MAC OS X, Linux, Windows and other IT Tips and Tricks

21 Jan 17 Mounting a remote directory using SSHFS in Debian Jessie

If you want to mount a directory on a remote server via Internet NFS can be quite a challenge to protect. A good solution would then be to use SSHFS. Here is a shot Howto for Debian Jessie.

Note: In Wheezy and in Jessie before I did an upgrade to the kernel 3.16.0-4-amd64, the following entry in /etc/fstab was working: /local_dir fuse defaults 0 0
BUT, as soon as upgraded Jessie to the kernel 3.16.0-4-amd64, I could not boot any more and the system went into an emergency mode signalizing that I should give the root password or press Ctrl-D to continue. Ctrl-D brought to nowhere and the system just crashed. It was also suggested that I should give the command ‘journalctl -xb’ to find out what was wrong after I had given the root password. This command gave me the indication that ‘process /bin/plymouth could not be executed’. Well, the message is quite misleading since the error was that the new kernel was no more supporting the above older method of mounting a filesystem using SSHFS in /etc/fstab. Commenting this entry in /etc/fstab allowed me to boot and later to change the entry for a new one that worked which follows.

First install the needed package:
apt-get install sshfs
Then considering the two scenarios:
1 – User mount: Mounting a remote directory belonging to user ‘media’ using SSHFS and the ssh keys. User ‘media’ was configured in both servers to have the same UID.
2 – Root mount: Mounting a remote directory belonging to root using SSHFS and the ssh keys.

Scenario 1:(user mount)

On remote server run the command:
useradd -d /home/media/ -u 2017 -s /bin/bash media
passwd media (give any password, that will need to be deleted later anyway)
mkdir -p /home/media/share1
chown -R media: /home/media/share1

On local server run the commands:
useradd -d /home/media/ -u 2017 -s /bin/bash media
mkdir -p /home/media/share1
chown -R media: /home/media/share1
su - media
ssh-keygen -t rsa (press <Enter> to all questions)
ssh-copy-id (enter media user's temporary password of remote server)

Enter in /etc/fstab: /home/media/share1 fuse.sshfs noauto,x-systemd.automount,_netdev,user,idmap=user,follow_symlinks,identityfile=/home/media/.ssh/id_rsa,allow_other,default_permissions,uid=2017,gid=2017 0 0
Back on remote server, disable the user’s password using the command:
passwd -l media
———- End scenario 1 ———–

Scenario 2 (root mount)

ssh-copy-id (enter 'root' password of remote server)
Enter in /etc/fstab: /share2 fuse.sshfs noauto,x-systemd.automount,_netdev,user,idmap=user,follow_symlinks,identityfile=/root/.ssh/id_rsa,allow_other,default_permissions,uid=0,gid=0 0 0
———- End scenario 2 ———–
Then reboot the system
After reboot you won’t see yet any mount entry if you give the command ‘mount’. It will only appear after the first attempt to access the mount point in the local server. This mount is governed by systemd. You can’t quite control manually the mounting and unmounting of this new method since it’s controlled by systemd. I’m still looking for ways to manually mount/unmount this systemd controlled mount. Any suggestions is welcome.

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