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NFS and automount drives load up

Hi All,

I've got my autofs maps setup to NFS mount home directories on my
mail server.  This works fine when the clients with home directories are
up and running.  But if a NFS/automount client machine goes down, this
causes disasterous results on my mail server.  sendmail, procmail, and
spamd processes get stuck waiting to access files on these NFS
filesystems.  Or sometimes if the directory was mounted while the client
computer crashes, other processes can get stuck.  How can we tell these
processes to time out and continue without these files?

When a processes gets stuck waiting for automount and NFS to respond, it
is virtually impossible to kill that process.  And as each processes
gets stuck, the load is driven higher and higher until finally sendmail
refuses conections because the "RefuseLA" value in sendmail is reached.
Also, we cannot "umount -f <directory>" to force NFS to unmount that directory.
We also cannot kill or kill -9 the autofs processes because they refuse
to die.

Our /etc/auto.master file looks like this:
	/home   yp:auto_home    rw,nosuid,soft
Our yp auto_home file looks like this:
	client1		&:/export/home/&
	client2		&:/export/home/&

If I run the mount command, these home direcotires are mounted with these
automount(pid804) on /home type autofs (rw,fd=5,pgrp=804,minproto=2,maxproto=3)
client1:/export/home/client1 on /home/client1 type nfs (rw,nosuid,soft,addr=
client2:/export/home/client2 on /home/client2 type nfs (rw,nosuid,soft,addr=

So does anyone know what we are doing wrong in our autofs/NFS setup?
We are running RedHat 8.0, nfs-utils-1.0.1-2.80, autofs-3.1.7-33, 
kernel-2.4.18-24.8.0, and sendmail-8.12.8-9.80.


Cheryl Southard
cld astro caltech edu

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