The Receiver

The receiver will read from the sender data for each file identified by the file index number. It will open the local file (called the basis) and will create a temporary file.

The receiver will expect to read non-matched data and/or to match records all in sequence for the final file contents. When non-matched data is read it will be written to the temp-file. When a block match record is received the receiver will seek to the block offset in the basis file and copy the block to the temp-file. In this way the temp-file is built from beginning to end.

The file’s checksum is generated as the temp-file is built. At the end of the file, this checksum is compared with the file checksum from the sender. If the file checksums do not match the temp-file is deleted. If the file fails once it will be reprocessed in a second phase, and if it fails twice an error is reported.

After the temp-file has been completed, its ownership and permissions and modification time are set. It is then renamed to replace the basis file.

Copying data from the basis file to the temp-file make the receiver the most disk intensive of all the rsync processes. Small files may still be in disk cache mitigating this but for large files the cache may thrash as the generator has moved on to other files and there is further latency caused by the sender. As data is read possibly at random from one file and written to another, if the working set is larger than the disk cache, then what is called a seek storm can occur, further hurting performance.