Deploy an AWS EC2 instance using TerraForm

Recently, I needed to create a test VM to play around with a POC. I figured why not use TerraForm to recreate a test VM with a pre-set configuration each time rather than having to do it through GUI over multiple click of buttons.


  • Install Terraform on your machine (Will cover the basics on how to do it in another post). However, you have plenty of tutorials online on how to do that. Pretty straight forward.
  • You will need to do the following step only once. Go to AWS console, create an IAM user with access to deploy EC2 instance. Store the access_key and secret_key in a file named “credentials” without a .txt extension
  • Create a folder named “.aws” and copy credentials file to this newly created folder. On my machine, I created it under C:/Users/username/.aws/


  1. Open Git Bash, navigate to the folder where you will store the terraform code (example: C:\Users\username\Documents\Github\terraform). You can pretty store your code anywhere. Above is just my example.
  2. Create file named (You will define the region where you would like to deploy your EC2 instance)
#Variable for AZ
variable "availability_zone" {
    type = string
    default = "us-east-1a"

3. Next, create a file named (You will define the infrastructure piece here)

provider "aws" {
	region = "us-east-1"

#AWS Instance
resource "aws_instance" "example" {
    ami =
    instance_type = "t2.micro"
    availability_zone = var.availability_zone
  lifecycle {
    ignore_changes = [ami]

#AMI Filter for Windows Server 2019 Base
data "aws_ami" "windows" {
  most_recent = true

  filter {
    name   = "name"
    values = ["Windows_Server-2019-English-Full-Base-*"]

  filter {
    name   = "virtualization-type"
    values = ["hvm"]

  owners = ["801119661308"] # Canonical

#EBS Volume and Attachment

#resource "aws_ebs_volume" "example" {
 # availability_zone = var.availability_zone
  #size              = 30

#resource "aws_volume_attachment" "ebs_att" {
 # device_name = "/dev/sdh"
  #volume_id   =
  #instance_id =

4. Once you have the .tf files in place, run the below command to install the necessary plugins. It will download the highlighted folder below.

terraform init

5. After this, run the below statement to show the deployment plan

terraform plan

6. This will allow you to review all the items that terraform is going to create for you. I did have an issue with reaching aws sometimes. Error is shown below as an example:

7. Once everything looks good, run the following to create the EC2 instance. type “yes” upon receiving a prompt

terraform apply

8. If you ever need to destroy the VM you created, run the following:

terraform destroy --target aws_instance.example

I named my VM as example in the code above. You will need to provide the name of your VM that is applicable on your end.

That is all there is to create an EC2 instance using terraform. You can also adjust the code to deploy more than one instances. The above is a very simple example.

My next idea is to use terraform to deploy EC2 instance, and then use something like dbatools or powershell to download and install SQL server on it without ever logging into the VM.

9. If you ever would like to reproduce the above result, you can save the plan using the command below:

terraform apply -out=exampleEC2.plan
#Use the below to apply the saved plan
terraform apply "exampleEC2.plan"

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