Concourse Up

Deprecated - used Control Tower instead
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Deprecated - use Control Tower instead

Concourse-Up has been replaced with Control Tower. First-time users should deploy using control-tower and raise issues under that project.

Concourse-Up (Deprecated)


A tool for easily deploying Concourse in a single command.


$ AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=<access-key-id> \
  AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=<secret-access-key> \
  concourse-up deploy <your-project-name>
$ GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS=<path/to/googlecreds.json> \
  concourse-up deploy --iaas gcp <your-project-name> 

Why Concourse-Up?

The goal of Concourse-Up is to be the world's easiest way to deploy and operate Concourse CI in production.

In just one command you can deploy a new Concourse environment for your team, on either AWS or GCP. Your Concourse-Up deployment will upgrade itself and self-heal, restoring the underlying VMs if needed. Using the same command-line tool you can do things like manage DNS, scale your environment, or manage firewall policy. CredHub is provided for secrets management and Grafana for viewing your Concourse metrics.

You can keep up to date on Concourse-Up announcements by reading the EngineerBetter Blog

Feature Summary

  • Deploys the latest version of Concourse CI on any region in AWS or GCP
  • Manual upgrade or automatic self-upgrade
  • Access your Concourse over https access by default, with auto-generated or self-provided cert.
  • Deploy on your own domain, if you have a zone in Route53 or Cloud DNS.
  • Scale your workers horizontally or vertically
  • Scale your Concourse database
  • Presents workers on a single public IP to simplify external security policy
  • Database encryption enabled by default
  • Includes Grafana metrics dashboard (check http://your-concourse-url:3000)
  • Includes CredHub for secret management (see:
  • Saves you money by using AWS spot or GCP preemptible instances where possible, restarting them when needed
  • Idempotent deployment and operations
  • Easy destroy and cleanup

Feature Table

Feature AWS GCP
Concourse IP whitelisting + +
Credhub + +
Custom domains + +
Custom tagging BOSH only BOSH only
Custom TLS certificates + +
Database vertical scaling + +
GitHub authentication + +
Grafana + +
Interruptable worker support + +
Letsencrypt integration + +
Namespace support + +
Region selection + +
Retrieving deployment information + +
Retrieving deployment information as shell exports + +
Retrieving deployment information in JSON + +
Retrieving director NATS cert expiration + +
Rotating director NATS cert + +
Self-Update support + +
Teardown deployment + +
Web server vertical scaling + +
Worker horizontal scaling + +
Worker type selection + N/A
Worker vertical scaling + +
Zone selection + +
Customised networking + +


  • One of:
    • The environment variables AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY are set.
    • Credentials for the default profile in ~/.aws/credentials are present.
    • Credentials for a profile in ~/.aws/credentials are present.
    • The environment variable GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS_CONTENTS set to the path to a GCP credentials json file
  • Ensure your credentials are long lived credentials and not temporary security credentials
  • Ensure you have the correct local dependencies for bootstrapping a BOSH VM


Download the latest release and install it into your PATH


Global flags

  • --region value AWS or GCP region (default: "eu-west-1" on AWS and "europe-west1" on GCP) [$AWS_REGION]
  • --namespace value Any valid string that provides a meaningful namespace of the deployment - Used as part of the configuration bucket name [$NAMESPACE].

    Note that if namespace has been provided in the initial deploy it will be required for any subsequent concourse-up calls against the same deployment.

Choosing an IAAS

The default IAAS for Concourse-Up is AWS. To choose a different IAAS use the --iaas flag. For every IAAS provider apart from AWS this flag is required for all commands.

Supported IAAS values: AWS, GCP

  • --iaas value (optional) IAAS, can be AWS or GCP (default: "AWS") [$IAAS]


Deploy a new Concourse with:

concourse-up deploy <your-project-name>


$ concourse-up deploy ci

fly --target ci login --insecure --concourse-url --username  --password

Metrics available at using the same username and password

Log into credhub with:
eval "$(concourse-up info ci --env)"

A new deploy from scratch takes approximately 20 minutes.


All flags are optional. Configuration settings provided via flags will persist in later deployments unless explicitly overriden.

  • --domain value Domain to use as endpoint for Concourse web interface (eg: [$DOMAIN]

    $ concourse-up deploy --domain chimichanga

    In the example above concourse-up will search for a hosted zone that matches or and add a record to the longest match ( in this example).

