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I find it easier to use SSHFS to mount a remote file system on my local computer instead of plainly SSH'ing into the remote computer. This saves me from using all the complicated scp commmands for copy/paste. But on the internet, I find very few people talking about SSHFS. If SSHFS is more easier, then why isn't it more popular? Are there any disadvantages to it?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

SSH is not primarily used to copy files. It's used to log in to and operate remote machines/server via a secure link, and create secure tunnels between hosts. It's available (or can be installed) on pretty much all the main operating systems out there.

SSHFS is limited to remote mounting, available only on systems that have FUSE available - it doesn't serve the same purpose. scp isn't really complicated, it has similar syntax to its "predecessor" rcp. If all you need is to copy one or two files, scp is just fine. You might also be interested in sftp.

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Hmm, I might be confused about this. The thing is, I am trying to run some programs on an HPC cluster. From what you said it seems that using sshfs alone won't let me use the cluster for computing, right? I mean, since it only mounts the file system? –  Bernhard Heijstek Dec 3 '11 at 8:20
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SSHFS is a filesystem implementation. It is used to "share" files, not to run commands. If you run a command on a sshfs mount on your machine, that command is not exectuted on the remote server. It's executed on your machine, using the files on the remote server. Just like NFS or Windows shares. –  Mat Dec 3 '11 at 8:25
    
yeah I guessed so. Thanks! –  Bernhard Heijstek Dec 3 '11 at 8:27

I wondered the same. I've spent a lot of time trying and tuning different access methods to remote webspace. I've tried NFS (frequent lockups, poor performance), Samba (very good, especially with SMB 2.0), OpenAFS (despite local caching, it wasn't really quick).

Then a colleage mentioned SSHFS. I've mapped the webspace and have never looked back. My large web project is indexed by the IDE twice as fast as even the most highly tuned Samba mount I could manage.

In short, SSHFS is an underdog.

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Compression overhead, poorer low latency toleration and memory hungry and if connection cuts every now and then sshfs can get cranky.Typical tradeoff when using a secure (sshfs) via an unsecure (nfs) protocol.

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SSHFS doesn't use the NFS protocol at all, I'm not sure I understand your last sentence. –  Mat Dec 3 '11 at 8:28
    
Right. I meant to say that sshfs would be of more relevance when single or limited few users are performing the access on the filesystem at the same time. –  Nikhil Mulley Dec 3 '11 at 10:30
    
NFS isn't particularly happy about connection problems either. That has nothing to do with the secure/insecure continuum, it has to do with resilient/nonresilient protocol continuum. –  Michael Kjörling May 23 '13 at 12:53

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