Mission Specialist
Mission Specialist

Difference between Direct and Indirect Automount

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I've been trying to read up on this for the EX200 exam and haven't been able to make sense of it. Can someone explain the difference to me in an indirect/direct NFS mount?

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Hi Chetan,

Please don't take this as a criticism, but merely an opinion. NFS has left me with a very bad impression, in the early days when dinosours roamed the earth I had NFS mounts zombiefy themselves on mission critical systems more than once. (Before soft mount and timeo=X was configurable If memory serves me right)

Also I fear we are teaching bad practices in our legacy. Firstly I don't feel that using LDAP/NFS combination with linux home directories is common at all anymore, nor a wise choice with space so cheap and incremental backups. Then there are complications with permissions. You need to remove root_squash in this implimentation in order to manage the system client side. 

Also I've seen backups fail from users using NFS shares to do database dumps too. This was on recent implimentations too. We couldn't trace any network or system issues. Just failure. 

With space so cheap and available, if possible lay down to the local filesystem and rsync to the destination. The security is easier to understand and the process is recoverable. 

My take 


Totally understand your concerns @CommanderRiker ! And your critiscim is totally valid as per your experience. 

I guess the choice between automount, NFS, and alternative solutions depends on the specific needs and constraints of one's environment. Evaluating resource usage, performance requirements, management complexity, and disaster recovery needs is crucial. Legacy systems may benefit from modernization, but one might consider the cost-benefit of migration versus improved management of existing infrastructure.


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+1 to "With space so cheap and available, if possible lay down to the local filesystem and rsync to the destination. The security is easier to understand and the process is recoverable. "


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Thank you for sharing your feedback @CommanderRiker 

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Mission Specialist
Mission Specialist

Nfs mount : [allows remote hosts to mount file systems over a network and interact with those file systems as though they are mounted locally.]

and the difference between the direct and indirect NFS mounts are :

  • In a direct NFS mount, the client directly mounts a shared directory from the NFS server.
  • This is a straightforward and common method where the client explicitly specifies the NFS server and the shared directory in the mount command.

In an indirect NFS mount, the client mounts a directory that is managed by an automounter (such as autofs), and the automounter is responsible for mounting the actual NFS share when it's accessed.

Autofs is a program for automatically mounting directories on an as-needed basis. It is commonly used in Unix and Linux systems to manage network file system (NFS) mounts


Flight Engineer Flight Engineer
Flight Engineer

This is not correct.  

Automounting includes both direct automounting and indirect automounting.

See my previous post regarding the differences between these two methods both using autofs.

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