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Chapter 18. Policy: Using Automount

Automount is a way of making directories on different servers available, automatically, when requested by a user. This works exceptionally well within an IdM domain since it allows directories on clients within the domain to be shared easily. This is especially important with user home directories (Section 9.1, “Setting up User Home Directories”).
In IdM, automount works with the internal LDAP directory and, if it is configured, DNS services.

18.1. About Automount and IdM

Automount is a way to manage, organize, and access directories across multiple systems. Automount automatically mounts a directory whenever that resource is requested. Automount also provides a coherent structure to the way that these directories are organized. Every single directory, or mount point is called a key. Multiple keys that are grouped together are a map, and maps are associated according to their physical or conceptual location.
The base configuration file for automount is the auto.master file in the /etc/ directory. There can be multiple auto.master configuration files in separate server locations, if necessary.
When autofs is configured on a server and that server is a client in an IdM domain, then all of the configuration information for automount is stored in the IdM directory. Rather than being stored in separate text files, the autofs configuration — maps, locations, and keys — are stored as LDAP entries. For example, the default map file, auto.master, is stored as:
dn: automountmapname=auto.master,cn=default,cn=automount,dc=example,dc=com
objectClass: automountMap
objectClass: top
automountMapName: auto.master


Identity Management does not set up or configure autofs. That must be done separately. Identity Management works with an existing autofs deployment.
Each new location is added as a container entry under cn=automount,dc=example,dc=com, and each map and each key are stored beneath that location.
As with other IdM domain services, automount works with IdM natively. The automount configuration can be managed by IdM tools:
  • Locations, using ipa automountlocation* commands
  • Both direct and indirect maps, using ipa automountmap* commands
  • Keys, using ipa automountkey* commands
For automount to work within the IdM domain, the NFS server must be configured as an IdM client. Configuring NFS itself is covered in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Storage Administration Guide.