Autofs also referred as Automount is a nice feature in linux used to mount the filesystems automatically on user’s demand. There are two ways available in linux by which we can mount the file system i.e. /etc/fstab and another one is Autofs. /etc/fstab is used to mount the filesystems automatically at when system bootsup and Autofs is also doing the same thing.
Difference Between /etc/fstab and Autofs (AutoMount)
You might thinking that if both are doing the same thing then why to use Autofs (Automount) instade of /etc/fstab. and what is the difference between /etc/fstab and Autofs. Here I am going to explain you what is the exact difference between /etc/fstab and Autofs.
As we know that /etc/fstab is used for permanent mounting of file systems but it will be useful only if you have less mount points connected to your /etc/fstab file but if you are working on a large organisation and have so many mount points linked to your /etc/fstab file then in that case your overall system’s performance will be get effected.
But Autofs mounts the file systems on user’s demand. Bydefault the mount point’s configured in Autofs is in unmounted state till the user access the mount point, once user try to access the mount point it will mount automatically and if user dont use the mount point for some time then it will automatically go to unmount state.