We are in the process of re-designing our NFS service and are at a point where we can choose either to mount our NFS shares statically from /etc/fstab at boot or as autofs direct maps.

In our new design, we have only 2 mounts and the mounts will be accessed more or less constantly, so the ability of autofs to time out the mounts is of no benefit.

Our new NFS server is a clustered appliance, so availability of the service should not make a difference (see my previous statement about the mounts being accessed more or less constantly).

We use host configuration management which should be able to manage either autofs maps or static mounts w/fstab entries equally well; we also do not expect them to change much if at all.

Our current setup uses the automounter, so moving to static mounts would be a change; we are trying to find caveats to using static mounts in our situation but are coming up short. Our searches of Google, ServerFault and our own experience have not turned up anything. Using static mounts seems simpler and removes a moving part that can break, but still something feels wrong about it.

Given the above considerations, are there any downsides to using static mounts that we are missing?

(Clients are NFSv4, CentOS/Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5/6/+ and Solaris 10. Each platform's stock autofs is the automounter under consideration.)

  • seems like this is an opinion oriented question...and thus a question that will not have a definitive answer. – mdpc May 17 '14 at 10:32
  • While it is true that this question does not lend itself to an easily and obviously definitive answer, it is also not an opinion question; it is a question of facts & experience -- @john's answer below is exactly the sort of factual scenario I had missing and am hoping to hear about. – Wil Cooley May 19 '14 at 7:46

It's actually hard to argue one way or the other. The only item I can point out (happened to me) is that if you are using static mounts as in fstab and someone/thing makes an error the system may not boot and you'll have to go into rescue mode to get the system back online. That won't happen when using autofs.

  • Thanks @John; I had not thought of the possible impact on booting. We have had two major outages in the last five years, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility. Fortunately, none of the core infrastructure (things I need to bring back up first) use NFS, so we're probably OK there. – Wil Cooley May 19 '14 at 7:56

I think difference between static mount fstab and autofs mount is, When you make required entries in fstab it will be like permanent mount. i,e even user log off it will be mounted.

In Autofs case whenever user login it will be mounted automatically and whenever user log off it will be disconnected/un-mount automatically.

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