I am in the process of building a solution to handle many developers (possibly hundreds) to work on their files via sftp, each one Jailed in their home directory. For our particular needs, we have a samba mount point that contains all of the users home directories.

I have started developing the following solution and hit some walls: - I have configured a Ubuntu Lucid Server as sftp server. - In order to jail the user in their home directory (without allowing them the browse a directory up and seeing all the other users folders) I am using mount --bind and not a symbolic link (also some ftp clients don't really work with sym links). - The user accounts are local unix user accounts on the sftp server (not using a directory service or anything) that have an empty home folder created on the local machine, then I use mount --bind to bind the empty folder to the actual users home directory on the samba share.

With this solution I am hitting a couple of problems, in the case of a server reboot, all the mount --binds are lost because they are not written in fstab. Then I have read somewhere that the maximum amount of entries in fstab are 400 (which does not really help us).

I have thought of a solution of writing something that stores the mounts in a text file as a backup and on server reboot, run the script that re mounts.

I am just really unsure about this whole process and was wondering if anyone has any insight on possibly a better solution for SFTP? (not FTP)


Take a look at automount

The automount program is used to manage mount points for autofs, the inlined Linux automounter. automount works by reading the auto.master(8) map and sets up mount points for each entry in the master map allowing them to be automatically mounted when accessed. The file systems are then automatically umounted after a period of inactivity.

I've never used it with a samba server so I'm not sure if it works with one. Having said that you seem like you're at the start of your project so (if necessary) changing the way that you share the home directories to take advantage of the automounter may a good thing in the longer term.

Later versions of sshd support the ChrootDirectory configuration parameter that can be used to chroot sftp sessions easily too.

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