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I want to share a drive over the Local Area Network so that I can use it for building system images (my machine itself doesn't have that much storage and I'd prefer to use a drive over the network rather than plugging it in via USB). Because I'm building system images, I need to be able to mount the filesystem as root locally and mount dev, proc, and /sys on the mount point.

I tried to use sshfs, but when extracting files via tar, I am running into issues with utime (no such file or directory) which I believe has something to do with the mount point being sshfs.

I don't intend on using the filesystem on other machines concurrently, so locking isn't critical.

Can sshfs work for this scenario, or should I look to use something like glusterfs or another distributed filesystem, or even iSCSI?

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Sounds like you need a block device. You can get it directly from iSCSI or on a file-based storage like sshfs or gluster, you can create an empty file and loop mount it as a block device. I think iSCSI is the logical choice since you need low level access.

The nice thing about it for your purposes is that you can share LVM logical volumes as iSCSI volume (and you'll end up with an image as an LV, which you can dd into a file).

iSCSI is not too hard, but it's a learning curve. Just follow the Red Hat EL7 documentation*, it should work for most distros with small variations.

Also check out guestfs-tools (libguestfs) and virt-install.

  • I actually just went and tried iscsi. It actually wasn't that bad at all and works well so far (without the issues I've had with sshfs). – Walter Sep 17 '16 at 10:20

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