Provision AWS VPC with Terraform

This tutorial explains how to automate the provisioning of AWS Virtual Private Cloud(VPC) using Terraform.

This document assumes you're familiar with the following concepts:

If you're unfamiliar with Terraform, it would be good to start with learning how to provision infrastructure manually. Refer to our blog for a step-by-step tutorial: Provision AWS VPC with Terraform.

There are many challenges with manually running terraform scripts. In short, you will struggle with making scripts reusable and injecting the right values for wildcards at runtime, and maintaining the right version of the Terraform state file. Also, if you have dependent workflows, you will have to manually go trigger each one.

If you want to achieve frictionless execution of Terraform scripts that are modular and reusable, you need to templatize your scripts and automate the workflow used to execute them.

Automated provisioning of AWS VPC with Terraform

In this document, we will demonstrate how you can easily automate your workflow using Shippable's Assembly Lines. The following Assembly Line features are particularly noteworthy for this scenario:

  • Creating an event-driven, automated workflow
  • Securing workflow jobs with RBAC and contextually injecting credentials depending on who/what is running the Terraform scripts
  • Dynamically injecting wildcard values in template files, depending on the state of the workflow
  • Visualizing your workflow and it's current status in a graphical view

To jump into this tutorial, you will need to familiarize yourself with a few platform concepts.


Step by Step Instructions

The following sections explain the process of automating a workflow to provision AWS VPC using Terraform. We will demonstrate this with our sample application.

Source code is available at devops-recipes/prov_aws_vpc_terraform

Complete YML is at devops-recipes/prov_aws_vpc_terraform/shippable.yml

1. Add Integrations

Integrations are used to connect your Shippable workflow with external providers. More information about integrations is here. We will use integrations for AWS Keys and Github for this sample.

1a. Add AWS Keys Integration

To be able to interact with AWS, we need to add the dr_aws integration.

Detailed steps on how to add an AWS Keys Integration are here. Make sure you name the integration dr_aws since that is the name we're using in our sample automation scripts.

Note: You might already have this if you have done any of our other tutorials. If so, skip this step.

1b. Add Github Integration

In order to read your workflow configuration from Github, we need to add the drship_github integration. This points to the repository containing your Shippable workflow config file (shippable.yml) and Terraform script files.

In our case, we're using the repository devops-recipes/prov_aws_vpc_terraform.

Detailed steps on how to add a Github Integration are here. Make sure you name the integration drship_github since that is the name we're using in our sample automation scripts.

Note: You might already have this if you have done any of our other tutorials. If so, skip this step.

2. Author Assembly Line configuration

The platform is built with "Everything as Code" philosophy, so all configuration is in a YAML-based file called shippable.yml, which is parsed to create your Assembly Line workflow.

Detailed documentation on shippable.yml is here.

If you're using our sample code, shippable.yml already exists and you can use it with a few modifications.

2a. Add empty shippable.yml to your repo

Add an empty shippable.yml file to the the root of repository.

2b. Add resources section of the config

resources section holds the config info that is necessary to provision an AWS VPC. In this case we have 4 resources defined of type integration, gitRepo, state and params.

Add the following to your shippable.yml:

# Automation scripts repo
  - name: aws_vpc_tf_repo
    type: gitRepo
    integration: "drship_github"
      sourceName: "devops-recipes/prov_aws_vpc_terraform"
      branch: master

# AWS credentials
  - name: aws_vpc_tf_creds
    type: integration
    integration: "dr_aws"

# Terraform State
  - name: aws_vpc_tf_state
    type: state

# Output of VPC provisioning
  - name: aws_vpc_tf_info
    type: params
        SEED: "initial_version"
i. gitRepo resource named aws_vpc_tf_repo

This resource points to the repository that contains your Terraform script files, so that they are accessible to your Assembly Line. For our example, these files are present in the repository, namely, here.

Detailed info about gitRepo resource is here.

ii. integration resource named aws_vpc_tf_creds

Your AWS credentials are securely stored in this integration.

To let Terraform interact with AWS, we will export AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY stored in this resource as environment variables at runtime.

Detailed info about integration resource is here.

iii. state resource named aws_vpc_tf_state

Every time you execute terraform apply, Terraform generates a terraform.tfstate file, which contains the state of your provisioning activity. If the file is already present, it simply updates state information each time. It is important to have this file in the right place, since Terraform will recreate all resources again if it doesn't find it, resulting in duplicate objects.

The state resource aws_vpc_tf_state is used in our example to store this state file and make it available to any job that executes the terraform apply command.

Detailed info about state resource is here.

iv. params resource named aws_vpc_tf_info

We store information like vpc_id and subnet_id, which are created during the execution of your scripts, in a params resource. Downstream jobs can access this information programmatically if required. For example, a separate job that provisions machines will need to know the VPC and Subnet IDs.

Detailed info about params resource is here.

