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I'm brainstorming at the moment, but basically this is what I need:

  • A remotely accessible and mountable file system for Linux
  • That requires no password or key to access.
  • Is read only
  • Allows multiple connections from different servers (over 100 servers without issue).
  • Security isn't important (beyond being read only) as the files are ISOs and are non-sensitive in nature.
  • Must be a 'live' file system (EG: I can link to the files).

Preferences that aren't exactly 100% important, but could make the system a better fit:

  • I'd prefer if it could be mounted after boot and the system it is on would boot regardless if it's online or offline.
  • I'd prefer if the system attempted a reconnect every so often if the 'drive' was unconnectable before.
  • It would be awesome if it could have some sort of local cache, but not essential.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

I've done some digging already, but nothing really jumps out at me and I'm sure there's something out there that meets my needs, but I have yet to find it. Feel free to suggest multiple systems and their pros/cons if you have time.

I apologize if this isn't exactly a 'defined question', but I didn't really know anywhere else to post it.

List I've considered:

  • NFS => If it's down it causes the server to fail to boot on occasion.

  • SSHFS => Slow, from what I can tell crashes a lot, requires authentication, gives ssh access to the server (yes I know it can be secured, I'd rather not have to worry about it though).

  • FTP => not easily mountable, not easy to setup, many ftp servers have had security issues

...Thought about just copying the files to each server (yes it wastes disk, but it would solve the problem)... So I looked into:

  • rsync => Unfortunately it's hard to sync 100 servers using rsync. It takes a lot of bandwidth and you have to have hundreds of running processes on your server to actively keep it synced. It also requires extra authentication...
  • btsync => Uses quite a bit of disk I/O when you have a bunch of servers to sync. Also eats a lot of bandwidth and once again requires more authentication.
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Welcome to ServerFault! We tend to get a lot of "do my research for me" questions here unfortunately, so your question will be better received if you spotlight a few of those approaches you've considered and why you've ruled them out. – Andrew B Mar 4 '14 at 6:40
A FTP server plus curlftpfs on the client for mounting (when needed) is one option. – Brian Mar 4 '14 at 6:48
@AndrewB - I went ahead and updated my post with the primary options I've considered thus far. – Bravo Delta Mar 4 '14 at 6:52
NFS with soft mounts (OK for read-only FS). – MadHatter Mar 4 '14 at 6:52
@Brian - I'm honestly considering your suggestion. So I'd recommend that you add an answer with that suggestion on it so that if I do select that method you get credit for the answer. – Bravo Delta Mar 4 '14 at 7:10

I would use NFS with autofs.

Your server will boot if it isn't avaiable and it will mount it when you need it.

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I don't think you'll find a filesystem that will wake the remote if it's offline. I would go with NFS and use soft mounts to avoid the client hanging if the remote isn't available.

hard or soft — Specifies whether the program using a file via an NFS connection should stop and wait (hard) for the server to come back online, if the host serving the exported file system is unavailable, or if it should report an error (soft). ...

If soft is specified, the user can set an additional timeo= option, where specifies the number of seconds to pass before the error is reported.

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