autofs: Tutorial & Best Practices

Tool to automatically mount file systems

Autofs is a program that automatically mounts file systems when you access them, and unmounts them when they are no longer needed. It is useful for automating the process of mounting and unmounting remote file systems, such as NFS shares or removable drives.

To install and configure autofs on a Linux system, follow these steps:

  • Install the autofs package using your distribution's package manager. For example, on a Debian-based system, you can use the following command:

    sudo apt-get install autofs
    
  • Modify the configuration file /etc/auto.master to specify the directories that should be managed by autofs. Each line in this file consists of a mount point, followed by the options and the location of the map file that describes the filesystems to be mounted under that mount point. For example, to specify that the directory /mnt/nfs should be managed by autofs and the map file is located at /etc/auto.nfs, you would add the following line to /etc/auto.master:

    /mnt/nfs /etc/auto.nfs
    
  • Create the map file specified in the auto.master file. This file describes the filesystems that should be mounted under the specified mount point. Each line in the map file consists of the name of the mount point, followed by the options and the location of the filesystem to be mounted. For example, to specify that the NFS share server:/share should be mounted under the directory /mnt/nfs/share, you would add the following line to /etc/auto.nfs:

    share -fstype=nfs server:/share
    
  • Restart the autofs daemon to apply the changes. On a Debian-based system, you can use the following command:

    sudo service autofs restart
    
  • Test that the filesystem is correctly mounted by accessing it. For example, you can use the ls command to list the contents of the mount point:

    ls /mnt/nfs/share
    

Note that the above steps are just an example of how to install and configure autofs. The specific steps and configuration options may vary depending on your Linux distribution and the type of file systems you want to mount. Consult the documentation for autofs and the relevant file system for more information.