2c. Add jobs section of the config

A job is an execution unit of the Assembly Line. Our job has to perform three tasks:

  • Replace the wildcards needed by the Terraform scripts
  • Run terraform apply to run your scripts
  • Output vpc_id and subnet_id into the params resource to make it available for downstream jobs

Add the following to your shippable.yml:

# Provision AWS VPC with Terraform
  - name: prov_aws_vpc_tr
    type: runSh
      - IN: aws_vpc_tf_repo
      - IN: aws_vpc_tf_creds
        switch: off
      - IN: aws_vpc_tf_state
        switch: off
      - TASK:
          name: prov_vpc
                # Variables needed to replace wildcards in
                - vpc_region: "us-east-1"
                - vpc_name: "demo_vpc_tf"
                - vpc_cidr_block: ""
                - vpc_access_from_ip_range: ""
                - vpc_public_subnet_1_cidr: ""
            - pushd $(shipctl get_resource_state "aws_vpc_tf_repo")
            # Export access and secret keys from the aws_vpc_tf_creds integration
            - export AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=$(shipctl get_integration_resource_field aws_vpc_tf_creds "accessKey")
            - export AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=$(shipctl get_integration_resource_field aws_vpc_tf_creds "secretKey")
            # Copy state file from IN resource into current folder
            - shipctl copy_file_from_resource_state aws_vpc_tf_state terraform.tfstate .
            # Replace wildcards
            - shipctl replace terraform.tfvars
            # Terraform commands to run scripts
            - terraform plan -var-file=terraform.tfvars
            - terraform apply -var-file=terraform.tfvars
      - OUT: aws_vpc_tf_info
        overwrite: true
      - OUT: aws_vpc_tf_state
        # Update key-value pairs in the OUT params resource
        - shipctl put_resource_state_multi aws_vpc_tf_info "versionName=$vpc_name" "vpc_id=$(terraform output vpc_id)" "vpc_region=$vpc_region" "vpc_public_sg_id=$(terraform output vpc_public_sg_id)" "vpc_public_sn_id=$(terraform output vpc_public_sn_id)"
        # Update state file in the OUT state resource
        - shipctl copy_file_to_resource_state terraform.tfstate aws_vpc_tf_state
        - popd
  • Adding the above config to the jobs section of shippable.yml will create a runSh job called prov_aws_vpc_tr.

  • The first section of steps defines all the input IN resources that are required to execute this job.

  • Terraform script files are under the root folder and it is version controlled in a repository represented by aws_vpc_tf_repo.
  • Credentials to connect to AWS are in aws_vpc_tf_creds. This resource has switch: off flag which means any changes to it will not trigger this job automatically
  • The aws_vpc_tf_state resource contains the terraform.tfstate file from previous executions of the apply command, which is needed to make sure we don't provision duplicate objects

  • The TASK section contains actual code that is executed when the job runs. We have just one task named prov_vpc which does the following:

  • First, we define environment variables required by Terraform scripts-
    • vpc_region is the aws region where the VPC is going to be created
    • vpc_name is the name of the VPC
    • vpc_cidr_block is the address space of the VPC
    • vpc_access_from_ip_range is the IP range that you want to limit access to resources in this VPC. Here we are opening this up to WWW
    • vpc_public_subnet_1_cidr is the address range of the public subnet we are creating
  • script section has a list of commands to execute sequentially.
    • First, we use the Shippable utility function get_resource_state to go to the folder where Terraform scripts are stored
    • Next, we extract the AWS credentials from the aws_vpc_tf_credsresource, again using shipctl functions
    • Next, we fetch the terraform.tfstate file and copy it into the current folder using shipctl function on aws_vpc_tf_state
    • Next, we replace all wildcards in the terraform.tfvars file
    • Last, we call terraform apply, which provisions the VPC
  • on_success section is executed if the TASK section succeeds. This step updates the params resource with vpc_id, vpc_public_sg_id and vpc_public_sn_id generated during the execution
  • always section is executed no matter what the outcome of TASK section was. Here we push the latest copy of terraform.tfstate back to aws_vpc_tf_state resource so that it is available for the next run with the latest state information. We need to do this in always section since Terraform does not rollback changes of a failed apply command

Detailed info about runSh job is here.

Detailed info about Shippable Utility functions is here.

2d. Push changes to shippable.yml

Commit and push all the above changes to shippable.yml.

3. Add the Assembly Line to your Shippable organization

In Shippable's world, a Subscription maps to an Organization or a Team, depending on the source control provider. An Assembly Line workflow is defined at a Subscription level and all jobs are resources are global to your subscription.

To add your Assembly Line to Shippable, you need to add the repository containing the configuration as a "sync repository" by following instructions here. This automatically parses your shippable.yml config and adds your workflow to Shippable. Your workflow will always be kept in sync with the config in this repository, and be automatically updated every time you push a change to shippable.yml.

Your view will look something like this:

Assembly Line view

4. Run the job prov_aws_vpc_tr

You can manually run the job by right clicking on the job and clicking on Build job, or by committing a change to your repository containing Terraform scripts.

Build console output

Confirm that the required VPC was created in AWS.

Further Reading