleshooting write amplification to learn more.

Under large file scenarios, pay special attention to the compaction problem: if upload bandwidth is limited, or write load is too big, writing big files can create much more data fragments, and compacting them will cause further write amplification. This problem exists only with FUSE mount points, if you're using the jfs:// protocol, then the optimizations mentioned below is already integrated in the software, no need to read further.

If you notice abnormal compaction traffic (can be checked in the file system monitor tab), it's possible that the slow sync speed caused file fragmentation. When mounting using JuiceFS Client, the default --flush-wait is 5 seconds, meaning that all writes will be uploaded and persisted to object storage every 5 seconds. Evidently, when copying files with high concurrency, the frequent flush will quickly deteriorate the fragmentation situation. To fix this, add --flush-wait=60 to the mount options,

Accelerate synchronization

juicefs sync by default starts 10 threads to run syncing jobs, you can set the --threads option to increase or decrease the number of threads as needed. But also note that due to resource limits on a single node, blindly increasing --threads may not always work but cause OOM instead. You should also consider:

  • SRC and DST storage systems may have already reached their bandwidth limits, if this is indeed the bottleneck, further increasing concurrency will not improve the situation;
  • Performing juicefs sync on a single host may be limited by host resources, e.g. CPU or network throttle, if this is the case, consider the following:
    • If there's a higher spec machine available in you environment, preferably with better CPU or bandwidth, use this node instead to run juicefs sync, and access source data via SSH, for example, juicefs sync root@src:/data /jfs/data;
    • use distributed synchronization (introduced below).
  • If the synchronized data is mainly small files, and the list API of SRC storage system has excellent performance, then the default single-threaded list of juicefs sync may become a bottleneck. You can consider enabling concurrent list (introduced below).

Concurrent list

From the output of juicefs sync, pay attention to the Pending objects count, if this value stays zero, consumption is faster than production and you should increase --list-threads to enable concurrent list, and then use --list-depth to control list depth.

For example, if you're dealing with a object storage bucket used by JuiceFS, directory structure will be /<vol-name>/chunks/xxx/xxx/..., using --list-depth=2 will perform concurrent listing on /<vol-name>/chunks which usually renders the best performance.

Distributed synchronization

Synchronizing between two object storages is essentially pulling data from one and pushing it to the other. The efficiency of the synchronization will depend on the bandwidth between the client and the cloud.


When copying large scale data, node bandwidth can easily bottleneck the synchronization process. For this scenario, juicefs sync provides a multi-machine concurrent solution, as shown in the figure below.


Manager node executes sync command as the master, and defines multiple worker nodes by setting option --worker (manager node itself also serve as a worker node). JuiceFS will split the workload distribute to Workers for distributed synchronization. This increases the amount of data that can be processed per unit time, and the total bandwidth is also multiplied.

When using distributed syncing, you should configure SSH logins so that the manager can access all worker nodes without password, if SSH port isn't the default 22, you'll also have to include that in the manager's ~/.ssh/config. Manager will distribute the JuiceFS Client to all worker nodes, so they should all use the same architecture to avoid running into compatibility problems.

For example, to synchronize data between two object storage services:

juicefs sync --worker [email protected],[email protected] s3://ABCDEFG:[email protected] oss://ABCDEFG:[email protected]

The synchronization workload between the two object storages is shared by the manager machine and the two Workers [email protected] and [email protected].


Simply put, when using sync to transfer big files, progress bar might move slowly or get stuck. If this happens, you can observe the progress using other methods.

sync assumes it's mainly used to copy a large amount of files, its progress bar is designed for this scenario: progress only updates when a file has been transferred. In a large file scenario, every file is transferred slowly, hence the slow or even static progress bar. This is worse for destinations without multipart upload support (e.g. file, sftp, jfs, schemes), where every file is transferred single-threaded.

If progress bar is not moving, use below methods to observe and troubleshoot:

  • Add --verbose or --debug option to the juicefs sync command to print debug logs.

  • If either end is a JuiceFS mount point:

  • If destination is a local disk, look for temporary files that end with, these are the temp files created by sync, they will be renamed upon transfer complete. Look for size changes in temp files to verify the current I/O status.

  • If both end are object storage services, use tools like nethogs to check network IO.

  • When non of the above methods retrieve useful debug information, please collect its goroutine and send to Juicedata engineers:

    # Replace <PID> with actual PID of the stuck sync process
    # This command will print its pprof listen port
    lsof -p <PID> | grep TCP | grep LISTEN
    # pprof port is typically 6061, but in the face of port conflict,
    # port number will be automatically increased
    curl -s localhost:6061/debug/pprof/goroutine?debug=1

Sync across regions using S3 Gateway

When transferring a large amount of small files across different regions via FUSE mount points, clients will inevitably talk to the metadata service in the opposite region via public internet (or dedicated network connection with limited bandwidth). In such cases, metadata latency can become the bottleneck of the data transfer:

sync via public metadata service

S3 Gateway comes to rescue in these circumstances: deploy a gateway in the source region, and since this gateway accesses metadata via private network, metadata latency is eliminated to a minimum, bringing the best performance for small file intensive scenarios.

sync via gateway

Read S3 Gateway to learn its deployment and use.