Rsync

Pros:

  • Can be resumed
  • Progress indicator (kindof)
  • Runs across ANY filesystem
  • Easy to debug
  • Tried & tested !

Cons:

  • rsync-ing a running system is like booting a system after a power cut
  • Rsyncing to a crappy filesystem might lose metadata
  • You can't realistically roll back without fs dependant hacks like hardlinks

Btrfs

A new entrant! Is it actually ... BETTER than rsync?

Pros:

  • A snapshot (to be backed up) can be made instantly on boot or on poweroff, when the files aren't open
  • Works nicely with systemd-nspawn so you can safely test mirrors of your filesystem
  • Easier to roll back
  • Can store more efficiently

Cons:

  • You need to setup the snapshotting regime
  • Complex, probably buggy and fallible (potentially dangerous)
  • btrfs send cannot be resumed, so if you sending a backup somewhere remote and it's interrupted... start again!
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