How to install Kubernetes Clusters Using Terraform?

How to install Kubernetes Clusters Using Terraform?  Ashish Pandey
Posted on July 21, 2020, 1:14 p.m.

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What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform that can be used to deploy and manage a containerized applications. Generally, Microservices-based applications are first converted into Docker (or other container runtimes) images and then these microservices are deployed unsign Kubernetes.

Kubernetes Cluster is a set of multiple nodes or Virtual Machines either on-premises are on the cloud. Public cloud service providers provide managed Kubernetes clusters. In this example, we shall see how to set up a Kubernetes using AWS’s Elastic Kubernetes Service by running a terraform script. 

An Amazon EKS has two main parts: Control Plane and the worker nodes that are registered in the Control Plane. The virtual machines which are a part of the Kubernetes Cluster are known as the Worker node. These nodes are made on your account so that they can establish a connection to your cluster’s control panel. These panels are registered by the control panel. 


What is Terraform?

Terraform is an open-source infrastructure automation tool that is mostly used to create hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Terraform is built by Hshicorp and uses Hashicorp Configuration Language (HCL) to write easy to read scripts. Terraform can work with more than 70 providers including AWS, Azure, GCP, and in fact any API provider such as Kubernetes, Docker, Github, etc. 

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Steps to install Kubernetes Cluster By using Terraform


  1. Terraform: Terraform needs to be installed.  This will help you to provision the AWS EKS.
  2. Terraform Scripts: It contains the scripts and information of how many instances we need for our Kubernetes Clusters, Security Groups, and Auto Scaling group details. 
  3. Kubectl CLI tool: After installing the script you need to install this tool on your laptop as it helps in deploying applications on the Kubernetes cluster.
  4. AWS Account: Admin access with sufficient privilege to create and manage AWS EKS.
  5. Aws CLI tool: It will provide you with a separate credential for Kubernetes access. It will simplify your bootstrap process.

Step 1 - Install Terraform

Download appropriate version and package of Terraform -

Download the single binary provided by Terraform and install Terraform by unzipping it and moving it to a directory which is properly added in the $PATH.

Verify it by running 

$ terraform 

Step 2 - Install and configure AWS CLI

If you are using Linux/Unix machine install awscli using pip. 

  $ pip install awscli

For more details on how to install AWS CLI use the link given below-

Get access to the credentials of your AWS account. That includes aws_access_key and aws_secret_access_key. Make sure that the user corresponding to these credentials has enough privileges to create and manage required AWS resources.

Configure the AWS CLI with the AWS credentials using - 

$ aws configure 

Step 3 - Install kubectl and wget 

After Terraform is installed, download the kubectl tool from online sites and then install it on your device. Then, verify the downloaded version of the tool with the SHA-256 sum for your binary. You will have to check the SHA-256 sum for your binary. After that, apply them to execute permissions for the binary that you have downloaded. Once completed, copy the binary to a folder in your Path, and then you have to add $HOME/bin path to your shell initialization file. 

Download kubectl and unpack the binary. Make it executable 

$ curl -LO

$ chmod +x ./kubectl

$ mv kubectl /usr/bin/

$ kubectl  version --client

For wget installation - 

  • If you are using a centos machine -  $yum install wget
  • If you are using a ubuntu machine -  $apt install wget 

Step 4: Initialize terraform workspace 

Download the code from the repository  

$ git clone

$ cd terraform-kubernetes-installation

To launch and configure an Amazon EKS Cluster, specify the Amazon Subnets in which your Clusters will be used. Your internet connection must have a static IP Address for each of your clusters. The Amazon EKS needs to have high availability, so for that, it needs to have at least two subnets from two different availability zones.

Clone the terraform scripts kept at a GitHub repository for creating VPC, Amazon EKS setup. Customize these scripts to change the address range of VPC and subnet in the different availability zones in your region, do it only if you need to.

Validate all the .tf files.

Initialize terraform workspace - 

$terraform init 

You shall get output that looks like 

Terraform has been successfully initialized!

You may now begin working with Terraform. Try running "terraform plan" to see any changes that are required for your infrastructure. All Terraform commands should now work.


Check what all the resources would be created 

$terraform plan

$terraform validate 

Create EKS cluster and any other required resources

$terraform apply --auto-approve

Step 5: Configure kubectl

Configure kubectl for Amazon EKS. For this, use the AWS configuration before creating the kubectl file. In AWS configuration, create your profile and add it to the kubeconfig file. On successful completion, test your configuration. After that, check what output it is giving. 

To configure kubectl. Edit the following command with the cluster name and region, from Terraform's output. 

This will get the access credentials for your cluster and automatically configure kubectl.

$aws eks --region us-east-2 update-kubeconfig --name  training-eks-8Pqm08DI

$ kubectl get nodes 

Step 6: Deploy your application 

Your EKS cluster is ready now. you can start deploying your applications. 

For example, clone our repository and deploy the sample applications 

$ git clone

$ cd example-voting-app

$ cd k8s-specifications/

$ kubectl apply -f . 

Check all the pods and services created in this example. 

$ Kubectl get all 

Do whatever other development/testing you need to do on this Kubernetes cluster.

Step 7: Clean-up 

In case you are done with your experiments, do not forget to destroy your cluster (I am assuming you are not using this in production).  Terraform destroy will delete all the resources created by terraform script. 

Go to the Terraform workspace directory and execute 

$ terraform destroy --auto-approve 

Ashish Graduated from MNNIT Allahabad in the Computer Science stream. With ~10 years of Corporate experience in companies like Aricent in the telecom domain & Guavus in the big data domain, Ashish brings a lot of insight into Tech Industry Space. Here goes his expertise: Cloud Technologies - AWS, Azure, Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, DevOps Tools - Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Jenkins, Programming - Python, C, Java. He worked with Nokia Siemens Network regarding Infrastructure Management. Apart from Tech. industry, he is passionate about the social sector.

Keywords : kubernetes terraform Technology

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