  • --tls-cert value TLS cert to use with Concourse endpoint [$TLS_CERT]

  • --tls-key value TLS private key to use with Concourse endpoint [$TLS_KEY]

    By default concourse-up will generate a self-signed cert using the given domain. If you'd like to provide your own certificate instead, pass the cert and private key as strings using the --tls-cert and --tls-key flags respectively. eg:

    $ concourse-up deploy \
      --domain \
      --tls-cert "$(cat" \
      --tls-key "$(cat" \
  • --workers value Number of Concourse worker instances to deploy (default: 1) [$WORKERS]

  • --worker-type Specify a worker type for aws (m5 or m4) (default: "m4") [$WORKER_TYPE] (see comparison table below). Note: this is an AWS-specific option

AWS does not offer m5 instances in all regions, and even for regions that do offer m5 instances, not all zones within that region may offer them. To complicate matters further, each AWS account is assigned AWS zones at random - for instance, eu-west-1a for one account may be the same as eu-west-1b in another account. If m5s are available in your chosen region but not the zone Concourse-Up has chosen, create a new deployment, this time specifying another --zone.

  • --worker-size value Size of Concourse workers. Can be medium, large, xlarge, 2xlarge, 4xlarge, 10xlarge, 12xlarge, 16xlarge or 24xlarge depending on the worker-type (see above) (default: "xlarge") [$WORKER_SIZE]

    --worker-size AWS m4 Instance type AWS m5 Instance type* GCP Instance type
    medium t2.medium t2.medium n1-standard-1
    large m4.large m5.large n1-standard-2
    xlarge m4.xlarge m5.xlarge n1-standard-4
    2xlarge m4.2xlarge m5.2xlarge n1-standard-8
    4xlarge m4.4xlarge m5.4xlarge n1-standard-16
    10xlarge m4.10xlarge n1-standard-32
    12xlarge m5.12xlarge
    16xlarge m4.16xlarge n1-standard-64
    24xlarge m5.24xlarge

    * m5 instances not available in all regions and all zones. See --worker-type for more info.

  • --web-size value Size of Concourse web node. Can be small, medium, large, xlarge, 2xlarge (default: "small") [$WEB_SIZE]

    --web-size AWS Instance type GCP Instance type
    small t2.small n1-standard-1
    medium t2.medium n1-standard-2
    large t2.large n1-standard-4
    xlarge t2.xlarge n1-standard-8
    2xlarge t2.2xlarge n1-standard-16
  • --db-size value Size of Concourse Postgres instance. Can be small, medium, large, xlarge, 2xlarge, or 4xlarge (default: "small") [$DB_SIZE]

    Note that when changing the database size on an existing concourse-up deployment, the SQL instance will scaled by terraform resulting in approximately 3 minutes of downtime.

    The following table shows the allowed database sizes and the corresponding AWS RDS & CloudSQL instance types

    --db-size AWS Instance type GCP Instance type
    small db.t2.small db-g1-small
    medium db.t2.medium db-custom-2-4096
    large db.m4.large db-custom-2-8192
    xlarge db.m4.xlarge db-custom-4-16384
    2xlarge db.m4.2xlarge db-custom-8-32768
    4xlarge db.m4.4xlarge db-custom-16-65536
  • --allow-ips value Comma separated list of IP addresses or CIDR ranges to allow access to (default: "") [$ALLOW_IPS]

    Note: allow-ips governs what can access Concourse but not what can access the control plane (i.e. the BOSH director).

  • --github-auth-client-id value Client ID for a github OAuth application - Used for Github Auth [$GITHUB_AUTH_CLIENT_ID]

  • --github-auth-client-secret value Client Secret for a github OAuth application - Used for Github Auth [$GITHUB_AUTH_CLIENT_SECRET]

  • --add-tag key=value Add a tag to the VMs that form your concourse-up deployment. Can be used multiple times in a single deploy command.

  • --spot=value Use spot instances for workers. Can be true/false. Default is true.

    Concourse Up uses spot instances for workers as a cost saving measure. Users requiring lower risk may switch this feature off by setting --spot=false.

  • --preemptible=value Use preemptible instances for workers. Can be true/false. Default is true.

