Terraform Puppet Provisioner

HashiCorp Terraform 0.12.2 added official support for a Puppet provisioner. One caveat is that the provisioner is only available in 0.12.x of Terraform. The provisioner provides a number of features such as adding data to the CSR for trusted facts, selecting between open source and enterprise agent versions along with autosigning the CSR.

In this post we’ll use the Terraform vSphere provisioner to provision a CentOS virtual machine. The provisioner autosign feature will be used for automatically signing the CSR on the Puppet master.

Workstation Setup

The first thing we to do is setup our machine to deploy the virtual machine. Terraform and Puppet Bolt are what is needed for the setup.

Terraform Installation

HashiCorp Terraform is a Golang binary that just needs to be downloaded and added to the path on the system. The latest version of HashiCorp Terraform can be downloaded from the following link.


Puppet Bolt Installation

Puppet Bolt is used by the Puppet provisioner to bootstrap the Puppet agent on the virtual machine being provisioned.

Install the Puppet Bolt repo

Add the Puppet repo to the system

sudo rpm -Uvh https://yum.puppet.com/puppet6/puppet6-release-el-7.noarch.rpm

Install Puppet Bolt

Install Puppet Bolt using yum

sudo yum install -y puppet-bolt

Create Bolt Directory

Create a directory for the Puppet Bolt configuration

mkdir -p ~/.puppetlabs/bolt/

Create Puppet Bolt Configuration File

This step creates a Puppet Bolt global configuration file that the Terraform Puppet provisioner uses for the Bolt process.

cat << EOF > ~/.puppetlabs/bolt/bolt.yaml
modulepath: "~/.puppetlabs/bolt-code/modules:~/.puppetlabs/bolt-code/site-modules"
inventoryfile: "~/.puppetlabs/bolt/inventory.yaml"
concurrency: 10
format: human
  host-key-check: false
  user: root
  private-key: ~/.ssh/bolt_id 

Create Puppet Bolt Inventory File

The Terraform Puppet provisioner targets the Puppet master specified in the Terraform code but Bolt needs additional information for connecting to the Puppet master such as user credentials.

cat << EOF > ~/.puppetlabs/bolt/inventory.yaml
    host-key-check: false
    user: root
    private-key: ~/.ssh/bolt_id

Create Bolt Puppetfile

This step creates a Bolt Puppetfile for installing the two Puppet modules required by the Terraform Puppet provisioner.

cat << EOF > ~/.puppetlabs/bolt/Puppetfile
# Modules from the Puppet Forge.
mod 'danieldreier/autosign'
mod 'puppetlabs/puppet_agent'

Install Bolt Puppet Modules

This step installs the Puppet modules specified in the Puppetfile from the previous step.

bolt puppetfile install

Puppet Master Configuration

With the workstation configured we now need to configure the Puppet master to support the policy based autosign method supported by the Terraform Puppet provisioner.

Install the autosign ruby gem

This step installs the autosign (https://github.com/danieldreier/autosign) gem that our Puppet master will use for signing the certificate request.

/opt/puppetlabs/puppet/bin/gem install autosign

Create a new directory for autosign

Create a directory for the autosign installation.

mkdir /var/autosign

Update permissions on the autosign directory

The permissions for the autosign directory need to be updated to allow the Puppet server service to access the directory.

chown pe-puppet:pe-puppet /var/autosign
chmod 750 /var/autosign

Create autosign log file

Create a log file for the autosign binary to log events.

touch /var/log/autosign.log

Update permissions on the autosign log file

The permissions on the autosign log file need to be updated to allow it to be written to when the Puppet server attempts to autosign the CSR.

chown pe-puppet:pe-puppet /var/log/autosign.log

Setup the autosign gem

/opt/puppetlabs/puppet/bin/autosign config setup

The autosign setup creates a configuration file “/etc/autosign.conf” that needs to be modified. We need to ensure that the journalfile is configured for “/var/autosign/autosign.journal”.

  loglevel: warn
  logfile: "/var/log/autosign.log"
  secret: 1s79TOyqMHw3zfKhE1h+1feKMaE=
  validity: '7200'
  journalfile: "/var/autosign/autosign.journal"

The CSR will contain an invalid challenge password if the loglevel is set to debug

With the loglevel set to debug additional debug lines will be added to the challenge password in the CSR which causes the autosign process to fail.

