Build Systems that Drive Business
Sep 30–Oct 1, 2018: Training
Oct 1–3, 2018: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Lessons learned migrating to Terraform

Christian Monaghan ( | Nava PBC)
11:35am–12:15pm Tuesday, October 2, 2018
How We Built It
Location: Gramercy Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 3 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of cloud infrastructure and resource provisioning (e.g., standing up instances, load balancers, security groups, subnets, etc.)

What you'll learn

  • Learn how was migrated to Terraform


Terraform is a powerful open source tool that allows developers to manage cloud infrastructure as code. This empowers small teams to manage complex infrastructures that were typically the domain of specialized operations teams. However, this requires a new way of thinking about infrastructure design patterns. Whether you’re launching a new application or migrating a legacy system, the ability to spin up cloud infrastructure quickly while retaining flexibility, maintainability, and reuse is key.

Christian Monaghan explains how he and his team successfully migrated, America’s largest government website, to the cloud infrastructure provisioning tool Terraform, shares lessons learned along the way, and details how you can effectively use Terraform for your next project. Christian focuses specifically on the challenges he and his team faced and how they designed infrastructure provisioning with Terraform.

Topics include:

  • How to determine when Terraform is the appropriate tool
  • How to migrate live systems with zero downtime
  • How to import existing cloud infrastructure in place
  • How to design infrastructure patterns for reuse
  • How to structure Terraform code
  • How to create and manage Terraform modules
  • How to automate rollouts with CI/CD
  • How to test infrastructure changes
  • How to manage an AMI-based immutable infrastructure
Photo of Christian Monaghan

Christian Monaghan | Nava PBC

Christian Monaghan is the infrastructure lead for’s core systems and the cofounder of Nava PBC, a startup working across numerous federal agencies to radically improve how government serves people through technology. He lives in Washington, DC.

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Picture of Christian Monaghan
10/02/2018 9:23am EDT

I’ve made the slides available for download at

10/02/2018 7:54am EDT

Can you share a link to your slides?

Picture of Christian Monaghan
07/16/2018 7:39am EDT

Are there any particular topics you’d like me to address in my talk?