What's the best way to create a droplet with block storage using Terraform and Ansible?


I’m in the process of automating my infrastructure on DO.

I have all droplets and volumes created using terraform, and I’m also using user data during the provisioning for things like defining base packages, creating users and some other services like ssh.

I also have ansible playbooks for all droplets that install and configure the services, like mongo, nginx, etc…

Now I’m faced with a decision that I don’t know how to make.

I want to mount a volume to a droplet. Terrafrom creates and assigns the volume but does not mount it.

So I can either use the user data option and try to script that mount point or include this in the ansible playbook.

Can anyone tell me the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches? Or if there’s another one that I did not consider?

For me this is infrastructure, so terraform makes more sense, but doing conditionals (like only format if no partition) on user data does not seem right, and I don’t want to use provisioners in terraform (sinse that’s ansible’s role).

Thanks in advance for any insight that you can give me

Submit an answer

This textbox defaults to using Markdown to format your answer.

You can type !ref in this text area to quickly search our full set of tutorials, documentation & marketplace offerings and insert the link!

Sign In or Sign Up to Answer

These answers are provided by our Community. If you find them useful, show some love by clicking the heart. If you run into issues leave a comment, or add your own answer to help others.

Andrew SB
DigitalOcean Employee
DigitalOcean Employee badge
September 5, 2019
Accepted Answer

Your approach to using Terraform for provisioning infrastructure and Ansible for config management is the right way to think about it. Luckily Terraform should be able to do what you’d like. Pre-formatted volumes created via the API will be automatically mounted to the Droplet. So the key thing is to specify the initial_filesystem_type when creating the volume with Terraform. For example, using this config:

resource "digitalocean_droplet" "foo" {
  name       = "foo"
  size       = "s-1vcpu-1gb"
  image      = "ubuntu-18-04-x64"
  region     = "nyc1"

resource "digitalocean_volume" "bar" {
  region                  = "nyc1"
  name                    = "bar"
  size                    = 100
  initial_filesystem_type = "ext4"
  description             = "an example volume"

resource "digitalocean_volume_attachment" "foobar" {
  droplet_id = "${}"
  volume_id  = "${}"

The resulting volume will be mounted and available at /mnt/bar/ on the Droplet.

If you do not specify the initial_filesystem_type the volume will appear as a raw block device that must be manually formatted and mounted.

Try DigitalOcean for free

Click below to sign up and get $200 of credit to try our products over 60 days!

Sign up

Featured on Community

Get our biweekly newsletter

Sign up for Infrastructure as a Newsletter.

Hollie's Hub for Good

Working on improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth? We'd like to help.

Become a contributor

Get paid to write technical tutorials and select a tech-focused charity to receive a matching donation.

Welcome to the developer cloud

DigitalOcean makes it simple to launch in the cloud and scale up as you grow — whether you're running one virtual machine or ten thousand.

Learn more
DigitalOcean Cloud Control Panel