I'm trying to mount /var with an overlayfs (with a tmpfs) at boot but don't manage to make it works.

Here is what I've done :

# creating tmpfs
mkdir /var.tmpfs
mount -t tmpfs -o rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,noatime,size=512m,mode=0775 tmpfs /var.tmpfs
chmod -R u=rwX,g=rX,o=rX /var.tmpfs

# creating overlay
mkdir /var.tmpfs/{work,upper} /var.overlay
mount -t overlay -o rw,lowerdir=/var,upperdir=/var.tmpfs/upper,workdir=/var.tmpfs/work overlay /var.overlay
chmod -R u=rwX,g=rX,o=rX /var.overlay

# binding to /var
mount --bind /var.overlay /var

# filling /etc/fstab
tmpfs           /var.tmpfs      tmpfs   rw,nosuid,noatime,size=512m          0  0
overlayfs       /var.overlay    overlay rw,lowerdir=/var,upperdir=/var.tmpfs/upper,workdir=/var.tmpfs/work    0   0
/var.overlay    /var            none    bind    0   0  

When the system boot I face the following error :

overlayfs: failed to resolve '/var.tmpfs/upper' -2

Which is normal since tmpfs is empty when mounted.

  • How to create upper and work directories at boot
    • after mounting /var.tmpfs
    • before mounting /var.overlay
  • Or is there any other solution with directories already present at boot ?

Thanks in advance.


The folders /var.tmpfs/upper and /var.tmpfs/work are located in tmpfs and will no longer present after reboot.

One option is to create both of them in fstab.


I do something similar with https://github.com/StuartIanNaylor/zram-config but use zram rather than tmpfs.

I bind mount the target directory somewhere else. Create and mount zram and mkdir overlayfs dirs. Then mount the overlay

mount --verbose --types overlay -o lowerdir=$BIND_DIR,upperdir=/opt/zram$RAM_DEV/upper,workdir=/opt/zram$RAM_DEV/workdir overlay $ZRAM_DIR

$ZRAM_DIR is the target dir that gets bind mounted elsewhere so on stop I can sync changes. Rather than the complete /var you might have to just add a collection of lowerdir as maybe tmpfs over tmpfs is not working and really why?

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