What is the difference between using auto.master and having autofs automount your NFS mountpoints versus just putting the info in fstab? Linux Red-Hat 5/6
fstab, the advantage is the remote filesystem will be mounted on system (when the
noauto mount option is not used).
Additionally, it depends how the mount point is defined. There are two options which determines the recovery behaviour when the NFS client can't reach the server. With the
hard option (default one), the boot process will pause if there is a problem mounting the nfs share and repeated tries are made to mount the share indefinitely. If the
soft option is used, then the mount fails after
retrans retransmissions have been sent.
On the other hand, autofs only mounts nfs shares when they are needed and accessed.
The benefit of autofs would be you can boot your server (and use it) as normal when an NFS mount is inaccessible. Only the user/application that wants to access the NFS mount will notice the unavailability. With fstab your server might refuse to boot (hard option), boot very slowly (hard option with timeout), or you might have to manually re-mount the unavailable NFS mount each time it failed (soft option). Please someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Generally as we know mounting at boot happens with/etc/fstab whereas autofs is the daemon that happens later. so generally it's good to have NFS shares on autofs so that there will not be any problem during boot process if NFS shares failed to load (happens sometimes). Advantage of autofs is due to autofs boot time is reduced because of unnecessary Mount point are reduced. Automatically unmount is also done as per the period. Network efficiency is increased.