Automated Terraform Deployments to AWS with Github Actions

Dave North
11 min readMar 17, 2020
Github with terraform

We’ve written in a previous blog post how Terraform helps us manage a lot of infrastructure for several platforms in a consistent manner. Recently we’ve been able to develop an automated workflow for actually applying our Terraform configuration to environments with full review and approval baked in. How? Github actions.

Github Actions

Github actions has been generally available since November 2019 and we had already jumped on board for a number of key tasks:

  • Automating code style
  • Releasing of private Ruby Gems
  • rspec testing
  • … and more

Towards the end of 2019, I became familar with the standardized Github actions published by HashiCorp for Terraform. These looked like something we could model our workflow on at Rewind. As we developed our workflow, there were a few bumps along the way that I’ll try and highlight in this post.

A small example repository to accompany this post is at rewindio/terraform-rewindio-example

Terraform Setup

At Rewind, we have several terraform repositories for different pieces of infrastructure. I’ve covered some of the layout in detail in this past post but in general, all of our repositories follow a similar layout that looks something like this

Standard Terraform Layout

A real repository has more .tf files and modules but the general structure is similar. The key thing is how we layout the .tfvars sub-directory structure and how we name workspaces.

There are separate AWS accounts for staging and production (a fairly common setup). Each account and region within that account requires it’s own .tfvars file containing the account-region specific configuration.

Further, each .tfvars file is tied to it’s own Terraform workspace which is named using the same convention as the .tfvars file. Simply, we use

<account prefix><some descriptive text>_<aws region>
Dave North

Cloud Architect at Rewind; Automating all the things in the cloud