Transferring a few hundred small files over a high latency network using scp became a bit too slow for my taste, and using ssh + tar on the same network was blazingly fast. But how fast.

Shameful scp performance… Let’s see it on the logarithmic scale to drive the point home.

Here’s the dataset, for the curious.

Time: Seconds Minutes
tar + ssh 7.6 0.127
tar + ssh -C 7 0.117
scp -r 2216 36.93
scp -Cr 2220 37.67

And the commands used:

#tar + ssh
ssh <HOST> tar -cf - <DIRECTORY> | tar -xf -

#tar + ssh -C (Enable ssh compression)
ssh -C <HOST> tar -cf - <DIRECTORY> | tar -xf -

#scp -r
scp -r <HOST>:<DIRECTORY> ./

#scp -rC (Enable ssh compression)
scp -Cr <HOST>:<DIRECTORY> ./