Comparison with block/image replication

OSTree shares some similarity with "dumb" replication and stateless deployments, such as the model common in "cloud" deployments where nodes are booted from an (effectively) readonly disk, and user data is kept on a different volumes. The advantage of "dumb" replication, shared by both OSTree and the cloud model, is that it's reliable and predictable.

But unlike many default image-based deployments, OSTree supports exactly two persistent writable directories that are preserved across upgrades: /etc and /var.

Because OSTree operates at the Unix filesystem layer, it works on top of any filesystem or block storage layout; it's possible to replicate a given filesystem tree from an OSTree repository into plain ext4, BTRFS, XFS, or in general any Unix-compatible filesystem that supports hard links. Note: OSTree will transparently take advantage of some BTRFS features if deployed on it.