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Part 1 - Accounts, Single Deployment

I found myself wanting to convert a cloudformation config file to terraform and realised I haven't worked with terraform before.

So let's fix that by finding a beginner's guide to getting your hands dirty with Terrafom.

I found and started following @gruntwork's "Introduction to Terraform".

Admittedly its from 2016 and was bit outdated, but I was already halfway through it before I checked how current it was :)

No matter, learning is learning so here are my notes getting started with Terraform from my laptop.


Before you can do anything, you need the following

  1. AWS account
  2. iam user with limited permissions (AmazonEC2FullAccess)
  3. AWS_SECRET_KEY and AWS_ACCESS_KEY of your iam user
  4. terraform installed

AWS Account#

Setup your AWS user account

  • you need programmatic access
    • download the credentials.csv with your KEY and SECRET.
  • minimum 'AmazonEC2FullAccess' permissions
  • DONT use your root account, create another user account with min. privileges to play around with.

Install Terraform#

make sure you've got terraform installed

$ terraformUsage: terraform [--version] [--help] <command> [args]
The available commands for execution are listed below.The most common, useful commands are shown first, followed byless common or more advanced commands. If you're just gettingstarted with Terraform, stick with the common commands. For theother commands, please read the help and docs before usage.
Common commands:    apply              Builds or changes infrastructure    console            Interactive console for Terraform interpolations    destroy            Destroy Terraform-managed infrastructure

Initialize Terraform#

If you've never run terraform before you will probably need to run terraform init in the folder you're working in so terraform can pull down any plugins it needs for your particular project

$ terraform init
Initializing provider plugins...- Checking for available provider plugins on Downloading plugin for provider "aws" (1.13.0)...
The following providers do not have any version constraints in configuration,so the latest version was installed.
To prevent automatic upgrades to new major versions that may contain breakingchanges, it is recommended to add version = "..." constraints to thecorresponding provider blocks in configuration, with the constraint stringssuggested below.
* version = "~> 1.13"
Terraform has been successfully initialized!
You may now begin working with Terraform. Try running "terraform plan" to seeany changes that are required for your infrastructure. All Terraform commandsshould now work.
If you ever set or change modules or backend configuration for Terraform,rerun this command to reinitialize your working directory. If you forget, othercommands will detect it and remind you to do so if necessary.

otherwise you'll get this:

$ terraform planPlugin reinitialization required. Please run "terraform init".Reason: Could not satisfy plugin requirements.
Plugins are external binaries that Terraform uses to access and manipulateresources. The configuration provided requires plugins which can't be located,don't satisfy the version constraints, or are otherwise incompatible.
1 error(s) occurred:
* no suitable version installed  version requirements: "(any version)"  versions installed: none
Terraform automatically discovers provider requirements from yourconfiguration, including providers used in child modules. To see therequirements and constraints from each module, run "terraform providers".

Error: error satisfying plugin requirements

A Single Instance Deployment#

Create a file named with this in it:

provider "aws" {  access_key = "${var.access_key}"  secret_key = "${var.secret_key}"  region     = "${var.region}"}
resource "aws_instance" "single" {  ami = "ami-2d39803a"  instance_type = "t2.micro"}

Terraform Plan#

Run terraform plan to check what you're intending to provision

$ terraform planRefreshing Terraform state in-memory prior to plan...The refreshed state will be used to calculate this plan, but will not bepersisted to local or remote state storage.

An execution plan has been generated and is shown below.Resource actions are indicated with the following symbols:  + create
Terraform will perform the following actions:
  + aws_instance.example      id:                           <computed>      ami:                          "ami-2d39803a"      associate_public_ip_address:  <computed>      availability_zone:            <computed>      ebs_block_device.#:           <computed>      ephemeral_block_device.#:     <computed>      get_password_data:            "false"      instance_state:               <computed>      instance_type:                "t2.micro"      ipv6_address_count:           <computed>      ipv6_addresses.#:             <computed>      key_name:                     <computed>      network_interface.#:          <computed>      network_interface_id:         <computed>      password_data:                <computed>      placement_group:              <computed>      primary_network_interface_id: <computed>      private_dns:                  <computed>      private_ip:                   <computed>      public_dns:                   <computed>      public_ip:                    <computed>      root_block_device.#:          <computed>      security_groups.#:            <computed>      source_dest_check:            "true"      subnet_id:                    <computed>      tenancy:                      <computed>      volume_tags.%:                <computed>      vpc_security_group_ids.#:     <computed>

Plan: 1 to add, 0 to change, 0 to destroy.
Note: You didn't specify an "-out" parameter to save this plan, so Terraformcan't guarantee that exactly these actions will be performed if"terraform apply" is subsequently run.

