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Install Tectonic on AWS with Terraform

Use this guide to manually install a Tectonic cluster on an AWS account. To install Tectonic on AWS with a graphical installer instead, refer to the AWS graphical installer documentation.

Generally, the AWS platform templates adhere to the standards defined by the project conventions and generic platform requirements. This document aims to document the implementation details specific to the AWS platform.


  • DNS: Ensure that the DNS zone is already created and available in Route 53 for the account. For example if the tectonic_base_domain is set to kube.example.com a Route 53 zone must exist for this domain and the AWS nameservers must be configured for the domain.
  • Tectonic Account: Register for a Tectonic Account, which is free for up to 10 nodes. You will need to provide the cluster license and pull secret below.

Getting Started

Download and extract Tectonic Installer

Open a new terminal, and run the following commands to download and extract Tectonic Installer.

$ curl -O https://releases.tectonic.com/releases/tectonic_1.6.2-tectonic.1.tar.gz # download
$ tar xzvf tectonic-1.6.2-tectonic.1.tar.gz # extract the tarball
$ cd tectonic

Initialize and configure Terraform

Start by setting the INSTALLER_PATH to the location of your platform's Tectonic installer. The platform should either be darwin, linux, or windows. We also need to add the terraform binary to our PATH.

$ export INSTALLER_PATH=$(pwd)/tectonic-installer/darwin/installer # Edit the platform name.
$ export PATH=$PATH:$(pwd)/tectonic-installer/darwin # Put the `terraform` binary in our PATH

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

Configure your AWS credentials. See the AWS docs for details.


Set your desired region:

$ export AWS_REGION=

Next, specify the cluster configuration.

Customize the deployment

Customizations to the base installation live in examples/terraform.tfvars.aws. Export a variable that will be your cluster identifier:

$ export CLUSTER=my-cluster

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

$ mkdir -p build/${CLUSTER}
$ cp examples/terraform.tfvars.aws build/${CLUSTER}/terraform.tfvars

Edit the parameters with your AWS details, domain name, license, etc. View all of the AWS specific options and the common Tectonic variables.

Deploy the cluster

Test out the plan before deploying everything:

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

Next, deploy the cluster:

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

This should run for a little bit, and when complete, your Tectonic cluster should be ready.

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

Delete the cluster

Deleting your cluster will remove only the infrastructure elements created by Terraform. If you selected an existing VPC and subnets, these items are not touched. To delete, run:

$ terraform destroy -var-file=build/${CLUSTER}/terraform.tfvars platforms/aws

Known issues and workarounds

See the troubleshooting document for workarounds for bugs that are being tracked.