Mounting Your EVBackup Account with SSHFS / FUSE

Wouldn't it be neat if you could mount your EVBackup account just like a USB drive? Well, you can -- that is exactly what SSHFS / FUSE does for you. The steps to mounting are pretty simple:

  1. Make sure SSHFS or FUSE is installed.
  2. Create, upload and activate an SSH keypair to your EVBackup account.
  3. Create the mount point directory on your local filesystem.
  4. Mount the directory.

SSHFS Installation

To check whether you have SSHFS installed on your *nix machine, open up a terminal and enter the following command

whereis sshfs

  • If you see a path returned, you are good to go!
  • If you see rsnapshot: , then you need to get it installed.
  • How do I install SSHFS? »
  • « OK — Hide this.

Installing SSHFS may be as simple as using your package management system. Depending on your flavor of *nix, enter one of the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install sshfs
CentOS / Fedora / RHEL
sudo yum install fuse
sudo zypper install fuse
sudo zypper install fuse-devel
Other Flavors of *nix
The SSH Filesystem page has instructions has the source ready for you to download and compile both FUSE and SSHFS (yep — you need both.) Once downloaded, compilation and installation follows the typical GNU Automake flow:
sudo make install
Just make sure to install FUSE before installing SSHFS.
@#?! It Doesn't Work!
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Step One: Create an SSH Keypair with ssh-keygen

  • Each of the following commands are entered as a single line.
  • You'll want to run all of the commands here as the 'super-user' (using sudo), so that you have full access to all the files on your machine.
1. Create an SSH key pair with ssh-keygen
sudo ssh-keygen -f /backup/ssh_key -t rsa -N ''
Note the command ends with two single quote characters.
  • Why do I need an SSH keypair? »
  • « OK. Hide this

An SSH key pair allows you to securely login to your backup server without entering a password each time.

2. Upload and activate the public key to your EVBackup account
sudo rsync -e ssh /backup/
ssh addkeys
Show Me
Successful SSH key pair generation in Linux

Successful SSH key pair generation in Linux

  • Notes about uploading »
  • « OK. Hide this
  • Substitute user with your EVBackup account name.
  • When you enter this command, you might see a message indicating that your computer doesn't recognize the server. Just enter yes when prompted and you'll never be bothered again.
  • You'll be asked to enter the password for your EVBackup account. Once the key is uploaded and activated, this won't be necessary again.
  • If Terminal simply returns (looking as though nothing has happened), then you have successfully uploaded your key!
3. Test that you can login without a password
sudo ssh -i /backup/ssh_key
  • How do I know if it worked? »
  • « OK. Hide this

If you were successful, then something very similar to the following will appear in Terminal:

Last login: Thu Jul 15 16:16:44 2010 from c-28-26-13-101.
Copyright (c) 1983, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

[your-account@quark ~]$

Step Two: Add the Mount Point and Mount Your EVBackup Account

Once you have SSHFS / FUSE installed and you can log in without a password, you are set to go with SSHFS. You just need to create the mount point and mount your account.

1. Create the mount point directory
This can be wherever you would like, however typically mount points in *nix are placed in /mnt. You may also want to place the mount point in /backup.

sudo mkdir /mnt/

...where 'user' is your EVBackup user name.
2. Mount your account
Note: the following needs to be entered on one line:

sudo sshfs -o ssh_command="ssh -i /backup/ssh_key" /mnt/

3. Test connectivity
sudo ls /mnt/

If you are successful, then you should see something like the following:

backup-1  backup-2  backup-3  backup-4
backup-5  backup-6  backup-7  backup-8

Yes, that's all there is to it. However, sometimes things don't go as planned. If you need some help, just ask:

SSHFS: Neat Tricks

Here are a few neat tricks to use with SSHFS.
Unmounting a Directory
To unmount an SSHFS mounted directory:
sudo fusermount -u /mnt/
Mounting your EVBackup account read-only
Most tutorials covering rsync snapshots strongly suggest that public access to the remote filesystem be read-only. To mount your EVBackup account read-only:
Note: the following needs to be entered on one line
sudo sshfs -o ro -o ssh_command="ssh -i /backup/ssh_key" /mnt/
Mounting SSHFS within /etc/fstab
If you would like to mount your account automatically, then you'll need an entry in /etc/fstab
sshfs  /mnt/  fuse  ro  0 0
Adding your key to ssh-agent
If you would like to be able to mount (as well as login over SSH) your EVBackup account without having to specify the path to your SSH key each time, then you'll want to use ssh-agent.
sudo ssh-add /backup/ssh_key
In some cases, you may need to create a ~/.ssh/config file. Note that if you do this for the superuser (via sudo), then the path will be /root/.ssh/config. Here is what the contents of the file need to be:
   User username
   PreferredAuthentications publickey
   IdentityFile /backup/ssh_key
Once you've saved the ~/.ssh/config file, make sure it has restrictive options -- otherwise SSH will ignore it.
sudo chmod 700 ~/.ssh/config
Finally, test that you can login — without a password or without specifying a key: