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Autofs and automountd daemon

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The AutoFS file system provides a mechanism for automatically mounting NFS file systems on demand and for automatically unmounting these file systems after a predetermined period of inactivity. The mount points are specified using local or distributed automount maps. Typical usage on Solaris includes mounting remote directories (like /export/home/username ) and serving /net mount point.

Whenever a user on a client computer running the automountd daemon tries to access a remote file or directory, the daemon mounts the remote file system to which that file or directory belongs. This remote file system remains mounted for as long as it is needed. If the remote file system is not accessed for a defined period of time, the automountd daemon automatically unmounts the file system.

The AutoFS service mounts and unmounts file systems as required without any user intervention. The user does not need to use the mount and umount commands and does not need to know the superuser password.

The AutoFS file system enables you to do the following:

The automount facility contains three components:

An AutoFS file system’s mount points are defined in the automount maps on the client system. After the AutoFS mount points are set up, activity under the mount points can trigger file systems to be mounted under the mount points. If the automount maps are configured, the AutoFS kernel module monitors mount requests made on the client. If a mount request is made for an AutoFS resource not currently mounted, the AutoFS service calls the automountd daemon, which mounts the requested resource.

The /etc/rc2.d/S74autofs script starts the automountd daemon at boot time. The automountd daemon mounts file systems on demand and unmounts idle mount points.

Note – The automountd daemon is completely independent from the automount command. Because of this separation, you can add, delete, or change map information without having to stop and start the automountd daemon process.

The automount command, called at system startup time, reads the master map to create the initial set of AutoFS mounts.

These AutoFS mounts are not automatically mounted at startup time, they are the points under which file systems are mounted on demand

You do not have to stop and restart the automountd daemon after making changes to existing entries in a direct map, because the daemon is stateless:

Key points:

Automount maps. There are four main types of the AutoFS maps:

The automount maps can be obtained from ASCII data files, NIS maps, NIS+ tables, or from an LDAP database. Together, these maps describe information similar to the information specified in the /etc/vfstab file for remote file resources. The source for automount maps is determined by the automount entry in the /etc/nsswitch.conf file. For example, the entry:

automount: files

tells the automount command that it should look in the /etc directory for its configuration information. Using nis instead of files tells automount to check the NIS maps for its configuration information.

You do not have to stop and restart the automountd daemon after making changes to existing entries in a direct map, because the daemon is stateless:

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