Here is how my fun started - I committed to my users that they can create volumes on Clustered ONTAP by themselves by running a script which will create flexvols, junction-path etc. The plan was to create their volumes' junction-paths under a single parent junction-path mounted through an automounter and all of their volumes could be simply accessed under the parent junction-path automount. Everything went well except users cannot "cd" to their own volume under parent automount - yes they can mount their volume through hard mount and also they can cd to parent automount.Here is the example:
No file or directory can exist in the full path to be used for the junction, but the parent directory containing the junction must exist before the junction is created. For example, if an administrator wants to junction a flexible volume into the namespace at /x/y/z, there must be a directory or junction at /x/y but there cannot be an existing file, directory, or junction at /x/y/z.
I would suggest checking the export policies once again
Thanks Bala and Nat. The issue is we are hitting a strange behavior of Linux where only image RHEL5.8 is not showing the nested paths while versions before and after 5.8 are working OK. Working with Netapp support to confirm what module changes were made in 5.8 to exhibit this behavior.