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Roger Filomeno
Roger Filomeno

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Importing Existing AWS Infrastructure to Terraform

We all know about Terraform, the leading Infrastructure as Code platform, however what will you do if you already built the infrastructure? How will you still be able to leverage Terraform without needing to rewrite hundreds of definitions from scratch. As of this time in writing there is no existing way to import all resources at once using Terraform:

The terraform import command is used to import existing infrastructure.

The command currently can only import one resource at a time. This means you can't yet point Terraform import to an entire collection of resources such as an AWS VPC and import all of it. This workflow will be improved in a future version of Terraform.


Thats where Terraformer comes useful: A CLI tool that generates tf/json and tfstate files based on existing infrastructure (reverse Terraform). On this guide we will be using Terraformer and Terraform in Windows to show you all the fixes for the quirks installation.

Installation of Terraformer

Installation of Terraform

  • For Windows using Chocolatey
    • Install as admininstrator choco install terraform


  • Create the C:\Users\USERNAME\.aws\config with the following content:
region = ap-southeast-2
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  • Create the C:\Users\USERNAME\.aws\credentials withh th following content:
aws_access_key_id = XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
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Creating an Import Plan

  • Execute terraform init where file is loccated, add flag -reconfigure if updating versions of the provider plugins.
  • Execute terraformer plan aws --output hcl --resources="*" --verbose to create an import plan saved at .\generated\aws\terraformer\plan.json for all resources located at AWS default region.

Importing using Terraformer

  • Execute terraformer import plan .\generated\aws\terraformer\plan.json to begin importing the resources information and storing their states.

Validating/Applying changes with Terraform

  • Change to the generated direvtory such as .\generated\aws\dynamodb
  • Execute terraform state replace-provider -- -/aws hashicorp/aws to update provider in state file.
  • Execute terraform init to reinitialize.
  • Execute terraform validate to check errors in the configuration under this directory.
  • Execute terraform plan to check for changes or terraform apply to plan and apply changes


I'm happy to receive a feedback from Jacob Schulz (DevOps Community Manager @ Spacelift) pointing out that this guide doesn't explain much about terraform import which will allow you to import existing resources as well, Terraformer basically serves as a wrapper for the bulk operations.

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