Terraform Enterprise

Sentinel Policies

Prerequisites: Before starting this guide, make sure you've successfully completed a run.

» About Sentinel Policies

Policies in TFE are composed of Sentinel policies with some extra features. Sentinel is an embedded policy-as-code framework integrated with the HashiCorp Enterprise products. It enables fine-grained, logic-based policy decisions, and can be extended to use information from external sources. Within TFE, you can use Sentinel to apply checks to your runs.

A policy consists of:

  • The Sentinel policy code
  • An enforcement mode that changes how a policy affects the run lifecycle

Currently, policies in an organization apply to all workspaces. You'll want to consider that when writing your policies so they don't cause unintended failures. In the future, TFE will provide a way to manage policies so you can apply them per-workspace.

» Creating a Policy

First, make sure you're viewing the organization settings. If you're still on a run page (or any other page), click the "Settings" button in the top navigation bar.


The policy list shows all of the policies you have access to; if you haven't created any, it's empty.

To create your first policy, click the "Create new policy" button in the upper right.

new button

On the "Create a new Sentinel Policy" page, you need to enter at least two items: a policy name, and the policy code. When you've finished, click the "Create Policy" button.

fields on new policy page

» Policy Name

A policy name should tell your colleagues what the policy is for. Examples could be "Require tags on all instances" or "Enforce network ACLs". If a policy is for a particular workspace, or environment within a workspace, include the name of the workspace and/or environment.

For this example, we'll just create a sample passthrough policy that will allow all runs to "PASS" our policy check.

In this example, we're using a configuration named "minimum" and we're deploying it in a production environment, so we named it passthrough.

» Enforcement Mode

Enforcement Mode alters how a policy result affects your run; "hard-mandatory" will always stop a run if a policy fails, "soft-mandatory" will pause a run and allow a failure to be overridden, and "advisory" will log failures but always allow a run to continue. Use "soft-mandatory" for now so we can see how the "Policy Override" feature works in practice.

» Policy Code

You can paste the following code into the code input box. It always resolves to true and will allow all runs to pass. This is a good way to see policy checks applied to your run without having a policy "FAIL".

main = rule { true }

Later, you can switch true to false to see how a "FAIL" during a policy check can affect your run. You can find many more examples in our Example Policies section.

» What Happens in a New Policy

When you create a new policy, it will be applied to all future runs. Runs that are currently queued or in progress will not be affected.

» See a Policy Check in a Run

Once your policy is created, you can view its effect on the run page. Start a new run to watch it play out. Again, you can start a run with the "Queue Plan" button at the upper right of the workspace page, or using the "Save & Plan" button when editing the workspace's variables.

Your policy code will be applied to this run and you'll see a new policy check section in the run's timeline. Expand the section and you should see that our new "passthrough" policy has been run with a "true" result, allowing the run to continue.


If you change your policy code to true false, the "soft-mandatory" option will allow you to override at this stage and continue to the apply stage of the run.