So far in this walkthrough, git-annex has been used with a remote repository on a USB drive. But it can also be used with a git remote that is truly remote, a host accessed by ssh.

Say you have a desktop on the same network as your laptop and want to clone the laptop's annex to it:

desktop# git clone ssh://mylaptop/home/me/annex ~/annex
desktop# cd ~/annex
desktop# git annex init "my desktop"

Now you can get files and they will be transferred (using rsync via ssh):

desktop# git annex get my_cool_big_file
get my_cool_big_file (getting UUID for origin...) (from origin...)
SHA256-s86050597--6ae2688bc533437766a48aa19f2c06be14d1bab9c70b468af445d4f07b65f41e  100% 2159     2.1KB/s   00:00

When you drop files, git-annex will ssh over to the remote and make sure the file's content is still there before removing it locally:

desktop# git annex drop my_cool_big_file
drop my_cool_big_file (checking origin..) ok

Note that normally git-annex prefers to use non-ssh remotes, like a USB drive, before ssh remotes. They are assumed to be faster/cheaper to access, if available. There is a annex-cost setting you can configure in .git/config to adjust which repositories it prefers. See the man page for details.

Also, note that you need full shell access for this to work -- git-annex needs to be able to ssh in and run commands. Or at least, your shell needs to be able to run the git-annex-shell command.

For details on setting up ssh remotes, see the centralized git repository tutorial.