Manage cluster with Terraform

Use Terraform to manage EKS Anywhere Clusters

NOTE: Support for using Terraform to manage and modify an EKS Anywhere cluster is available for vSphere, Snow, Bare metal, Nutanix and CloudStack clusters.

Using Terraform to manage an EKS Anywhere Cluster (Optional)

This guide explains how you can use Terraform to manage and modify an EKS Anywhere cluster. The guide is meant for illustrative purposes and is not a definitive approach to building production systems with Terraform and EKS Anywhere.

At its heart, EKS Anywhere is a set of Kubernetes CRDs, which define an EKS Anywhere cluster, and a controller, which moves the cluster state to match these definitions. These CRDs, and the EKS-A controller, live on the management cluster or on a self-managed cluster. We can manage a subset of the fields in the EKS Anywhere CRDs with any tool that can interact with the Kubernetes API, like kubectl or, in this case, the Terraform Kubernetes provider.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to import your EKS Anywhere cluster into Terraform state and how to scale your EKS Anywhere worker nodes using the Terraform Kubernetes provider.


  • An existing EKS Anywhere cluster

  • the latest version of Terraform

  • the latest version of tfk8s , a tool for converting Kubernetes manifest files to Terraform HCL


  1. Create an EKS-A management cluster, or a self-managed stand-alone cluster.
  1. Set up the Terraform Kubernetes provider Make sure your KUBECONFIG environment variable is set

    export KUBECONFIG=/path/to/my/kubeconfig.kubeconfig

    Set an environment variable with your cluster name:

    export MY_EKSA_CLUSTER="myClusterName"
    cat << EOF > ./
    provider "kubernetes" {
      config_path    = "${KUBECONFIG}"
  2. Get tfk8s and use it to convert your EKS Anywhere cluster Kubernetes manifest into Terraform HCL:

    • Install tfk8s
    • Convert the manifest into Terraform HCL:
    kubectl get cluster ${MY_EKSA_CLUSTER} -o yaml | tfk8s --strip -o ${MY_EKSA_CLUSTER}.tf
  3. Configure the Terraform cluster resource definition generated in step 2

    • Set metadata.generation as a computed field . Add the following to your cluster resource configuration
    computed_fields = ["metadata.generation"]
    field_manager {
      force_conflicts = true
    • Add the namespace to the metadata of the cluster
    • Remove the generation field from the metadata of the cluster
    • Your Terraform cluster resource should look similar to this:
    computed_fields = ["metadata.generation"]
    field_manager {
      force_conflicts = true
    manifest = {
      "apiVersion" = ""
      "kind" = "Cluster"
      "metadata" = {
        "name" = "MyClusterName"
        "namespace" = "default"
  4. Import your EKS Anywhere cluster into terraform state:

    terraform init
    terraform import kubernetes_manifest.cluster_${MY_EKSA_CLUSTER} ",kind=Cluster,namespace=default,name=${MY_EKSA_CLUSTER}"

    After you import your cluster, you will need to run terraform apply one time to ensure that the manifest field of your cluster resource is in-sync. This will not change the state of your cluster, but is a required step after the initial import. The manifest field stores the contents of the associated kubernetes manifest, while the object field stores the actual state of the resource.

  5. Modify Your Cluster using Terraform

    • Modify the count value of one of your workerNodeGroupConfigurations, or another mutable field, in the configuration stored in ${MY_EKSA_CLUSTER}.tf file.
    • Check the expected diff between your cluster state and the modified local state via terraform plan

    You should see in the output that the worker node group configuration count field (or whichever field you chose to modify) will be modified by Terraform.

  6. Now, actually change your cluster to match the local configuration:

    terraform apply
  7. Observe the change to your cluster. For example:

    kubectl get nodes

Manage separate workload clusters using Terraform

Follow these steps if you want to use your initial cluster to create and manage separate workload clusters via Terraform.

NOTE: If you choose to manage your cluster using Terraform, do not use kubectl to edit your cluster objects as this can lead to field manager conflicts.


  • An existing EKS Anywhere cluster imported into Terraform state. If your existing cluster is not yet imported, see this guide. .
  • A cluster configuration file for your new workload cluster.

Create cluster using Terraform

  1. Create the new cluster configuration Terraform file.

       tfk8s -f new-workload-cluster.yaml -o

    NOTE: Specify the namespace for all EKS Anywhere objects when you are using Terraform to manage your clusters (even for the default namespace, use "namespace" = "default" on those objects).

    Ensure workload cluster object names are distinct from management cluster object names. Be sure to set the managementCluster field to identify the name of the management cluster.

  2. Ensure that this new Terraform workload cluster configuration exists in the same directory as the management cluster Terraform files.

    ├──  ... 
  3. Verify the changes to be applied:

    terraform plan
  4. If the plan looks as expected, apply those changes to create the new cluster resources:

    terraform apply
  5. You can list the workload clusters managed by the management cluster.

    export KUBECONFIG=${PWD}/${MGMT_CLUSTER_NAME}/${MGMT_CLUSTER_NAME}-eks-a-cluster.kubeconfig
    kubectl get clusters
  6. Check the state of a cluster using kubectl to show the cluster object with its status.

    The status field on the cluster object field holds information about the current state of the cluster.

    kubectl get clusters w01 -o yaml

    The cluster has been fully upgraded once the status of the Ready condition is marked True. See the cluster status guide for more information.

  7. The kubeconfig for your new cluster is stored as a secret on the management cluster. You can get the workload cluster credentials and run the test application on your new workload cluster as follows:

    kubectl get secret -n eksa-system w01-kubeconfig -o jsonpath='{.data.value}' | base64 --decode > w01.kubeconfig
    export KUBECONFIG=w01.kubeconfig
    kubectl apply -f ""

Upgrade cluster using Terraform

  1. To upgrade a workload cluster using Terraform, modify the desired fields in the Terraform resource file. As an example, to upgrade a cluster with version 1.24 to 1.25 you would modify your Terraform cluster resource:

     manifest = {
       "apiVersion" = ""
       "kind" = "Cluster"
       "metadata" = {
         "name" = "MyClusterName"
         "namespace" = "default"
       "spec" = {
         "kubernetesVersion" = "1.25"

    NOTE: If you have a custom machine image for your nodes you may also need to update your MachineConfig with a new template.

  2. Apply those changes:

    terraform apply

For a comprehensive list of upgradeable fields for VSphere, Snow, and Nutanix, see the upgradeable attributes section .

Delete cluster using Terraform

  1. To delete a workload cluster using Terraform, you will need the name of the Terraform cluster resource. This can be found on the first line of your cluster resource definition.
    terraform destroy --target kubernetes_manifest.cluster_w01


Terraform K8s Provider