2 min read

How to Deploy Your First ECS Instance on Alibaba Cloud Using Terraform

In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of deploying your first Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instance on Alibaba Cloud using Terraform. Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that allows you to provision and manage cloud resources predictably and efficiently.

This tutorial will walk you through the prerequisites, and the step-by-step guide, and include code snippets to help you get started.


  1. Alibaba Cloud Account: You need an Alibaba Cloud account. If you don't have one, sign up at https://www.alibabacloud.com/.
  2. Terraform: Install Terraform on your local machine. You can download it from https://www.terraform.io/downloads.html.
  3. Alibaba Cloud CLI: Install the Alibaba Cloud CLI (Command Line Interface) on your local machine. You can download it from https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/doc-detail/110244.htm.
  4. API Credentials: Obtain your Alibaba Cloud Access Key ID and Access Key Secret. You can find these in the Alibaba Cloud console under "Access Keys" in the "Security Credentials" section.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Configure the Alibaba Cloud Provider

Create a Terraform configuration file (e.g., main.tf) and configure the Alibaba Cloud provider with your credentials.

provider "alicloud" { access_key = "your_access_key_id" secret_key = "your_access_key_secret" region     = "your_region_id"}

2. Define the ECS Instance

Define the ECS instance in the same Terraform configuration file.

resource "alicloud_instance" "example" { image_id      = "your_image_id" instance_type = "your_instance_type" security_groups = ["your_security_group_id"] instance_name = "your_instance_name" vswitch_id = "your_vswitch_id"}

Replace "your_image_id", "your_instance_type", "your_security_group_id", "your_instance_name", and "your_vswitch_id" with your actual values.

3. Initialize Terraform

Open a terminal, navigate to the directory containing your main.tf file, and run:

terraform init

This command initializes Terraform and downloads the necessary provider plugins.

4. Apply the Terraform Configuration

Run the following command to create the ECS instance:

terraform apply

Confirm the action by typing yes when prompted.

5. Verify the Deployment

After the deployment is complete, you can verify it by logging into the Alibaba Cloud console and checking the ECS instances list.

Deploying your first ECS instance on Alibaba Cloud using Terraform is straightforward once you have the prerequisites in place. This guide provides a basic overview, but you can customize your Terraform configuration to suit your specific needs. Remember to replace placeholder values with your actual credentials and configurations.


Congratulations! You've successfully deployed your first ECS instance on Alibaba Cloud using Terraform. This tutorial provided a basic introduction to using Terraform with Alibaba Cloud. As you become more familiar with Terraform, you can explore more complex configurations, such as setting up a VPC, configuring load balancers, and deploying multi-tier applications.

Remember, the key to mastering Terraform is practice. Try creating different resources and configurations to get a feel for how Terraform works. Happy coding!