AutoSSH, for All Your <CONNECTION LOST>

I love SSH. I mean, I really, really love SSH. It's by far the most versatile, useful, amazingly powerful tool in my system administration quiver. One of the problems with SSH, however, is that when it dies, it doesn't automatically recover. Don't get me wrong. It's easy to recover with SSH, especially if you've set up public/private keypairs for authentication (I show you how to do that over here). But if the SSH connection dies, it's difficult to reestablish.

In the past, I've done something like enclosing the SSH command in an endless WHILE loop so that if it disconnects, it simply starts over. (I talk about WHILE loops in this month's Open-Source Classroom.) With AutoSSH, however, even if an SSH session is still active, but not actually connected, it will disconnect the zombie session and reconnect a fresh one, without any interaction.

Image Credit: AllenMcC, Wikipedia User

I personally use AutoSSH to keep reverse tunnels active inside a remote data center that is behind a double NAT. Getting into the data center remotely is very difficult, but if I can establish a tunnel from inside the double-NAT'd private network to my local server, getting in and out is a breeze. If that SSH tunnel dies, however, I'm locked out. In my particular case, the data center is an entire continent away, so driving over isn't an option. With AutoSSH, if something goes wrong, it will keep attempting to reestablish a connection until it succeeds. The program has saved my bacon more than once, and because it's so incredibly useful, AutoSSH takes this month's Editors' Choice award. It's most likely already in your distribution's repositories, but you can check out the Web site at http://www.harding.motd.ca/autossh.

______________________

Shawn Powers is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal. You might find him chatting on the IRC channel, or Twitter

White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState