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Deploying Machine ID on AWS

This guide explains how to deploy Machine ID on Amazon Web Services by running the tbot binary and joining it to your Teleport cluster.

On AWS, virtual machines can be assigned an IAM role, which they can assume in order to request a signed document that includes information about the machine. The Teleport iam join method instructs the Machine ID bot to request this signed document from AWS using the assigned identity and send it to the Teleport Auth Service for verification. This allows the bot to join the cluster without the exchange of a long-lived secret.

While this guide focuses on deploying Machine ID on an EC2 instance, it is also possible to use the iam join method with workloads running on an EKS Kubernetes cluster. To do so, you must configure IAM Roles for Service Accounts (IRSA) for the cluster and the Kubernetes service account that will be used by the tbot pod. See the Kubernetes platform guide for further guidance on deploying Machine ID as a workload on Kubernetes.


  • A running Teleport cluster version 15.3.7 or above. If you want to get started with Teleport, sign up for a free trial or set up a demo environment.

  • The tctl admin tool and tsh client tool.

    On Teleport Enterprise, you must use the Enterprise version of tctl, which you can download from your Teleport account workspace. Otherwise, visit Installation for instructions on downloading tctl and tsh for Teleport Community Edition.

  • To check that you can connect to your Teleport cluster, sign in with tsh login, then verify that you can run tctl commands using your current credentials. tctl is supported on macOS and Linux machines. For example:
    tsh login --user=[email protected]
    tctl status


    Version 15.3.7

    CA pin sha256:abdc1245efgh5678abdc1245efgh5678abdc1245efgh5678abdc1245efgh5678

    If you can connect to the cluster and run the tctl status command, you can use your current credentials to run subsequent tctl commands from your workstation. If you host your own Teleport cluster, you can also run tctl commands on the computer that hosts the Teleport Auth Service for full permissions.
  • An AWS IAM role that you wish to grant access to your Teleport cluster. This role must be granted sts:GetCallerIdentity. In this guide, this role will be named teleport-bot-role.
  • An AWS EC2 virtual machine that you wish to install Machine ID onto configured with the IAM role attached.

Step 1/5. Install tbot

This step is completed on the AWS EC2 instance.

First, tbot needs to be installed on the VM that you wish to use Machine ID on.

Download and install the appropriate Teleport package for your platform:

Install Teleport on your Linux server:

  1. Assign edition to one of the following, depending on your Teleport edition:

    Teleport Enterprise Cloudcloud
    Teleport Enterprise (Self-Hosted)enterprise
    Teleport Community Editionoss
  2. Get the version of Teleport to install. If you have automatic agent updates enabled in your cluster, query the latest Teleport version that is compatible with the updater:
    TELEPORT_VERSION="$(curl https://$TELEPORT_DOMAIN/v1/webapi/automaticupgrades/channel/default/version | sed 's/v//')"

    Otherwise, get the version of your Teleport cluster:
    TELEPORT_VERSION="$(curl https://$TELEPORT_DOMAIN/v1/webapi/ping | jq -r '.server_version')"
  3. Install Teleport on your Linux server:

    curl | bash -s ${TELEPORT_VERSION} edition

    The installation script detects the package manager on your Linux server and uses it to install Teleport binaries. To customize your installation, learn about the Teleport package repositories in the installation guide.

Step 2/5. Create a Bot

This step is completed on your local machine.

Next, you need to create a Bot. A Bot is a Teleport identity for a machine or group of machines. Like users, bots have a set of roles and traits which define what they can access.

Create bot.yaml:

kind: bot
version: v1
  # name is a unique identifier for the Bot in the cluster.
  name: example
  # roles is a list of roles to grant to the Bot. Don't worry if you don't know
  # what roles you need to specify here, the Access Guides will walk you through
  # creating and assigning roles to the already created Bot.
  roles: []

Make sure you replace example with a unique, descriptive name for your Bot.

Use tctl to apply this file:

tctl create bot.yaml

Step 3/5. Create a join token

This step is completed on your local machine.

Create bot-token.yaml:

kind: token
version: v2
  # name will be specified in the `tbot` to use this token
  name: example-bot
  roles: [Bot]
  # bot_name should match the name of the bot created earlier in this guide.
  bot_name: example
  join_method: iam
  # Restrict the AWS account and (optionally) ARN that can use this token.
  # This information can be obtained from running the
  # "aws sts get-caller-identity" command from the CLI.
    - aws_account: "111111111111"
      aws_arn: "arn:aws:sts::111111111111:assumed-role/teleport-bot-role/i-*"


  • 111111111111 with the ID of your AWS account.
  • teleport-bot-role with the name of the AWS IAM role you created and assigned to the EC2 instance.
  • example with the name of the bot you created in the second step.
  • i-* indicates that any instance with the specified role can use the join method. If you wish to restrict this to an individual instance, replace i-* with the full instance ID.

Use tctl to apply this file:

tctl create -f bot-token.yaml

Step 4/5. Configure tbot

This step is completed on the AWS EC2 instance.

Create /etc/tbot.yaml:

version: v2
  join_method: iam
  token: example-bot
  type: memory
# outputs will be filled in during the completion of an access guide.
outputs: []


  • with the address of your Teleport Proxy or Auth Server. Prefer using the address of a Teleport Proxy.
  • example-bot with the name of the token you created in the second step.

Now, you must decide if you want to run tbot as a daemon or in one-shot mode.

In daemon mode, tbot runs continually, renewing the short-lived credentials for the configured outputs on a fixed interval. This is often combined with a service manager (such as systemd) in order to run tbot in the background. This is the default behaviour of tbot.

In one-shot mode, tbot generates short-lived credentials and then exits. This is useful when combining tbot with scripting (such as in CI/CD) as it allows further steps to be dependent on tbot having succeeded. It is important to note that the credentials will expire if not renewed and to ensure that the TTL for the certificates is long enough to cover the length of the CI/CD job.

Configuring tbot as a daemon

By default, tbot will run in daemon mode. However, this must then be configured as a service within the service manager on the Linux host. The service manager will start tbot on boot and ensure it is restarted if it fails. For this guide, systemd will be demonstrated but tbot should be compatible with all common alternatives.

Create a systemd unit file /etc/systemd/system/tbot.service:

Description=Teleport Machine ID Service

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/tbot start -c /etc/tbot.yaml
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID


Ensure that you replace:

  • teleport with the name of Linux user you wish to run tbot as.
  • /etc/tbot.yaml with the path to the configuration file you have created

TELEPORT_ANONYMOUS_TELEMETRY enables the submission of anonymous usage telemetry. This helps us shape the future development of tbot. You can disable this by omitting this.

Next, enable the service so that it will start on boot and then start the service:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable tbot
sudo systemctl start tbot

Check the service has started successfully:

sudo systemctl status tbot

Configuring tbot for one-shot mode

To use tbot in one-shot mode, modify /etc/tbot.yaml to add oneshot: true:

version: v2
oneshot: true
auth_server: ...

Now, you should test your tbot configuration. When started, several log messages will be emitted before it exits with status 0:

tbot start -c /etc/tbot.yaml

TELEPORT_ANONYMOUS_TELEMETRY enables the submission of anonymous usage telemetry. This helps us shape the future development of tbot. You can disable this by omitting this.

Step 5/5. Configure outputs

You have now prepared the base configuration for tbot. At this point, it identifies itself to the Teleport cluster and renews its own credentials but does not output any credentials for other applications to use.

Follow one of the access guides to configure an output that meets your access needs.

Next steps