Terraform Apply#

Now run terraform apply to deploy our config

login to your AWS GUI console and see a new EC2 is now up & running

Update plan and re-apply#

You can update your terraform plan on the fly, and push changes out pretty easily. For example adding the 'tags' section below.

provider "aws" {  access_key = "${var.access_key}"  secret_key = "${var.secret_key}"  region     = "${var.region}"}
resource "aws_instance" "single" {  ami = "ami-2d39803a"  instance_type = "t2.micro"
  tags {    Name = "single"  }}

re-run terraform plan and then terraform apply.

check your AWS GUI and your EC2 instance should now have a new tag "Name=single".

Deploy a Single Web Server#

Building on the single server config, we now deploy a single web server with a set-up-webserver one-liner.

Change your to add the user_data section like this:

resource "aws_instance" "web-1" {  ami = "ami-2d39803a"  instance_type = "t2.micro"
  user_data = <<-EOF              #!/bin/bash              echo "Hello, World" > index.html              nohup busybox httpd -f -p 8080 &              EOF  tags {    Name = "single-web"  }}

the user_data section of an AMI bootup is where you bootstrap your EC2 instances with things you want it to provision on boot or startup.

By default AWS does not allow any inbound or outbound traffic to EC2, so we need to create a security group to allow this to enable us to connect to the web server:

option 1:

static config hard-coded in

resource "aws_security_group" "ec2-web" {  name = "EC2WebSG"  ingress {    from_port = 8080    to_port = 8080    protocol = "tcp"    cidr_blocks = [""]  }}

option 2:

abstract out the vars and refer to them instead

resource "aws_security_group" "ec2-web" {  name = "EC2WebSG"  ingress {    from_port = ${var.inbound_port}    to_port = ${var.inbound_port}    protocol = "tcp"    cidr_blocks = [""]  }}

and add the following to your file:

variable "inbound_port" {  description = "The port the server will use for HTTP requests"  default = 8080}

Now you need to just change your EC2 user_data to use the new security group (i.e. aws_security_group)

resource "aws_instance" "web-1" {  ami = "ami-2d39803a"  instance_type = "t2.micro"  vpc_security_group_ids = ["${}"]
  user_data = <<-EOF              #!/bin/bash              echo "Hello, World" > index.html              nohup busybox httpd -f -p 8080 &              EOF  tags {    Name = "single-web"  }}

run terraform plan, see what we're changing:

Terraform will perform the following actions:
  ~ aws_instance.web-1      vpc_security_group_ids.#:             "" => <computed>
  + aws_security_group.instance      id:                                   <computed>      arn:                                  <computed>      description:                          "Managed by Terraform"      egress.#:                             <computed>      ingress.#:                            "1"      ingress.516175195.cidr_blocks.#:      "1"      ingress.516175195.cidr_blocks.0:      ""      ingress.516175195.description:        ""      ingress.516175195.from_port:          "8080"      ingress.516175195.ipv6_cidr_blocks.#: "0"      ingress.516175195.protocol:           "tcp"      ingress.516175195.security_groups.#:  "0"      ingress.516175195.self:               "false"      ingress.516175195.to_port:            "8080"      name:                                 "EC2WebSG"      owner_id:                             <computed>      revoke_rules_on_delete:               "false"      vpc_id:                               <computed>

Plan: 1 to add, 1 to change, 0 to destroy.

perfect. run it ('terraform apply')

handy way to get the public_ip of our web-1 instance, add a new file to your directory.

put this in it:

output "public_ip" {  value = "${aws_instance.web-1.public_ip}"}

note: make sure the part in between 'aws_instace.' and '.public_ip' matches whatever you've named your EC2 instance to (mine's web-1).

terraform apply will run and grab the public_ip of your instance for you

$ terraform applyaws_instance.single: Refreshing state... (ID: i-05a82498eb5f3177f)aws_security_group.instance: Refreshing state... (ID: sg-d53a28a3)aws_instance.web-1: Refreshing state... (ID: i-095ebd5015036ac62)
Apply complete! Resources: 0 added, 0 changed, 0 destroyed.
public_ip =

have a browse to and see the output of the 'index.html' you setup.

wow, so this took me a while sorting out a few things as I tried to go through this so we'll leave it there today.

In Part II we'll deploy a cluster of web servers using Auto Scaling Groups, and fang an Elastic Load Balancer in there as well!