rclone is a command-line program that can be used to sync files and folders to and from cloud services such as Google Drive, Amazon S3, Dropbox, and many others.

In this example, we will show how to use rclone to sync files to a Google Drive account, but the official documentation has specific instructions for other services.

Setting up rclone for use with Google Drive on Palmetto

To use rclone with any of the above cloud storage services, you must perform a one-time configuration. You can configure rclone to work with as many services as you like.

For the one-time configuration, you will need to log-in with tunneling enabled. Once logged-in, ask for an interactive job:

$ qsub -I -X

Once the job starts, load the rclone module:

$ module add rclone/1.23

After rclone is loaded, you must set up a “remote”. In this case, we will configure a remote for Google Drive. You can create and manage a separate remote for each cloud storage service you want to use. Start by entering the following command:

$ rclone config

n) New remote
q) Quit config

Hit n then Enter to create a new remote host


Provide any name for this remote host. For example: gmaildrive

What type of source is it?
Choose a number from below
 1) amazon cloud drive
 2) drive
 3) dropbox
 4) google cloud storage
 5) local
 6) s3
 7) swift

Provide any number for the remote source. For example choose number 2 for goolge drive.

Google Application Client Id - leave blank normally.
client_id> # Enter to leave blank
Google Application Client Secret - leave blank normally.
client_secret> # Enter to leave blank

Remote config
Use auto config?
 * Say Y if not sure
 * Say N if you are working on a remote or headless machine or Y didn't work
y) Yes
n) No

Use y if you are not sure

If your browser doesn't open automatically go to the following link:
Log in and authorize rclone for access
Waiting for code...

This will open the Firefox web browser, allowing you to log-in to your Google account. Enter your username and password then accept to let rclone access your Goolge drive. Once this is done, the browser will ask you to go back to rclone to continue.

Got code
client_id =
client_secret =
token = {"access_token":"xyz","token_type":"Bearer","refresh_token":"xyz","expiry":"yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss"}
y) Yes this is OK
e) Edit this remote
d) Delete this remote

Select y to finish configure this remote host. The gmaildrive host will then be created.

Current remotes:

Name                 Type
====                 ====
gmaildrive           drive

e) Edit existing remote
n) New remote
d) Delete remote
q) Quit config

After this, you can quit the config using q, kill the job and exit this ssh session:

$ exit

Using rclone

Whenever transfering files (using rclone or otherwise), login to the transfer node xfer01-ext.palmetto.clemson.edu.

  • In MobaXterm, create a new ssh session with xfer01-ext.palmetto.clemson.edu as the Remote host
  • In MacOS, open new terminal and ssh user@xfer01-ext.palmetto.clemson.edu

Once logged-in, load the rclone module:

$ module add rclone/1.23

You can check the content of the remote host gmaildrive:

$ rclone ls gmaildrive:
$ rclone lsd gmaildrive: 

You can use rclone to (for example) copy a file from Palmetto to any folder in your Google Drive:

$ rclone copy /path/to/file/on/palmetto gmaildrive:/path/to/folder/on/drive

Or if you want to copy to a specific destination on Google Drive back to Palmetto:

$ rclone copy gmaildrive:/path/to/folder/on/drive /path/to/file/on/palmetto

Additional rclone commands can be found here.