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After working with a few large files over sshfs, one question started dwelling in my mind.

Suppose I have a sshfs (or NFS for that matter) mount on ~/remodetir and I want to do something like

cp ~/remotedir/foo ~/remotedir/some/weird/path/bar

Does sshfs (or NFS) handle it in a smart way or do they transfer the file back-and-forth just because the cp command is running in my local CPU?

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Define "smart way"? – Jim B Jun 4 '12 at 23:21
@JimB, like with SMB where the client can ask the server to perform a local copy using RPC. – Zoredache Jun 4 '12 at 23:28
I am almost 95% certain that SSHFS is pretty dumb, but I don't know much about the NFS internals. – Zoredache Jun 4 '12 at 23:29
@JimB yes, a good definition of "smart way" would be the one given Zoredache, above. – Elton Carvalho Jun 5 '12 at 0:00
There was a discussion on whether it is possible to copy remote files on nfs without round-trip on The conclusion was that it is not possible in general, but tools exists to support this. – Dmitri Chubarov Jun 5 '12 at 6:59
up vote 4 down vote accepted

sshfs makes local mv calls for mv.

I assume this is similar for cp.

Not sure if this is the case if the remote sshd restricted to internal-sftp.


File flows through local machine for cp as well (confirmed with network traffic).

$ sshfs -V
SSHFS version 2.4
FUSE library version: 2.8.6
fusermount version: 2.8.6
using FUSE kernel interface version 7.12

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So the local call for mv really means data transferred from the server to the client and back? Because, AFAIK, mv only messes with file handlers, or hardlinks, if you prefer, so the size of the file moved by mv doesn't matter so much, as long as filesystem borders are not crossed. – Elton Carvalho Jun 5 '12 at 0:02

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