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Getting Shell Access

The shell environment

When launching a Terraform shell, Leverage provides the user with a completely isolated environment tailored to operate in the current project via a Docker container.

The whole project is mounted on a directory named after the value for project_long in the global configuration file, or simply named "project" if this value is not defined. A project named myexample, would be mounted in /myexample.

The .gitconfig user's file is also mounted on /etc/gitconfig for convenience, while (if ssh-agent is running), the socket stated in SSH_AUTH_SOCK is mounted on /ssh-agent. Also, the credentials files (credentials and config) found in the project AWS credentials directory (~/.aws/myexample), are mapped to the locations given by the environment variables AWS_SHARED_CREDENTIALS_FILE and AWS_CONFIG_FILE respectively within the container.


Determining which credentials are needed to operate on a layer, and retrieving those credentials, may prove cumbersome for many complex layer definitions. In addition to that, correctly configuring them can also become a tedious an error prone process. For that reason Leverage automates this process upon launching the shell if requested by the user via the shell command options.

Bear in mind, that an authenticated shell session's credentials are obtained for the layer in which the session was launched. These credentials may not be valid for other layers in which different roles need to be assumed or require more permissions.

Multi-Factor authentication

leverage terraform shell --mfa

If MFA authentication is required, Leverage will prompt the user for the required tokens for the layer or use the cached credentials if still valid.

The user's programmatic keys must be configured beforehand via leverage credentials configure command.

Single-Sign On

If authentication via SSO is required, the user will need to configure or login into SSO before launching the shell via

leverage terraform shell --sso

Operations on the project's layer

In order to operate in a project's layer, Terraform commands such as plan or apply will need to receive extra parameters providing the location of the files that contain the definition of the variables required by the layer. Usually, these files are:

  • the project global configuration file common.tfvars
  • the account configuration file account.tfvars
  • the terraform backend configuration file backend.tfvars

In this case these parameters should take the form:

-var-file=/myexample/config/common.tfvars -var-file=/myexample/account/config/account.tfvars -var-file=/myexample/account/config/backend.tfvars`

Relative paths can prove useful when providing these locations. A layer definition may require more than just these files.

So, for example, to apply changes on a standard Leverage Reference Architecture layer, the complete command would be:

terraform apply -var-file=../../../config/common.tfvars -var-file=../../config/account.tfvars -var-file=../../config/backend.tfvars
However, when initializing Terraform different parameters are needed, so it should be run as:
terraform init -backend-config=../../config/backend.tfvars