Set Puppet master autosigning

The Puppet master configuration file needs to be updated to use the autosign gem as the executable/binary to run when validating CSRs.

puppet config set --section master autosign /opt/puppetlabs/puppet/bin/autosign-validator

Restart the Puppet Server Service

Restart the Puppet server service for the changes to take effect.

systemctl restart pe-puppetserver

The Puppet master is now configured for autosigning certificate requests from the Puppet provisioner.


With all of the setup complete we can focus on the Terraform code for provisioning our CentOS 7 virtual machine and using the new Puppet provisioner to integrate it with our Puppet master.

The Puppet provisioner resource block includes a number of configuration options that are covered in greater detail in the documentation but we’ll look at the ones that were used in this example.

server: The FQDN or IP address of the Puppet master

server_user: The name of the user on the Puppet master that the provisioner will connect as

autosign: The Puppet provisioner includes code that leverages Puppet Bolt as well as policy based autosigning to automatically sign the nodes SSL certificate on the Puppet master

open_source: Whether to use the open source version of the Puppet agent or the enterprise version

certname:  The CN for the agent’s SSL certificate

extension_requests: A map of extension requests to be embedded in the certificate signing request before it is sent to the Puppet master CA. In our example we’re passing data to set the pp_role trusted fact that defines the role of the virtual machine.

connection: Standard Terraform provisioner connection details for connecting to the virtual machine via SSH or WinRM.

Example Code

The following code is the Terraform vSphere virtual machine resource along with the Puppet provisioner used in this example.

resource "vsphere_virtual_machine" "puppet-demo" {
  name = "puppet-demo.grt.local"
  num_cpus = 1
  memory = 4096
  resource_pool_id = "${data.vsphere_resource_pool.pool.id}"
  datastore_id = "${data.vsphere_datastore.datastore.id}"

  guest_id = "${data.vsphere_virtual_machine.template.guest_id}"
  scsi_type = "${data.vsphere_virtual_machine.template.scsi_type}"

  network_interface {
  network_id = "${data.vsphere_network.network.id}"
    adapter_type = "${data.vsphere_virtual_machine.template.network_interface_types[0]}"

  disk {
    label = "disk0"
    size = "60"
    eagerly_scrub = "${data.vsphere_virtual_machine.template.disks.0.eagerly_scrub}"
    thin_provisioned = "${data.vsphere_virtual_machine.template.disks.0.thin_provisioned}"

  clone {
    template_uuid = "${data.vsphere_virtual_machine.template.id}"

    customize {
      linux_options {
        host_name = "puppet-demo"
        domain = "grt.local"

      network_interface {
        ipv4_address = ""
        ipv4_netmask = 24
      dns_server_list = [""]
      ipv4_gateway = ""

  provisioner "puppet" {
    server      = "grtpemaster01.grt.local"
    server_user = "root"
    autosign    = true
    open_source = false
    certname    = "puppet-demo.grt.local"
    extension_requests = {
      pp_role = "demo"
    connection {
      type = "ssh"
      host = "${self.default_ip_address}"
      user = "root"
      password = "${var.root_password}"

  provisioner "remote-exec" {
    when = "destroy"
    inline = [
      "puppet node purge puppet-demo.grt.local",
    connection {
      type = "ssh"
      host = "grtpemaster01.grt.local"
      user = "root"
      password = "${var.root_password}"

Initialize Terraform

With the Terraform code in place we need to initialize the current working directory to download all of the necessary plugins.

terraform init

Plan Terraform Run

Now that the Terraform has been initialized we can plan our Terraform run to see if there are any errors.

terraform plan

Apply Terraform

The next step once our plan was successful is to apply our Terraform code and validate that the Puppet provisioner worked.

terraform apply --auto-approve

Once the Terraform apply has completed successfully we should be able to see the new node in the Puppet Enterprise console.

Terraform Puppet provisioner node entry

Additionally we can see in the facts for the node that the “demo” role has been set for the pp_role fact we designated in our Terraform code.

Terraform Puppet provisioner trusted facts


Terraform Puppet Provisioner


Daniel Dreier Autosign Gem


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