How-To: Remote Disk Management in Ubuntu made easy

Disk Management in Ubuntu has become easy with Palimpsest tool called Disk Utility. This application is capable of managing a remote machine disks also. It connects to remote machine through secure shell connection (SSH).

Though this application is the default Disk Management tool in Ubuntu, still the remote management is not supported out of box in Ubuntu since it is considered as new feature and untested one. Refer comment-1 in this bug report. udisks is the package which supports this feature with its udisks-tcp-bridge binary. Ubuntu’s udisks package lacks this binary. This how to is get this udisks package with this binary and how to remotely connect to a machine to manage the disks. My Ubuntu is Lucid 10.04.

In fresh Ubuntu 10.04 installtion, if you try to connect to remote machine through System -> Administration -> Disk Utility -> File -> Connect to Server, you will get error message as shown below.

Unexpected stderr output – expected `udisks-tcp-bridge: Waiting for secret’ but got `-bash: line 1: udisks-tcp-bridge: command not found’

Here is the way to get it done. In Remote machine execute the following steps.

Step-1: Install the secured shell server package (openssh-server)

$ sudo apt-get install ssh

Step-2: Add repository maintained by Marti, which provides udisks package with udisks-tcp-bridge support.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:intgr/ppa

$ sudo apt-get update

$ sudo apt-get install udisks

Now your machine is ready to be managed remotely. Now switch to your local machine and try running System -> Administration -> Disk Utility -> File -> Connect to Server. You should be able to browse the remote machines which supports this features or you can enter your machine name and connect. You will be prompted to enter your username and password of remote machine to connect. Now you will see the remote machine disk management tree in left side pane of the application.
Here are some screenshots for the same. Right now I don’t have another Ubuntu machine in my network, so I have connected to my machine through remote channel :-). Please comment freely for any error.
Local machine disk management
Connecting to remote machine
Browse button shows capable machine in network
Remote machine shown on left side pane to manage disks
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  1. Unexpected stderr output – expected `udisks-tcp-bridge: Waiting for secret’ but got `stdin: is not a tty’

    logged in a reguser, fine, logged in as root, i get error above. waiting for secret? huh? also, as reguser, i can see everything in disk utility, but can no make changes as it has only sudo privs. no true root… also tried root passwd, then tried disk util again as root remotely, NOGO. same error.

    it works in the sense i can view with reguser perms, but not as root, nor make changes.

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