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Install Tectonic on bare metal with Terraform

Use this guide to deploy a Tectonic cluster on virtual or physical hardware using the command line and Terraform.


For a complete list of requirements, see Bare Metal Installation requirements.

  • Tectonic Account.
  • The Terraform version included in the Tectonic Installer tarball. See the Tectonic Installer release notes for information about which Terraform versions are compatible.
  • Matchbox v0.6+ installation with TLS client credentials and the gRPC API enabled.
  • PXE network boot environment with DHCP, TFTP, and DNS services.
  • DNS records for the Kubernetes controller(s) and Tectonic Ingress worker(s).
  • Machines with BIOS options set to boot from disk normally, but PXE prior to installation.
  • Machines with known MAC addresses and stable domain names.
  • A SSH keypair whose private key is present in your system's ssh-agent.

Getting Started

Download and extract Tectonic Installer

Open a new terminal and run the following command to download Tectonic Installer.

$ curl -O https://releases.tectonic.com/releases/tectonic_1.6.10-tectonic.1.tar.gz # download

Verify the release has been signed by the CoreOS App Signing Key.

$ gpg2 --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-key 18AD5014C99EF7E3BA5F6CE950BDD3E0FC8A365E
$ gpg2 --verify tectonic_1.6.10-tectonic.1-tar-gz.sig tectonic_1.6.10-tectonic.1-tar.gz
# gpg2: Good signature from "CoreOS Application Signing Key <security@coreos.com>"

Extract the tarball and navigate to the tectonic directory.

$ tar xzvf tectonic_1.6.10-tectonic.1.tar.gz
$ cd tectonic

Initialize and configure Terraform

Start by setting the INSTALLER_PATH to the location of your platform's Tectonic installer. The platform should be linux or darwin.

$ export INSTALLER_PATH=$(pwd)/tectonic-installer/linux/installer
$ export PATH=$PATH:$(pwd)/tectonic-installer/linux

Make a copy of the Terraform configuration file for our system. Do not share this configuration file as it is specific to your machine.

$ sed "s|<PATH_TO_INSTALLER>|$INSTALLER_PATH|g" terraformrc.example > .terraformrc
$ export TERRAFORM_CONFIG=$(pwd)/.terraformrc

Next, get the modules that Terraform will use to create the cluster resources:

$ terraform get ./platforms/metal

Now, specify the cluster configuration.

Customize the deployment

Create a build directory to hold your customizations and copy the example file into it:

$ export CLUSTER=my-cluster
$ mkdir -p build/${CLUSTER}
$ cp examples/terraform.tfvars.metal build/${CLUSTER}/terraform.tfvars

Customizations should be made to build/${CLUSTER}/terraform.tfvars. Edit the following variables to correspond to your matchbox installation:

  • tectonic_matchbox_http_url
  • tectonic_matchbox_rpc_endpoint
  • tectonic_matchbox_client_cert
  • tectonic_matchbox_client_key
  • tectonic_matchbox_ca

Edit additional variables to specify DNS records, list machines, and set an SSH key and Tectonic Console email and password.

Several variables are currently required, but their values are not used.

  • tectonic_are_domain
  • tectonic_master_count
  • tectonic_worker_count
  • tectonic_etcd_count

Deploy the cluster

Test out the plan before deploying everything:

$ terraform plan -var-file=build/${CLUSTER}/terraform.tfvars platforms/metal

Next, deploy the cluster:

$ terraform apply -var-file=build/${CLUSTER}/terraform.tfvars platforms/metal

This will write machine profiles and matcher groups to the matchbox service.

Power On

Power on the machines with ipmitool or virt-install. Machines will PXE boot, install Container Linux to disk, and reboot.

ipmitool -H node1.example.com -U USER -P PASS power off
ipmitool -H node1.example.com -U USER -P PASS chassis bootdev pxe
ipmitool -H node1.example.com -U USER -P PASS power on

Terraform will wait for the disk installation and reboot to complete and then be able to copy credentials to the nodes to bootstrap the cluster. You may see null_resource.kubeconfig.X: Still creating... during this time.

Run terraform apply until all tasks complete. Your Tectonic cluster should be ready. If you encounter any issues, check the Tectonic troubleshooting guides.

Access the cluster

The Tectonic Console should be up and running after the containers have downloaded. You can access it at the DNS name configured in your variables file.

Inside of the /generated folder you should find any credentials, including the CA if generated, and a kubeconfig. You can use this to control the cluster with kubectl:

$ export KUBECONFIG=generated/auth/kubeconfig
$ kubectl cluster-info

Work with the cluster

For more information on working with installed clusters, see Scaling Tectonic bare metal clusters, and Uninstalling Tectonic.