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I have this line in my /etc/fstab:

/mnt/tmp    /tmp    none    bind,nobootwait

On EC2 however, /mnt may be lost during restarts causing the mount to fail due to non existent /mnt/tmp. So is there a way to explicitly create this directory?

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you can make put the following lines in your /etc/rc.local file :

mkdir -p /mnt/tmp && mount --bind -o nobootwait /mnt/tmp /tmp 
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Does rc.local really get run before filesystems are mounted? – wfaulk May 6 '12 at 8:13
No you are right, but he can remove the fstab entries, no ? – Razique May 7 '12 at 9:00

The script responsible for mounting directories from fstab is /etc/init.d/ You can add mkdir -p /mnt/tmp just before the mount -a line. It is located in mount_all_local() function.

This is my script after adding the mkdir command:

mount_all_local() {
    mkdir -p /mnt/tmp;
    mount -a -t nonfs,nfs4,smbfs,cifs,ncp,ncpfs,coda,ocfs2,gfs,gfs2,ceph \
        -O no_netdev
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