zbox 0.6.1

Zbox is a zero-details, privacy-focused embeddable file system.


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Zbox is a zero-details, privacy-focused embeddable file system. Its goal is to help application store files securely, privately and reliably. By encapsulating files and directories into an encrypted repository, it provides a virtual file system and exclusive access to authorised application.

Unlike other system-level file systems, such as ext4, XFS and Btrfs, which provide shared access to multiple processes, Zbox is a file system that runs in the same memory space as the application. It only provides access to one process at a time.

By abstracting IO access, Zbox supports a variety of underlying storage layers, including memory, OS file system, RDBMS and key-value object store.


Zbox is under active development, we are not responsible for any data loss or leak caused by using it. Always back up your files and use at your own risk!


  • Everything is encrypted :lock:, including metadata and directory structure, no knowledge can be leaked to underlying storage
  • State-of-the-art cryptography: AES-256-GCM (hardware), XChaCha20-Poly1305, Argon2 password hashing and etc., empowered by libsodium
  • Support multiple storages, including memory, OS file system, RDBMS, Key-value object store (coming soon) and more
  • Content-based data chunk deduplication and file-based deduplication
  • Data compression using LZ4 in fast mode, optional
  • Data integrity is guaranteed by authenticated encryption primitives (AEAD crypto)
  • File contents versioning
  • Copy-on-write (COW :cow:) semantics
  • ACID transactional operations
  • Built with Rust :hearts:


Many OS-level file systems support encryption, such as EncFS, APFS and ZFS. Some disk encryption tools also provide virtual file system, such as TrueCrypt, LUKS and VeraCrypt.

This diagram shows the difference between Zbox and them.


Below is the feature comparison list.

Zbox OS-level File Systems Disk Encryption Tools
Encrypts file contents :heavy_check_mark: partial :heavy_check_mark:
Encrypts file metadata :heavy_check_mark: partial :heavy_check_mark:
Encrypts directory :heavy_check_mark: partial :heavy_check_mark:
Data integrity :heavy_check_mark: partial :heavy_multiplication_x:
Shared access for processes :heavy_multiplication_x: :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark:
Deduplication :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_multiplication_x: :heavy_multiplication_x:
Compression :heavy_check_mark: partial :heavy_multiplication_x:
Versioning :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_multiplication_x: :heavy_multiplication_x:
COW semantics :heavy_check_mark: partial :heavy_multiplication_x:
ACID Transaction :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_multiplication_x: :heavy_multiplication_x:
Multiple storage layers :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_multiplication_x: :heavy_multiplication_x:
API access :heavy_check_mark: through VFS through VFS
Symbolic links :heavy_multiplication_x: :heavy_check_mark: depends on inner FS
Users and permissions :heavy_multiplication_x: :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark:
FUSE support :heavy_multiplication_x: :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark:
Linux and macOS support :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark:
Windows support :heavy_check_mark: partial :heavy_check_mark:

Supported Storage

By now, Zbox supports a variety of underlying storage, which are listed below. Memory and OS file storage are enabled by default, all the others can to be enabled individually by specifying its feature when build.

Storage URI identifier Feature
Memory "mem://" N/A
OS file system "file://" N/A
SQLite "sqlite://" storage-sqlite
Redis "redis://" storage-redis

There is another special storage Faulty ("faulty://"), which is based on memory storage and can simulate random IO error. It is used internally to facilitate random IO error test.

How to use

For reference documentation, please visit documentation.


Supported Platforms

  • 64-bit Debian-based Linux, such as Ubuntu
  • 64-bit macOS
  • 64-bit Windows
  • 64-bit Android, API level >= 21

32-bit and other OS are NOT supported yet.


Add the following dependency to your Cargo.toml:

zbox = "0.6.1"


extern crate zbox;

use std::io::{Read, Write};
use zbox::{init_env, RepoOpener, OpenOptions};

fn main() {
    // initialise zbox environment, called first

    // create and open a repository in current OS directory
    let mut repo = RepoOpener::new()
        .open("file://./my_repo", "your password")

    // create and open a file in repository for writing
    let mut file = OpenOptions::new()
        .open(&mut repo, "/my_file.txt")

    // use std::io::Write trait to write data into it
    file.write_all(b"Hello, world!").unwrap();

    // finish writing to make a permanent content version

    // read file content using std::io::Read trait
    let mut content = String::new();
    file.read_to_string(&mut content).unwrap();
    assert_eq!(content, "Hello, world!");

Build with Docker

Zbox comes with Docker support, it is easier to build Zbox with zboxfs/base image. This image is based on Ubuntu 16.04 and has Rust stable and libsodium included. Check more details in the Dockerfile.

You can also use image zboxfs/android to build Zbox for Android. It is based on zboxfs/base image and has Android NDK included. Check more details in the Dockerfile.

To build for Linux x86_64:

docker run --rm -v $PWD:/root/zbox zboxfs/base cargo build

To build for Android x86_64:

docker run --rm -v $PWD:/root/zbox zboxfs/android cargo build --target x86_64-linux-android

To build for Android arm64:

docker run --rm -v $PWD:/root/zbox zboxfs/android cargo build --target aarch64-linux-android

Or run the test suite.

docker run --rm -v $PWD:/root/zbox zboxfs/base cargo test

Static linking with libsodium

By default, Zbox uses dynamic linking when it is linked with libsodium. If you want to change this behavior and use static linking, you can enable below two environment variables.

On Linux/macOS,

export SODIUM_LIB_DIR=/path/to/your/libsodium/lib
export SODIUM_STATIC=true

On Windows,

set SODIUM_LIB_DIR=C:\path\to\your\libsodium\lib

And then re-build the code.

cargo build


The performance test is run on a Macbook Pro 2017 laptop with spec as below.

Spec Value
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 3.5 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 2
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 4 MB
Memory: 16 GB
OS Version: macOS High Sierra 10.13.6

Test result:

Read Write TPS
Baseline (memcpy): 3658.23 MB/s 3658.23 MB/s N/A
Baseline (file): 1307.97 MB/s 2206.30 MB/s N/A
Memory storage (no compress): 605.01 MB/s 186.20 MB/s 267 tx/s
Memory storage (compress): 505.04 MB/s 161.11 MB/s 263 tx/s
File storage (no compress): 435.66 MB/s 147.44 MB/s 117 tx/s
File storage (compress): 372.60 MB/s 124.92 MB/s 106 tx/s

To run the performance test on your own computer, please follow the instructions in CONTRIBUTING.md.


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be licensed as above, without any additional terms of conditions.

Please read CONTRIBUTING.md for details on our code of conduct, and the process for submitting pull requests to us.



Zbox is licensed under the Apache 2.0 License - see the LICENSE file for details.