I am using mkdir as a locking mechanism, and to my knowledge mkdir is atomic, but it is not atomic over nfs. So my question is simple, is mkdir atomic over sshfs?

  • 1
    What are the actual issues over NFS? I can't find any details on this. One thing I would be suspicious of over sshfs is that it doesn't seem to provide any way to work relative to a directory handle (fchdir, mkdirat, and such), so it's by default going to rely on the full textual path of the directory you're creating a directory in.
    – Random832
    Oct 17, 2012 at 15:14
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    It is atomic via NFS, but since clients cache the directory structures, it cannot be counted on as a locking mechanism.
    – Didi Kohen
    Oct 21, 2012 at 16:19
  • I think the answer is going to depend substantially on whether you're trying to guarantee atomicity between processes on one machine or across a network. Can you clarify the use case?
    – ckhan
    Oct 25, 2012 at 23:31
  • Across a network
    – Knut Saua
    Nov 1, 2012 at 12:18

1 Answer 1


I don't know if it is enabled or disabled by default, but mkdir can be cached:

http://goo.gl/QIW4V (cache_mkdir)

Even though the mkdir command itself looks atomic and thread safe enough...

http://goo.gl/LC1Ze (sshfs_mkdir)

http://goo.gl/NHkNH (sftp_request_send)

I would go out on a limb and say that mkdir over sshfs is not atomic, because of the caching.

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