well, first of all i am not 100% but pretty sure that /etc/fstab is only run on boot but i honestly can't fully remember since it has been so long since i messed around with that. so if that is true and it doesnt, then you only need to run mount -a if it is designated correctly in /etc/fstab. mount -a will run the stuff in /etc/fstab.
if that is not correct then there are two possible options for you. you can either write a custom script that will auto mount for you. a reference would be here...
ubuntu auto mount
the os wouldnt matter which type, the process would be the same. otherwise i believe there is a program out there called autofs. check into one of those and go from there.