19.3.1. What's new in autofs version 5?

19.3.1. What's new in autofs version 5?

Direct map support

Autofs direct maps provide a mechanism to automatically mount file systems at arbitrary points in the file system hierarchy. A direct map is denoted by a mount point of "/-" in the master map. Entries in a direct map contain an absolute path name as a key (instead of the relative path names used in indirect maps).

Lazy mount and unmount support

Multimount map entries describe a hierarchy of mount points under a single key. A good example of this is the "-hosts" map, commonly used for automounting all exports from a host under "/net/<host>" as a multi-mount map entry. When using the "-hosts" map, an 'ls' of "/net/<host>" will mount autofs trigger mounts for each export from <host> and mount and expire them as they are accessed. This can greatly reduce the number of active mounts needed when accessing a server with a large number of exports.

Enhanced LDAP support

The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or LDAP, support in autofs version 5 has been enhanced in several ways with respect to autofs version 4. The autofs configuration file (/etc/sysconfig/autofs) provides a mechanism to specify the autofs schema that a site implements, thus precluding the need to determine this via trial and error in the application itself. In addition, authenticated binds to the LDAP server are now supported, using most mechanisms supported by the common LDAP server implementations. A new configuration file has been added for this support: /etc/autofs_ldap_auth.conf. The default configuration file is self-documenting, and uses an XML format.

Proper use of the Name Service Switch (nsswitch) configuration.

The Name Service Switch configuration file exists to provide a means of determining from where specific configuration data comes. The reason for this configuration is to allow administrators the flexibility of using the back-end database of choice, while maintaining a uniform software interface to access the data. While the version 4 automounter is becoming increasingly better at handling the name service switch configuration, it is still not complete. Autofs version 5, on the other hand, is a complete implementation. See the manual page for nsswitch.conf for more information on the supported syntax of this file. Please note that not all nss databases are valid map sources and the parser will reject ones that are invalid. Valid sources are files, yp, nis, nisplus, ldap and hesiod.

Multiple master map entries per autofs mount point

One thing that is frequently used but not yet mentioned is the handling of multiple master map entries for the direct mount point "/-". The map keys for each entry are merged and behave as one map.

An example is seen in the connectathon test maps for the direct mounts below:

/- /tmp/auto_dcthon
/- /tmp/auto_test3_direct
/- /tmp/auto_test4_direct

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