Using variables with remote backend

Hey, I am thinking about using tfe provider to create organizations and workspaces in Terraform Enterprise, however I would like to use it with the remote backend

something like this:

terraform {
  backend "remote" {
    hostname     = "hostname"
    organization =

    workspaces {
      name =
  required_providers {
    tfe = {
      source = "hashicorp/tfe"
      version = "0.25.3"
provider "tfe" {
  hostname = "hostname"
  token    = "token-value"

resource "tfe_organization" "test-organization" {
  name  = "my-org-name"
  email = ""

resource "tfe_workspace" "test-workspace" {
  name         = "my-workspace-name"
  organization =

however, I cant use variables in backend configuration for workspace and organization, what could be the most optimal option to somehow create the organization and workspace and then use it in backend ?

Thank you.

Hello, and welcome to the forum!

To both create an organization and the workspace - from that workspace - presents a bit of a chicken or the egg problem - specifically, you’re trying to configure the remote backend for a workspace that doesn’t exist yet and attempting to be provisioned from the same workspace!

However, the sort of ‘bootstrapping’ you wish to do here is a common pattern: you have a ‘bootstrap’ or ‘meta’ workspace in TFC which will provision everything else you want in TFC (including separate organizations, if you like).

  • Create an organization in Terraform Cloud.
  • Configure the remote backend to use that organization. Set a workspaces name to whatever you want - if it doesn’t exist in the organization already, the remote backend will create it for you!
  • In this ‘bootstrap’ workspace, you can set the token for the TFE provider in workspace variables, and then pass it to your configuration here (like var.provider_token).
  • Now you can provision any other organizations/workspaces/whatever from this workspace! :tada:

There’s a lot of other things you can do depending on finer details about your situation, but I hope that’s a good start!

Hey Chris! Thanks for the quick reply !

This was exactly what I’ve thought, that I would have to create a “main” organization and workspace and then create other orgs/workspaces in code, but I had some hopes that I would be able to rely only on CasC, nevertheless thanks for in-depth explanation!


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