Terraform and Active Directory

I have worked a lot with AD during the past years mostly with powershell. This time I needed to create a AD computer object with terraform and started to look into how to setup terraform AD provider.

First you need to configure the provider. I am running terraform on my non domain joined laptop. Terraform needs winrm access to a domain joined server with Active directory powershell modules installed. It’s important to use capital letters in all FQDNs for kerberos to work both in provider.tf and krb5.conf.


provider "ad" {
  winrm_hostname         = "SERVER.HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM"
  winrm_username         = var.aduser
  winrm_password         = var.adpassword
  winrm_port             = 5986
  winrm_proto            = "https"
  winrm_pass_credentials = true
  krb_realm              = "HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM"
  krb_conf               = "krb5.conf"
  krb_spn                = "SERVER"
  winrm_insecure         = true

We also need to create krb5.conf in order to set up kerberos authentication

   default_realm = HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM
   dns_lookup_realm = false
   dns_lookup_kdc = false

        kdc     =   DC01.HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM
        admin_server = DC01.HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM
        default_domain = HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM
        master_kdc = DC01.HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM

    .kerberos.server = HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM
    .homelab.domain.com = HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM
    homelab.domain.com = HOMELAB.DOMAIN.COM

Now the provider should be configured and ready to use. Next step is to create a AD computer object in main.tf.

resource "ad_computer" "c" {
  name        = "test01"
  container   = "OU=Servers,OU=Stockholm,OU=SWE,DC=homelab,DC=domain,DC=com"
  description = "My TF AD object"

To test the code run terraform apply -var aduser=adadmin -var adpassword=secretpw123
and wait for output.and type yes if everything seems fine.

Now we have a new computer object in AD managed with terraform.

Next thing I wanted to test was a bit more complex. I wanted to create a OU structure with several sub OUs for each office. In powershell you can solve it with a nested foreach loop.

$sites = ("Malmo", "Ystad", "Karlstad")
$subOU = ("Servers","Computers","Groups","Users")

foreach ($site in $sites){
    New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name $site -Description "My office in $($site)" -Path "OU=SWE,DC=homelab,DC=domain,DC=com"
    foreach ($ou in $subOU){
        New-ADOrganizationalUnit -Name $ou -Description "OU for $($ou)" -Path "OU=$($site),OU=SWE,DC=homelab,DC=domain,DC=com"

In terraform we need to create two variables as lists. One containing each office and one with our sub OUs. We also use locals to combine them with the setproduct function.

variable "sites" {
  type = list
  default = ["Malmo", "Ystad", "Karlstad"]

variable "siteOUs" {
  type = list
  default = ["Servers", "Users", "Groups", "Computers"]

locals {
  ous = setproduct(var.sites, var.siteOUs)

In order to get this to work we first need to create all Office OUs with for_each and our variable sites. For all sub OUs we use our locals named ous as a source and loops trough all combinations that we created with setproduct. We pick the name from the second array and a part of the path from the first array containing office names. Note that we make sure all office OUs are created first with depends_on.

resource "ad_ou" "ou" { 
  for_each = toset(var.sites)
    name = each.value
    path = "OU=SWE,DC=homelab,DC=domain,DC=com"
    description = "OU for ${each.value} Office"
    protected = false

resource "ad_ou" "o" {
  for_each = {
    for o in local.ous : "${o[0]}-${o[1]}" => {
      name = o[1]
      path = "OU=${o[0]},OU=SWE,DC=homelab,DC=domain,DC=com"
      description = "OU for ${o[1]} in ${o[0]} Office"

  name        = each.value.name
  path        = each.value.path
  description = each.value.description
  protected   = false

    depends_on = [

This is the final result i AD console. I learned a lot while figure out how to solve this in terraform.

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