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Tarballs are compressed files commonly found in GNU/Linux. The Tar (Tape Archive) utility gathers one or more files into a single .tar file. GZip then compresses the .tar file into a .tar.gz/.tgz file.

This was a common way to distribute source code before git cloning came along.

Creating a Tarball

$ cd /place/where/files/are
$ tar -czf /wherever/tarball.tar.gz file1 file2 dir1 dir2

Extracting a Tarball

$ cd /place/to/extract/files/to
$ tar -zxf /wherever/tarball.tar.gz

Create Backup

tar -cf - sourcedir | ssh user@destinationserver 'cat > file.tar'

Restore Backup

ssh user@destinationserver 'cat file.tar' | tar -xf - -C root/dir