The automount process

  1. automountd - daemon started at boot time, issues →
  2. automount command - reads automaster map, installs →
  3. autofs mount points - these are triggered as and when files required →
  4. file request made →
  5. autofs intercepts →
  6. autofs - send message to automount to mount filesystem →
  7. auomountd - locates filesystem info in map and mounts →
  8. autofs - allows process to continue →
  9. file unmounted - after specified period of inactivity (controlled by -t flag on automount command)

autofs map

  • Master maps:(e.g. /etc/auto_master) - Associates directory with map
  • Direct maps:(e.g. /etc/auto_direct) - Directs autofs to specified file system (i.e. direct maps contain the mount points as well)
  • Indirect maps:(e.g. /etc/auto_home) - Directs autofs to reference orientated file systems


auto_master contains: /home auto_home

This instructs autofs to look in /etc/auto_home map for information about /home directories

auto_home contains:

user1 server1:/export/home/user1
user2 server2:/export/home/user2

i.e. user location

The actual data is in /export/home/user1 but is mounted as /home/user1

An entry in auto_master such as: /net -hosts -nosuid is a built in map that uses the hosts database. If host host01 is defined in the hosts database and the command cd /net/host01 is issued, the system will change to the root directory of host01 mounting any filesystems defined as NFS mountable. If there aren't any, the directory will appear empty

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