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Clone Files or Directories

This command makes a 1:1 clone of your data by creating a mere metadata copy, without creating any new data in the object storage, thus cloning is very fast regardless of target file / directory size. Under JuiceFS, this command is a better alternative to cp, moreover, for Linux clients using kernels with copy_file_range support, then the cp command achieves the same result as juicefs clone.


The clone result is a metadata copy only, where all the files are still referencing the same underlying object storage blocks, that's why a clone behaves the same in every way as its originals. When either of them go through actual file data modification, the affected data blocks will be copied on write, and become new blocks after write, while the unchanged part of the files remains the same, still referencing the original blocks.

Please note that system tools like disk-free or disk-usage (df, du) will report the space used by the cloned data, but the underlying object storage space will not grow as blocks remains the same. On the same way, as metadata is actually replicated, the clone will take the same metadata engine storage space as the original.

Clones takes up both file system storage space, inodes and metadata engine storage space. Pay special attention when making clones on large size directories.

juicefs clone SRC DST

# Clone a file
juicefs clone /mnt/jfs/file1 /mnt/jfs/file2

# Clone a directory
juicefs clone /mnt/jfs/dir1 /mnt/jfs/dir2


In terms of transaction consistency, cloning behaves as follows:

  • Before clone command finishes, destination file is not visible.
  • For file: The clone command ensures atomicity, meaning that the cloned file will always be in a correct and consistent state.
  • For directory: The clone command does not guarantee atomicity for directories. In other words, if the source directory changes during the cloning process, the target directory may be different from the source directory.
  • Only one clone can be successfully created from the same location at the same time. The failed clone will clean up the temporarily created directory tree.

The clone is done by the mount process, it will be interrupted if clone command is terminated. If the clone fails or is interrupted, mount process will cleanup any created inodes. If the mount process fails to do that, there could be some leaking the metadata engine and object storage, because the dangling tree still hold the references to underlying data blocks. They could be cleaned up by the juicefs gc --delete command.