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Deploying Spacelift Stacks with Spacelift Terraform Provider

Deploying Spacelift with Spacelift

Spacelift wouldn’t be the leading Infrastructure as Code automation platform if you couldn’t manage it using code. Coding your deployment tools is just as important as coding the infrastructure they’re deploying because, after all, tools are infrastructure!

This article will cover a basic Spacelift deployment using the Spacelift Terraform Provider. If you’d like to follow along, you will need some Terraform code of your own and will want to update variables and other configuration items to fit your deployment.

Create the Repository

Create the repository and a branch for your Terraform code. You will need it to set up your initial stack. I imagine if you have a reason to read this blog, you’re probably relatively comfortable with Git.

Configuring the Administrative Stack

The first step to deploying your Spacelift resources using Spacelift is creating an administrative stack. You can code this out in Terraform, run it externally, and manage the state remotely, but we’ll resort to lowly clickops instead. I know clickops are the worst, but this is the only time you’ll have to do it. I promise!

  1. After signing into your account, click on “Add Stack” at the top right:
add stack - deploy spacelift with spacelift
  1. Select your provider, repository, branch, and root (if necessary). 

Note: Take note of your provider. If your provider is Github (Custom App) or another VCS, you’ll want to check the provider documentation for your individual implementation.

create new stack
  1. Continue to the Configure Backend section. Choose the appropriate settings or leave the defaults.
configure backend - deploy spacelift with spacelift
  1. 4. On the Define Behavior section, toggle Administrative. You may also want to display the advanced options and choose Protect from deletion. This stack will be the stack that controls all other stacks, so I’d say it’s relatively important!
define behavior - deploy spacelift with spacelift
  1. 5. Continue and name your stack. You may also want to add an administrative label to your stack as well. Save your stack, and let’s rock!
administrative label - deploy spacelift with spacelift

Let's Code!

terraform {
  required_providers {
    spacelift = {
      source = "spacelift-io/spacelift"

provider "spacelift" {}

As you can see, there’s not much to it.

resource "spacelift_stack" "ec2-stack" {

  github_enterprise {
    namespace = "saturnhead"

  autodeploy   = false
  branch       = "main"
  description  = "AWS EC2 Instance and Networking"
  name         = "development-stack"
  repository   = "aws-ec2"
  terraform_version = "1.2.9"

Note: Remember when I said to take note if you’re using a custom GitHub app? The github_enterprise block is ONLY required if you are using a custom GitHub app. If you are not, then it can be omitted. Otherwise, add your organization name there. 

Again, pretty straightforward. You should recognize most of the settings from the settings page. The Spacelift API and Provider are incredibly intuitive and well-documented. You should definitely check it out for all of the options available.

Deploy the Stack!

  1. Commit the code to your repo. Once you’ve done that, your stack should kick off the build as expected. 
  2. Confirm the deployment and check out your shiny new stack!

Add Some Contexts

Now that you have deployed your stack, it’s time to add a context file. Although you can add environment variables directly to the stack, the context file makes them modular and capable of being consumed by multiple stacks. 

  1. Create your contexts. We will assign the variables later. You can also append random IDs to your contexts as well if you anticipate overlap:
resource "spacelift_context" "dev-context" {
  description = "Configuration variables for the dev environment."
  name        = "dev-context"

resource "spacelift_context" "prod-context" {
  description = "Configuration variables for the prod environment."
  name        = "prod-context"
  1. Attach the contexts to the stack. You can, of course, attach them as you need them or modify the priority as you see fit:
resource "spacelift_context_attachment" "dev-attachment" {
  context_id =
  stack_id   =
  priority   = 0

resource "spacelift_context_attachment" "prod-attachment" {
  context_id =
  stack_id   =
  priority   = 1
  1. Create some variables! To make this deployment a little more DRY, we will use for_each to add variables to the context. First, we’ll define our variables in a locals block. This block allows us to append variables and use other dynamic elements to construct our values if needed:

locals {
  dev_context_vars = {
    "AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID"         = { "value" = var.dev_aws_key, "write_only" = "true" },
    "AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY"     = { "value" = var.dev_aws_secret, "write_only" = "true" },
    "TF_VAR_aws_region" = { "value" = "us-east-1", "write_only" = "false" },
    "TF_VAR_dev_node_name" = { "value" = "dev-node", "write_only" = "false" }
  prod_context_vars = {
    "AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID"         = { "value" = var.prod_aws_key, "write_only" = "true" },
    "AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY"     = { "value" = var.prod_aws_secret, "write_only" = "true" },
    "TF_VAR_aws_region" = { "value" = "us-west-1", "write_only" = "false" },
    "TF_VAR_node_name" = { "value" = "prod-node", "write_only" = "false" }

As you can see, it’s a pretty simplistic example. And, if you have an upgraded plan, you wouldn’t have to provide your AWS keys as you can use the cloud integration feature, but this is a great way to illustrate the write_only feature. Now we have a dev context and a prod context ready to go! 

  1. Add those variables to your contexts using for_each!
resource "spacelift_environment_variable" "dev-vars" {
  for_each   = local.dev_context_vars
  context_id =
  name       = each.key
  value      = each.value.value
  write_only = each.value.write

resource "spacelift_environment_variable" "prod-vars" {
  for_each   = local.prod_context_vars
  context_id =
  name       = each.key
  value      = each.value.value
  write_only = each.value.write

Once you push the new code to your repository, confirm the deployment:

confirm deployment - deploy spacelift with spacelift

Then, check out your new contexts, all ready to go!

new contexts - deploy spacelift with spacelift

Key Points

That’s a quick primer on using the Spacelift Terraform provider to deploy Spacelift resources using Spacelift! To make this process easier, use the spacectl tool to run local previews without having to push your code, confirm stack deployments, and more!

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