Knowledge Base  /  Cloud Application Manager  /  Automating Deployments
Knowledge Base  /  Cloud Application Manager  /  Automating Deployments

Terraform Template Boxes

Updated by Amalia Garcia de Mirasierra and Guillermo Sanchez and Gavin Lai on Feb 01, 2021
Article Code: kb/1186

In this article:


This article is meant to assist users of Cloud Application Manager willing to use Cloud Application Manager template boxes to create or edit Terraform version 0.11 templates.


All users of Cloud Application Manager who wants to define and use Terraform Template Boxes.


Create a Terraform Template and apply configuration

The Terraform Template box consists mainly on a list of template files where you describe all the cloud resources you need to run your application. Cloud Application Manager parses the templates and automatically shows input parameters under a section called Variables. This enables you to customize a template easily.

We use a sample Basic Two-Tier Architecture in Google Cloud with Terraform templates to show how to create and launch a Terraform box template in Cloud Application Manager.

Cloud Application Manager currently supports Terraform configuration version 0.11 and 0.12.

Step 1. Create the template

  1. Log in to Cloud Application Manager.

  2. Click Boxes > New > Template > Terraform Template. Give the box a meaningful name to identify it in the box service catalog. Specify other metadata.

    New Terraform template box

  3. In the box, select New in Templates, under Code tab.

    Select Terraform template file

    • Blank Template. Develop one from scratch. When you save, you have a blank template you can start authoring. Configuration files with extensions .tf, .tf.json and .auto.tfvars are allowed.

    • File. Upload an existing template. When you save, the contents of the file are available in the template. You can upload one up to 1MB in size.

    • Import from URL. Upload an existing template. When you save, the contents of the file are available in the template. You can upload one up to 1MB in size.
      It's also supported specify a GitHub public repository URL to import all the Terraform configuration files located into the repository in a single step.

    Note: When you import from a file or a URL, make sure its content is formatted in Terraform format (HCL or JSON syntax) and follows the Terraform template conventions.

    In this walkthrough, we import a sample Basic Two-Tier Architecture in Google Cloud templates from a GitHub repository URL. When we save, all the Terraform configuration files from the repository URL are ported over.

Step 2. Author the template

  1. Start importing sample Basic Two-Tier Architecture in Google Cloud templates and click the pencil of some Terraform files to modify.

    Edit Terraform template file

    Note: For more information on creating Terraform configuration templates, please refer to the official documentation.

  2. Customize parameters. Although optional, if you have them in the template, they’re automatically shown under Variables. You can customize several parameters as in this example.

    Terraform version variables
    Terraform template box variables

    Variables in Terraform boxes:

    • Bindings have a special use and are explained later in this walkthrough.

    • Variables imported from a template are always required at deploy time even if you don’t flag them as such in the box. Since they must contain values at launch time, you can set a default value when creating them or supply them at deploy time.

    • The text variables can be parametrized through Jinja, for example, to use binding information. See more documentation about this here.

    • Terraform local modules are supported adding box type variables to the Terraform Box.
      Box variables added to your Terraform box will be automatically available on your template as Local modules named as the variable name.
      Once a Tarreform box
      is added as a variable, it will be available on your templates. Cloud Application Manager will add to the Terraform environmnet, on deployment time, the Terraform module section so you don't need to add it in your files. Anyway you could reference it on your outputs for example:

      • value = "${module.TWO_TIER_MODULE.pool_public_ip}"

      Terraform module through a Box variable

    • The file variable is a useful way to include a script that you want to use to provision your machines, or keys for your resources. When you add a file variable, Cloud Application Manager stores it on a secure server and it will add the file to the Terraform environment. The file variable will contain the file path in the Terraform environment so it could be used in your configuration files. Examples:

      • ssh-keys = "root:${file("${var.public_key_file}")}"
      • source = "${var.install_script}"
    • Deployment policy configuration as variables: When a Terraform box is deployed on Google or Amazon provider, the location selected on the Policy box is available as Terraform variables to be used in templates:

      • Variables available on Google: ${var.provider_google_region} and ${var.provider_google_zone}
      • Variables available on Amazon: ${var.provider_aws_region}

Note: As you’re authoring, it’s important to check that the template is valid. While Cloud Application Manager validates the correctness of format and the template syntax correctness, we can’t know whether resources specified are available in the provider used or whether property values of a resource are valid. For that level of checking, it’s best to test launch the Terraform box instance from Cloud Application Manager and refine the template in real-time.

Auto-register compute instances into Managed Services Anywhere Enabled Providers

If you are deploying an Terraform template box into a Managed Services Anywhere enabled provider, all the created compute instances (virtual machines, VMs) will be automatically registered and linked with the Terraform instance that deployed them. The vApp containing the VM will also be tagged with any Cloud Tag that has been set in the the organization settings.

Please note that for the auto-registration process to complete, a restart of the VM will be performed once it is provisioned.

In the auto-registered instances, not all lifecycle actions will be allowed, since for the rest of them you will need to act on the parent Terraform instance for the dependant linked instances to be updated.

For more information, please refer to Managed Providers

Update a Terraform configuration in Real-Time

Once live, you can continue to make changes to your Terraform configuration templates from the instance lifecycle editor and test in real-time. Follow these steps.


  1. Log in to Cloud Application Manager.

  2. Click Instances and select the Terraform instance you want to update.

  3. On the instance page, click Lifecycle Editor.

  4. Update the template configuration files and apply configurations. You can change any section of the Terraform template files or rewrite it entirely. When ready to apply the configuration with Terraform, click Reconfigure.

    Note: there are some update operations that are destructive in Terraform. For example, changing the customization script of a VM will cause it to be destroyed and re-created when performing the Reconfigure operation.

  5. (Optional) Push updates back to the Terraform box. When you’re satisfied changing and testing the template files in the instance, you can push it back to the Terraform box as a version. To do this, click New under Versions tabs. This allows you or others in the future to choose a version that best suits your deployment.

Getting General Support

Customers can contact the Lumen Global Operations Support center (support desk) directly for getting help with Cloud Application Manager as well as any other supported product that they’ve subscribed to. Below are three ways to get help.


  1. Phone: 888-638-6771

  2. Email:

  3. Create Ticket in Cloud Application Manager: Directly within the platform, users can “Create Ticket” by clicking on the “?” symbol in upper right corner near the users log-in profile icon. This takes users directly to the Managed Servicers Portal where they can open, track and review status of issues that have been raised with the support desk. Additionally, this is how a TAM can be engaged as well.


  1. Provide your name
  2. Cloud Application Manager account name
  3. A brief description of your request or issue for case recording purposes

The support desk will escalate the information to the Primary TAM and transfer the call if desired.