This post is aimed to help administrators to keep Linux home directories in a centralized location and mounting them when needed by using the Automounter.
NOTE: Each user should have unique uid/gid

NFS Server:
Any NFS Server will do just fine.
I will use NetApp NFS since this is for a production environment.

RHEL Client:
RHEL 5.3 64bit

john uid=2100 gid=2100
alex uid=2101 gid=2101

NetApp NFS Server Setup:
1) Create a volume to host your home directories

filer> vol create homedirs aggr1 200g

2) Enter the following in your /etc/exports file to export this to the specific RHEL client.

filer> exportfs -p, /vol/homedirs
filer> exportfs -a

RHEL Client Configuration:

1) As root mount the volume anywhere in the system. (This is only to create the home directories and assign the proper ownership, then unmount.)
[root@rhelbox ~]# mkdir /mnt/homedirs
[root@rhelbox ~]# mount ny1afilerd1:/vol/homedirs /mnt/homedirs/
[root@rhelbox ~]# mount

filer:/vol/homedirs on /mnt/homedirs type nfs (rw,

2) Create the home directories and assign proper ownership
[root@rhelbox ~]# mkdir /mnt/homedirs/{john,alex}

[root@rhelbox ~]# id john
uid=2100(john) gid=2100 groups=2100
[root@rhelbox ~]# chown 2100:2100 /mnt/homedirs/john/

[root@rhelbox ~]# id alex
uid=2101(alex) gid=2101 groups=2101
[root@rhelbox~]# chown 2101:2101 /mnt/homedirs/alex/

3) Copy the files from /etc/skel to the new home directory
[root@rhelbox ~]# for i in john alex; do cp /etc/skel/.* /mnt/homedirs/$i/; done

4) Unmount the temporary folder
[root@rhelbox~]# umount /mnt/homedirs
[root@rhelbox~]# rmdir /mnt/homedirs

5) Configure the Automounter
Enter the following in /etc/auto.master
/home /etc/auto.home –timeout=60

Create /etc/auto.home and populate as follows:
* -fstype=nfs,rw,nosuid,soft

6) Restart the automounter
[root@rhelbox ~]# service autofs restart

7) That should be it, lets give it a try
[root@rhelbox ~]# su – john
[john@rhelbox ~]$ ls -A
.bash_history .bash_logout .bash_profile .bashrc