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Install Tectonic on VMware with Terraform

Following this guide will deploy a Tectonic cluster within a VMware vSphere infrastructure .

Generally, the VMware 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 VMware platform.


  1. Download the latest Container Linux Stable OVA from https://coreos.com/os/docs/latest/booting-on-vmware.html.
  2. Import coreos_production_vmware_ova.ova into vCenter. Most settings may be left at their default. Consider "thin" provisioning and naming the template with the CoreOS Container Linux version number.
  3. Resize the virtual machine disk size to 30GB or larger.
  4. In the Virtual Machine Configuration view select "vApp Options" tab and un-check "Enable vApp Options".
  5. Convert the Container Linux image into a Virtual Machine template.
  6. Pre-allocate IP addresses for the cluster and create DNS records.
  7. Configure an existing Load Balancer for Tectonic. For an example setup, see Using F5 BIG-IP LTM with Tectonic. This LB should proxy all requests on port 80 to port 32001 at the worker nodes and 443 requests to 32000.

DNS and IP address allocation

Create required DNS records before beginning setup. The following table lists 3 etcd nodes, 2 master nodes and 2 worker nodes.

Record Type Value
mycluster.mycompany.com A
mycluster.mycompany.com A
mycluster-k8s.mycompany.com A
mycluster-k8s.mycompany.com A
mycluster-worker-0.mycompany.com A
mycluster-worker-1.mycompany.com A
mycluster-master-0.mycompany.com A
mycluster-master-1.mycompany.com A
mycluster-etcd-0.mycompany.com A
mycluster-etcd-1.mycompany.com A
mycluster-etcd-2.mycompany.com A

See Tectonic on Baremetal DNS documentation for general DNS Requirements. If you round-robin DNS, and do not use a load balancer to route traffic to Tectonic ingress, you must set ingress_kind for the Tectonic module in platforms/vmware/tectonic.tf to HostPort, rather than NodePort.

Create a CoreOS account

Tectonic Installer requires the License and Pull Secret provided with a CoreOS account. To obtain this information and up to 10 free nodes, create a CoreOS account.

  1. Go to https://account.coreos.com/login, and click Sign Up.

  2. Check your inbox for a confirmation email. Click through to accept the terms of the license, activate your account, and be redirected to the Account Overview page.

  3. Click "Free for use up to 10 nodes" under Tectonic. Enter your contact information, and click Get License for 10 nodes.

Once the update has processed, the Overview window will refresh to include links to download the License and Pull Secret.


Ensure ssh-agent is running:

$ eval $(ssh-agent)

Add the SSH key that will be used for the Tectonic installation to ssh-agent:

$ ssh-add <path-to-ssh-key>

Verify that the SSH key identity is available to the ssh-agent:

$ ssh-add -L

Reference the absolute path of the public component of the SSH key in tectonic_vmware_ssh_authorized_key.

Without this, terraform is not able to SSH copy the assets and start bootkube. Ensure the SSH known_hosts file does not contain old records for the API DNS name to avoid a key fingerprint mismatch.

Getting Started

The following steps must be executed on a machine that has network connectivity to VMware vCenter API and SSH access to Tectonic Master Server(s).

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_1.9.6-tectonic.1.zip
$ curl -O https://releases.tectonic.com/releases/tectonic_1.9.6-tectonic.1.zip.sig

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

$ gpg2 --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-key 18AD5014C99EF7E3BA5F6CE950BDD3E0FC8A365E
$ gpg2 --verify tectonic_1.9.6-tectonic.1.zip.sig tectonic_1.9.6-tectonic.1.zip
# gpg2: Good signature from "CoreOS Application Signing Key <security@coreos.com>"

Unzip Tectonic Installer and navigate to the tectonic directory.

$ unzip tectonic_1.9.6-tectonic.1.zip
$ cd tectonic_1.9.6-tectonic.1

Customize the deployment

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

$ export CLUSTER=my-cluster

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

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

Edit the parameters with details of the VMware infrastructure. View all of the VMware specific options and the common Tectonic variables.

Set Console login secrets

Set these sensitive values in the environment. The tectonic_admin_password will be encrypted before storage or transport:

  • TF_VAR_tectonic_admin_email - String giving the email address used as user name for the initial Console login
  • TF_VAR_tectonic_admin_password - Plaintext password string for initial Console login

For example, in the bash(1) shell, replace the quoted values with those for the cluster being deployed and run the following commands:

$ export TF_VAR_tectonic_admin_email="admin@example.com"
$ export TF_VAR_tectonic_admin_password="pl41nT3xt"

Deploy the cluster

Download the Tectonic Terraform modules:

$ terraform init ../../platforms/vmware
Downloading modules...
Get: modules/vmware/etcd
Get: modules/ignition
Get: modules/vmware/node
Get: modules/ignition
Get: modules/vmware/node
Get: modules/tls/kube/self-signed
Get: modules/tls/etcd
Get: modules/tls/ingress/self-signed
Get: modules/tls/identity/self-signed
Get: modules/bootkube
Get: modules/tectonic
Get: modules/net/flannel-vxlan
Get: modules/net/calico-network-policy

Initializing provider plugins...
   Checking for available provider plugins on https://releases.hashicorp.com...

Terraform will download any available plugins, and report when initialization is complete.

Test out the plan before deploying everything:

$ terraform plan ../../platforms/vmware

Terraform will prompt for vSphere credentials:

  The user password for vSphere API operations.

  Enter a value:

  The user name for vSphere API operations.

  Enter a value:

Next, deploy the cluster:

$ terraform apply ../../platforms/vmware

Wait for terraform apply to complete all tasks. The Tectonic cluster should be ready upon completion of the apply command. See the troubleshooting guide if problems occur.

Access the cluster

Tectonic Console will be up and running after the containers have downloaded. Console can be accessed by the DNS name configured as https://<tectonic_cluster_name>.<tectonic_base_domain> in the terraform.tfvars variables file.

Credentials and secrets for Tectonic can be found in the /generated folder, including the CA (if generated) and a kubeconfig. Use the kubeconfig file to control the cluster with kubectl:

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

Scaling Tectonic VMware clusters

Both master and worker nodes may be scaled on VMware using terraform.

Scaling worker nodes

To scale worker nodes, adjust tectonic_worker_count, tectonic_vmware_worker_hostnames and tectonic_vmware_worker_ip variables in terraform.tfvars and run:

$ terraform plan \
$ terraform apply \

After running terraform apply new worker machines will appear in Tectonic Console. This change may take several minutes.

Scaling master nodes

To scale master nodes, adjust tectonic_master_count, tectonic_vmware_master_hostnames and tectonic_vmware_master_ip variables in terraform.tfvars and run:

$ terraform plan \
$ terraform apply \

After running terraform apply master machines will appear in Tectonic Console. This change may take several minutes.

Add the new controller nodes' IP address to the DNS record for the name set in the tectonic_vmware_controller_domain variable, or update the load balancer configuration with the new controller nodes.

Known issues and workarounds

See the troubleshooting document for known issues and workarounds.

Delete the cluster

To delete Tectonic cluster, run:

$ terraform destroy ../../platforms/vmware