You'll need this swiss army knife for testing infrastructure code

Writing automated tests for your infrastructure code can be a breeze: Meet Terratest

Gabriela Motroc
© Shutterstock / Melnik

It’s hardly a secret that maintaining a large codebase of infrastructure code is not the easiest or most pleasant task. That said, this Go library might come in handy since it offers a variety of helper functions and patterns for common infrastructure testing tasks.

Infrastructure as code (IaC) tools are a blessing and a curse; they surely have their benefits but maintaining a large codebase of infrastructure code can be a challenge. Not to mention that this is basically the textbook definition of the butterfly effect: changes (as insignificant as they might seem) to infrastructure code might lead to severe bugs.

If you want to face your fears and stop being afraid of making changes to your infrastructure code, you’ll need Terratest, a Go library which promises to make it easier to write automated tests for your infrastructure code.

It provides helper functions and patterns for common infrastructure testing tasks such as:

  • Testing Terraform code
  • Testing Packer templates
  • Testing Docker images
  • Executing commands on servers over SSH
  • Working with AWS APIs
  • Making HTTP requests
  • Running shell commands
  • and the list goes on.

As Yevgeniy Brikman, co-founder of Gruntwork, the company behind Terratest, wrote in a recent blog post, this library is “worth the effort because these tests can run after every commit and verify that the code works as expected, thereby giving you the confidence to make the code changes you need.” The good news is that Terratest is now open source [under the Apache 2.0 license]. You can find it on GitHub.

Get started with Terratest

First things first: install Go.

To add Terratest to your projects, you should use a Go dependency manager such as dep:

dep ensure -add

Alternatively, you can use go get:

go get

SEE ALSO: Developers aiming for microservices success want a Swiss army knife rather than a hammer

Basic usage pattern for writing automated tests with Terratest

  1. Write tests using Go’s built-in package testing: you create a file ending in _test.go and run tests with the go test command. E.g., go test my_test.go.
  2. Use Terratest to execute your real IaC tools (e.g., Terraform, Packer, etc.) to deploy real infrastructure (e.g., servers) in a real environment (e.g., AWS).
  3. Use the tools built into Terratest to validate that the infrastructure works correctly in that environment by making HTTP requests, API calls, SSH connections, etc.
  4. Undeploy everything at the end of the test.

You might want to check the testing beta practices guide before you take Terratest for a spin. 

Last but not least, this repo follows the principles of Semantic Versioning. All the new releases can be found in the Releases Page.

During initial development, the major version will be 0 (e.g., 0.x.y), which means that the code does not yet have a stable API. Once Terratest hits 1.0.0, the team will try to maintain a backwards compatible API and use the MAJOR, MINOR, and PATCH versions on each release to indicate any incompatibilities.

PS: Rob Morgan, CTO & Founder of Brightfame, took a closer look and added tests to his Rolling Deploys on AWS using Terraform project. Here’s how you can test your Terraform project with Terratest.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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Rob Morgan
Rob Morgan
4 years ago

Hi Gabriela,

Nice article! I went into a bit more detail on the specifics of actually writing a few tests on my blog: It might be of value for any other readers.



3 years ago

It is an nice experience to read your blog . It is awesome source of information.Thanks for sharing such brilliant information. The blog post is very helpful. All the Best and thanks for sharing this article!

3 years ago

May i know the steps to install terra test in windows