    Be aware the preemptible instances will go down at least once every 24 hours so deployments with only one worker will experience downtime with this feature enabled. BOSH will ressurect falled workers automatically.

    spot and preemptible are interchangeable so if either of them is set to false then interruptible instances will not be used regardless of your IaaS. i.e:

    # Results in an AWS deployment using non-spot workers
    concourse-up deploy --spot=true --preemptible=false <your-project-name>
    # Results in an AWS deployment using non-spot workers
    concourse-up deploy --preemptible=false <your-project-name>
    # Results in a GCP deployment using non-preemptible workers
    concourse-up deploy --iaas gcp --spot=false <your-project-name>
  • --zone Specify an availability zone [$ZONE] (cannot be changed after the initial deployment)

If any of the following 5 flags is set, all the required ones from this group need to be set

  • --vpc-network-range value Customise the VPC network CIDR to deploy into (required for AWS) [$VPC_NETWORK_RANGE]

  • --public-subnet-range value Customise public network CIDR (if IAAS is AWS must be within --vpc-network-range) (required) [$PUBLIC_SUBNET_RANGE]

  • --private-subnet-range value Customise private network CIDR (if IAAS is AWS must be within --vpc-network-range) (required) [$PRIVATE_SUBNET_RANGE]

  • --rds-subnet-range1 value Customise first rds network CIDR (must be within --vpc-network-range) (required for AWS) [$RDS_SUBNET_RANGE1]

  • --rds-subnet-range2 value Customise second rds network CIDR (must be within --vpc-network-range) (required for AWS) [$RDS_SUBNET_RANGE2]

    All the ranges above should be in the CIDR format of IPv4/Mask. The sizes can vary as long as vpc-network-range is big enough to contain all others (in case IAAS is AWS). The smallest CIDR for public and private subnets is a /28. The smallest CIDR for rds1 and rds2 subnets is a /29


To fetch information about your concourse-up deployment:

$ concourse-up info --json <your-project-name>

To load credentials into your environment from your concourse-up deployment:

$ eval "$(concourse-up info --env <your-project-name>)"

To check the expiry of the BOSH Director's NATS CA certificate:

$ concourse-up info --cert-expiry <your-project-name>

Warning: if your deployment is approaching a year old, it may stop working due to expired certificates. For information please see this issue


All flags are optional

--json Output as json [$JSON] --env Output environment variables --cert-expiry Output the expiry of the BOSH director's NATS certificate


To destroy your Concourse:

$ concourse-up destroy <your-project-name>


Handles maintenance operations in concourse-up


All flags are optional

  • --renew-nats-cert Rotate the NATS certificate on the director

    Note that the NATS certificate is hardcoded to expire after 1 year. This command follows the istructions on to rotate this certificate. This operation will cause downtime on your Concourse as it performs multiple full recreates.

  • --stage value Specify a specific stage at which to start the NATS certificate renewal process. If not specified, the stage will be determined automatically. See the following table for details.

    Stage Description
    0 Adding new CA (create-env)
    1 Recreating VMs for the first time (recreate)
    2 Removing old CA (create-env)
    3 Recreating VMs for the second time (recreate)
    4 Cleaning up director-creds.yml


When Concourse-up deploys Concourse, it now adds a pipeline to the new Concourse called concourse-up-self-update. This pipeline continuously monitors our Github repo for new releases and updates Concourse in place whenever a new version of Concourse-up comes out.

This pipeline is paused by default, so just unpause it in the UI to enable the feature.

Upgrading manually

Patch releases of concourse-up are compiled, tested and released automatically whenever a new stemcell or component release appears on

To upgrade your Concourse, grab the latest release and run concourse-up deploy <your-project-name> again.


Concourse-up now automatically deploys Influxdb, Riemann, and Grafana on the web node. You can access Grafana on port 3000 of your regular concourse URL using the same username and password as your Concourse admin user. We put in a default dashboard that tracks

  • Build times
  • CPU usage
  • Containers
  • Disk usage

Credential Management

Concourse-up deploys the credhub service alongside Concourse and configures Concourse to use it. More detail on how credhub integrates with Concourse can be found here. You can log into credhub by running $ eval "$(concourse-up info --env --region $region $deployment)".


