Getting started with a Development Container for Terraform On Azure

Getting started with a Development Container for Terraform On Azure

1. Introduction

Imagine, you would like to provision resources in Azure using Terraform, but you don’t have the tools, respectively the prerequisites installed on your local machine? A dev container, including all the mandatory stuff could help for that purpose.

In this post I’d like to show you how I’m using my dev container to:

  • apply Azure CLI commands (login, updating a kubeconfig file)
  • use vim for editing files
  • use git for cloning a repository from GitHub
  • apply Terraform commands for provisioning an Azure Kubernetes Service
  • apply kubectl commands

2. Prerequisites

As prerequisites you’ll need:

3. Get Dockerfile and Build the Dev Container

I’ve created a Container, which is based on Ubuntu 22.04 and which has following tools installed:

  • curl
  • terraform
  • vim
  • git
  • azure cli
  • kubectl

Click at following link below, which leads to my GitHub repository:

GitHub – patkoch – devcontainer

and clone it on your local machine:

Afterwards, start a terminal of your choice, change the directory to “terraformonazure” and build the container:

docker build -t devcon-terraformonazure:1.0 . 

After that, you should get a Container Image, named “devcon-terraformonazure” with the tag “1.0”. Prove that by running:

4. Usage of the Dev Container

In this section, I’d like to show how to use following tools:

  • terraform: by provisioning an Azure Kubernetes Cluster
  • vim: by editing a Terraform configuration file
  • git: by cloning a repository from GitHub, which includes a Terraform configuration file
  • azure cli: by login to Azure and to update the kubeconfig file
  • kubectl: by showing the contexts and by listening all pods of the kube-system namespace

4.1 Start the Container with Visual Studio Code

As first step, start Visual Studio Code:

Getting started with a Development Container for Terraform On Azure

Select the “Docker” icon on the left and scroll to the “devcon-terraformonazure” image. Right click at the tag and choose “Run Interactive”:

Getting started with a Development Container for Terraform On Azure

A new terminal occurs, showing the run command for the Container:

03_RunContainerInteractiveExecuted

As next, go to “Containers”, there the running instance should be listed. Right click on the running instance and choose “Attach Visual Studio Code”:

04_AttachVSCode

A new Visual Studio Code instance will be started:

05_NewVSCodeInstance

You should be capable to prove that you’re now connected to the Container:

06_ContainerConnected

You can list the content of the current directory of the Container – this should be similar as seen in the picture below:

07_NewTerminalShowDirectory

Now the Container is ready, let’s do some actions with the mentioned tools.

4.2 Azure CLI – Login to your Azure Subscription

Prove that the Azure CLI is installed by simply typing “az” in the Terminal:

08_az_01

Let’s establish the connection to an Azure subscription. For that, I’d like to use the “azure login” command. Therefore, type:

09_az_02_login

Confirming the command by pressing enter opens your browser. Select your dedicated account, which you’d like to use:

10_az_03_pick_account

After picking you account, you should see logs similar as seen in the picture below:

11_az_04_az-account-show

4.3 Git – Clone a GitHub Repository

After conducting the login to the Azure subscription, I’ll need some code to work with. For that, I’m going to clone a GitHub repository.

For instance, I’ll go to https://github.com/patkoch/iac_terraform_azure – copy the web url for the git clone command:

12_github_clone-repo

Switch back to Visual Studio Code and clone the repository by pasting the command in the Terminal:

Conducting that command should clone the whole repository in the dev container. The directory “iac_terraform_azure” will be available in the file system:

13_vscode_show-cloned-repo

Change the directory to “/iac_terraform_azure/aks/windows” – the Terraform configuration “aks.tf” can be seen inside that directory:

14_vscode_show-terraform-file

4.4 Vim – Adapt the Terraform configuration file by using Vim

Imagine you’d need to quickly adapt some files in your dev container to find the proper settings. Vim would be a good choice for that.

Type “vim aks.tf” in the Terminal and confirm it by pressing enter:

15_vim_terraform-file

This will open the Terraform configuration. I’d like to rename the cluster to “patricks-new-aks”. Leave Vim by typing :wq! and by pressing enter when you’re done with your changes:

16_vim_rename-aks-cluster

4.5 Terraform – Provision an Azure Kubernetes Service

After starting the dev container, establishing the connection to the Azure subscription, cloning a repo from GitHub and adapting the Terraform file…it’s time to provision a resource in Azure. For that, I’m going to use Terraform.

I’ll conduct the commands:

  • init
  • validate
  • apply

for creating an Azure Kubernetes Service.

17_terraform_init_validate

Confirm the creation of the cluster by entering “yes”:

Getting started with a Development Container for Terraform On Azure

This leads to an Azure Kubernetes Service named “patricks-new-aks”:

Getting started with a Development Container for Terraform On Azure

4.6 kubectl – Apply basic kubectl commands

Finally, the usage of kubectl is missing. Before applying commands using kubectl, I need to update my kubeconfig file, as the Azure Kubernetes Service is newly created and unknown to the kubeconfig file.

Therefore, I’ll update the kubeconfig file by running following Azure CLI command:

az aks get-credentials --name patricks-new-aks -g example-resources 

20_az_aks-get-credentials

Now it is possible to use kubectl. Imagine I’d like to list all available contexts – for that I’ll conduct:

This returns the current cluster:

21_az_kubectl-get-contexts

As next, I’d like to get all pods of the “kube-system” namespace. I’ll run following command:

kubectl get pods -n kube-system

This should lead to following result:

22_kubectl-get-pods

4.7 Clean Up and Closing the Dev Container

If there is no need for the Azure Kubernetes Service any more, let’s destroy it by running the proper Terraform command:

23_terraform_destroy

Finally, let’s stop the dev container by selecting “Stop Container” in Visual Studio Code.

24_vscode_stop-container

Conclusion

I’d be glad if this dev container would be useful for someone – I really love to work with dev containers, which enables to quickly switch between different environment for development.

References

Azure CLI – learn.microsoft.com

vim – vim.org

Hashicorp – terraform.io

Kubernetes.io – install-kubectl-linux

Git – git-scm.com

Docker – docker.com/products/docker-desktop

Visual Studio Code – code.visualstudio.com/

Marketplace Visual Studio – ms-azuretools

About the Author:

Hi, my name is Patrick Koch!

I’m a “Senior Integration Engineer Software”, Azure Hero, Speaker and Blogger working in the Automotive Industry. I love to practice DevOps and would like to share my experiences of implementations done in Azure:

Reference:

Koch, P. (2022). Getting started with a Development Container for Terraform On Azure. Available at: https://www.patrickkoch.dev/posts/post_24/ [Accessed: 12th December 2022].

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