I need a repeatable process for handling synchronising files between systems. Something modular and stable. A couple of Docker containers using lsyncd and sshd should do the job.

First I started on the sshd side – the service that receives and hosts the replicated files. There’s already a very handy container hosted on docker by panubo/sshd. This is very close to my needs, but I’m only going to be using it for rsync so I want to add rssh to prevent any other usage of ssh. With a few modifications I can bring in rssh.

Clone the repo from https://github.com/panubo/docker-sshd and use the instructions for setting it up.


FROM alpine:3.10

RUN apk update && \
  apk add bash git openssh rsync augeas shadow rssh && \
  deluser $(getent passwd 33 | cut -d: -f1) && \
  delgroup $(getent group 33 | cut -d: -f1) 2>/dev/null || true && \
  mkdir -p ~root/.ssh /etc/authorized_keys && chmod 700 ~root/.ssh/ && \
  augtool 'set /files/etc/ssh/sshd_config/AuthorizedKeysFile ".ssh/authorized_keys /etc/authorized_keys/%u"' && \
  echo -e "Port 22\n" >> /etc/ssh/sshd_config && \
  cp -a /etc/ssh /etc/ssh.cache && \
  rm -rf /var/cache/apk/* && \
  groupadd rsshuser && \
  chown root:rsshuser /usr/bin/rssh /usr/lib/rssh/rssh_chroot_helper && \
  chmod 550 /usr/bin/rssh && \
  chmod 4550 /usr/lib/rssh/rssh_chroot_helper && \
  echo "allowrsync" > /etc/rssh.conf && \
  chmod a+r /etc/rssh.conf


COPY entry.sh /entry.sh

ENTRYPOINT ["/entry.sh"]

CMD ["/usr/sbin/sshd", "-D", "-e", "-f", "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"]

The key parts being to add the rssh progran to the apk add and then add the necessary configuration parts to RUN to create the group set some permissions and only allowrsync.


The main change here was to set the users shell to /usr/bin/rssh and specify an additional group membership for rsshuser:

getent passwd ${_NAME} >/dev/null 2>&1 || useradd -r -m -p '' -u ${_UID} -g ${_GID} -G rsshuser -s '/usr/bin/rssh' -c 'SSHD User' ${_NAME}

This means that when the user tries to logon using ssh they get denied because the setting in /etc/rssh.conf only allows rsync.

I can now target this container using lsyncd and have it push filesystem changes across to the sshd using rsync and the user account(s) I specified eg.

$ /usr/bin/lsyncd -nodaemon -delay 0 /etc/lsyncd.conf


settings {
  logfile = "/dev/stdout",
  statusFile = "/var/run/lsyncd.status",
  pidfile = "/var/run/lsyncd.pid",
  nodaemon = "true"
sync {
  source = '/mnt/data',
  host = '${TARGET_HOST}',
  targetdir = '${TARGET_DIR}',
  ssh = {
    port = ${TARGET_PORT}

This of course forms the basis for another Docker container running lsyncd.

To be continued…