Concourse-up normally allows incoming traffic from any address to reach your web node. You can use the --allow-ips flag to add firewall rules to prevent this. For example to deploy Concourse-up and only allow traffic from your local machine, you could use the command concourse-up deploy --allow-ips $(dig +short --allow-ips takes a comma seperated list of IP addresses or CIDR ranges.

Estimated Cost

By default, concourse-up deploys to the AWS eu-west-1 (Ireland) region or the GCP europe-west1 (Belgium) region, and uses spot instances for large and xlarge Concourse VMs. The estimated monthly cost is as follows:


Component Size Count Price (USD)
BOSH director t2.small 1 18.30
Web Server t2.small 1 18.30
Worker m4.xlarge (spot) 1 ~50.00
RDS instance db.t2.small 1 28.47
NAT Gateway - 1 35.15
gp2 storage 20GB (bosh, web) 2 4.40
gp2 storage 200GB (worker) 1 22.00
Total 176.62


Component Size Count Price (USD)
BOSH director n1-standard-1 1 26.73
Web Server n1-standard-1 1 26.73
Worker n1-standard-4 (preemptible) 1 32.12
DB instance db-g1-small 1 27.25
NAT Gateway n1-standard-1 1 26.73
disk storage 20GB (bosh, web) + 200GB (worker) - 40.80
Total 180.35

What it does

concourse-up first creates an S3 or GCS bucket to store its own configuration and saves a config.json file there.

It then uses Terraform to deploy the following infrastructure:

  • AWS
    • Key pair
    • S3 bucket for the blobstore
    • IAM user that can access the blobstore
      • IAM access key
      • IAM user policy
    • IAM user that can deploy EC2 instances
      • IAM access key
      • IAM user policy
    • VPC
    • Internet gateway
    • Route for internet_access
    • NAT gateway
    • Route table for private
    • Subnet for public
    • Subnet for private
    • Route table association for private
    • Route53 record for Concourse
    • EIP for director, ATC, and NAT
    • Security groups for director, vms, RDS, and ATC
    • Route table for RDS
    • Route table associations for RDS
    • Subnets for RDS
    • DB subnet group
    • DB instance
  • GCP
    • A DNS A record pointing to the ATC IP
    • A Compute route for the nat instance
    • A Compute instance for the nat
    • A Compute network
    • Public and Private Compute subnetworks
    • Compute firewalls for director, nat, atc-one, atc-two, vms, atc-three, internal, and sql
    • A Service account for for bosh
    • A Service account key for bosh
    • A Project iam member for bosh
    • Compute addresses for the ATC and Director
    • A Sql database instance
    • A Sql database
    • A Sql user

Once the terraform step is complete, concourse-up deploys a BOSH director on an t2.small/n1-standard-1 instance, and then uses that to deploy a Concourse with the following settings:

  • One t2.small/n1-standard-1 for the Concourse web server
  • One m4.xlarge spot/n1-standard-4 preemptible instance used as a Concourse worker
  • Access via over HTTP and HTTPS using a user-provided certificate, or an auto-generated self-signed certificate if one isn't provided.

Using a dedicated AWS IAM account

If you'd like to run concourse-up with it's own IAM account, create a user with the following permissions:

Using a dedicated GCP IAM member

A IAM Primitive role of roles/owner for the target GCP Project is required


CI Pipeline (deployed with Concourse Up!)



To build and test you'll need:

  • Golang 1.11+
  • to have installed

Building locally

concourse-up uses golang compile-time variables to set the release versions it uses. To build locally use the script, rather than running go build.

You will also need to clone concourse-up-ops to the same level as concourse-up to get the manifest and ops files necessary for building. Check the latest release of concourse-up for the appropriate tag of concourse-up-ops


Tests use the Ginkgo Go testing framework. The tests require you to have set up AWS authentication locally.

Install ginkgo and run the tests with:

go get
ginkgo -r
$ go get
$ ginkgo -r

Go linting, shell linting, and unit tests can be run together in the same docker image CI uses with ./ This should be done before committing or raising a PR.

Bumping Manifest/Ops File versions

The pipeline listens for new patch or minor versions of manifest.yml and ops/versions.json coming from the concourse-up-ops repo. In order to pick up a new major version first make sure it exists in the repo then modify tag_filter: X.*.* in the concourse-up-ops resource where X is the major version you want to pin to.

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