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Deploying Fleet on AWS with Terraform


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Ben Edwards

Deploying Fleet on AWS with Terraform

There are many ways to deploy Fleet. Last time, we looked at deploying Fleet on Render. This time, we’re going to deploy Fleet on AWS with Terraform IaC (infrastructure as code).

Deploying on AWS with Fleet’s reference architecture will get you a fully functional Fleet instance that can scale to your needs


  • AWS CLI installed and configured.
  • Terraform installed (version 1.04 or greater)
  • AWS Account and IAM user capable of creating resources
  • Clone Fleet or copy the Terraform files


To bootstrap our remote state resources, we’ll create a S3 bucket and DynamoDB table using the values defined in remote-state/ We'll override the prefix terraform variable to get unique resources and the region variable to use the same region set in the AWS CLI (you can run aws configure get region to see what region is set).

From the /remote-state directory, run:

  1. terraform init
  2. terraform workspace new <your_org>-fleet-remote-state
  3. terraform apply -var prefix="<your_org>-fleet" -var region="<region>"

You should be able to see all the resources that Terraform will create — the S3 bucket and the dynamodb table:

Plan: 3 to add, 0 to change, 0 to destroy.

Do you want to perform these actions in workspace "dev"?

Terraform will perform the actions described above.

Only 'yes' will be accepted to approve.
Enter a value:

After typing yes you should have a new S3 bucket named <your_org>-fleet-terraform-remote-state And the table <your_org>-fleet-terraform-state-lock. Keep these handy because we’ll need them in the following steps.

You may see a warning during this process. It is safe to ignore.

Now that the remote state is configured, we can move on to setting up the infrastructure for Fleet.


Next, we’ll update the terraform setup in the /aws directory's to use the S3 Bucket and DynamoDB created above:

terraform {
  // bootstrapped in ./remote-state
  backend "s3" {
    bucket         = "<your_org>-fleet-terraform-remote-state"
    region         = "<region>"
    key            = "<your_org>-fleet"
    dynamodb_table = "<your_org>-fleet-terraform-state-lock"
  required_providers {
    aws = {
      source  = "hashicorp/aws"
      version = "3.57.0"

We’ll also need a tfvars file to make some environment-specific variable overrides. Create a file in the /aws directory named prod.tfvars, and copy/paste the variables below:

prefix                    = "<your_org>-fleet-prod"
fleet_backend_cpu         = 1024
fleet_backend_mem         = 4096 //software inventory requires 4GB
redis_instance            = "cache.t3.micro"
fleet_min_capacity        = 0
fleet_max_capacity        = 0
domain_fleetdm            = "<your_fleet_domain>"
software_inventory        = "1"
vulnerabilities_path      = "/fleet/vuln"
osquery_results_s3_bucket = "<your_org>-fleet-prod-osquery-results-archive"
osquery_status_s3_bucket  = "<your_org>-fleet-prod-osquery-status-archive"

Feel free to use whatever values you would like for the osquery_results_s3_bucket and osquery_status_s3_bucket. Just keep in mind that they need to be unique across AWS. We're setting the initial capacity for fleet to 0 to prevent the fleet service from attempting to start until setup is complete.

Now we’re ready to apply the terraform. From the /aws directory, Run:

  1. terraform init
  2. terraform workspace new <your_org>-fleet-prod
  3. terraform apply --var-file=prod.tfvars

You should see the planned output, and you will need to confirm the creation. Review this output, and type yes when you are ready.

During this process, terraform will create a hosted zone with an NS record for your domain and request a certificate from AWS Certificate Manager (ACM). While the process is running, you'll need to add the NS records to your domain as well.

Let’s say we own and have an ACM certificate issued to it. We want to host Fleet at so in this case, we’ll need to hand nameserver authority over to before ACM will verify via DNS and issue the certificate. To make this work, we need to create an NS record on, and put the same NS records that get created after terraform creates the hosted zone.

Route 53 QueryOps Hosted Zone

Once terraform apply finishes you should see output similar to:

acm_certificate_arn = "arn:aws:acm:us-east-2:123169442427:certificate/b2845034-d4e1-4ff2-9630-1c93feaf2185"
aws_alb_name = "fleetdm"
aws_alb_target_group_name = "fleetdm"
backend_security_group = "arn:aws:ec2:us-east-2:123169442427:security-group/sg-00c9fa9632d7e03ca"
fleet-backend-task-revision = 5
fleet-migration-task-revision = 4
fleet_ecs_cluster_arn = "arn:aws:ecs:us-east-2:123169442427:cluster/fleet-backend"
fleet_ecs_cluster_id = "arn:aws:ecs:us-east-2:123169442427:cluster/fleet-backend"
fleet_ecs_service_name = "fleet"
fleet_min_capacity = 2
load_balancer_arn_suffix = "app/fleetdm/3427efb8c09088be"
mysql_cluster_members = toset([
nameservers_fleetdm = tolist([
private_subnets = [
redis_cluster_members = toset([
target_group_arn_suffix = "targetgroup/fleetdm/0f3bec83c8b02f58"

We'll need some of these values in the next step.

Prepare the database

Now all we need to do is prepare the database for use. We'll run an AWS ECS Task that will migrate the database and prepare it for use.

aws ecs run-task --cluster fleet-backend --task-definition fleet-migrate:<latest_migration_version> --launch-type FARGATE --network-configuration "awsvpcConfiguration={subnets=[<private_subnet_id>],securityGroups=[<desired_security_group>]}"

Where <migration_version> is fleet-migration-task-revision, <private_subnet_id> is one of the private subnets, and <desired_security_group> is the security group from the previous output.

For the example output from terraform apply in the previous step, the command would look like this:

aws ecs run-task --cluster fleet-backend --task-definition fleet-migrate:4 --launch-type FARGATE --network-configuration "awsvpcConfiguration={subnets=[subnet-03a54736c942cd1e4],securityGroups=[sg-00c9fa9632d7e03ca]}"

Running this command will kick off the migration task, and Fleet will be ready to go.

AWS Console ECS Clusters

At this point, you can go to your Fleet domain and start using Fleet.

Start the Fleet service

Now that Fleet has everything it needs, we're ready to start the service.

First, we'll need to edit our production variables to increase Fleet's capacity and allow the service to start. In the prod.tvars file, update fleet_min_capacity and fleet_max_capacity:

prefix                    = "<your_org>-fleet-prod"
fleet_backend_cpu         = 1024
fleet_backend_mem         = 4096 //software inventory requires 4GB
redis_instance            = "cache.t3.micro"
fleet_min_capacity        = 1
fleet_max_capacity        = 5
domain_fleetdm            = "<your_fleet_domain>"
software_inventory        = "1"
vulnerabilities_path      = "/fleet/vuln"
osquery_results_s3_bucket = "<your_org>-fleet-prod-osquery-results-archive"
osquery_status_s3_bucket  = "<your_org>-fleet-prod-osquery-status-archive"

Then apply the updates:

terraform apply --var-file=prod.tfvars

Once the process completes, your Fleet instance is ready to use! Check out the documentation for more details on using Fleet.


Setting up all the required infrastructure to run a dedicated web service in AWS can be a daunting task. The Fleet team’s goal is to provide a solid base to build from. As most AWS environments have their own specific needs and requirements, this base is intended to be modified and tailored to your specific needs.

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