Pulumi multicloud orchestrator


Differences from Terraform

How does Pulumi perform compared with its direct competitor (and top dog) Terraform, and where do the similarities and differences lie?

First, you have to learn a declarative scripting language in Terraform: the HashiCorp configuration language (HCL), a domain-specific language (DSL). Second, certain constructs like loops, functions, and classes are not available. You will also look in vain for a counterpart to the Pulumi service in Terraform. Instead of communicating with a central service, Terraform creates local state files, which it leaves to the administrator to manage.

Pulumi offers various automation features that are completely missing in Terraform. If you use the Prometheus monitoring, alarming, and trending solution, for example, you can set up basic Pulumi integration right away. The tool integrates running stacks into the solution on request.

Pulumi Commercial

If you want to use Pulumi in a team, you need a Pulumi Team License. The Starter License is designed for three users, costs a moderate $50, and can be used to start 20 stacks. The Pro version for $75 provides access for up to 25 members, teams, and roles; unlimited stacks; and support during business hours.

If you choose the Enterprise package, the price is a matter of negotiation. The package then includes 24/7 support, policies-as-code, and an unlimited number of members in teams. As already mentioned, the Pulumi service can be operated locally if you don't want it in the cloud. A detailed list of the functions associated with each level is provided by the manufacturer on its website [3].


I like the idea behind Pulumi. Anyone who has ever worked with Terraform and rummaged through its complex syntax may have wished they already had the skills it requires. Pulumi offers this possibility, even if not all of the learning overhead is eliminated. The author of a project still has to adjust to how individual classes or functions are called in Pulumi.

What is less pleasing is the relatively hard-wired tie-in to the Pulumi service. Although the tool can theoretically be used without this service, the practical benefits of the Pulumi service are quite clear. In commercial use, however, this also means that you will have to pay; although it is open source software, it is only free for personal use.

At the end of the day, Pulumi's pricing looks reasonable. Because the single-user license costs nothing, the solution can be put through its paces before you pay a single penny to the manufacturer. If you are looking for a tool for multicloud orchestration, Pulumi is definitely worth a look.


  1. Pulumi installation script: https://www.pulumi.com/docs/get-started/install/
  2. Homebrew for macOS: https://brew.sh
  3. Pulumi Policy Packs: https://www.pulumi.com/docs/get-started/crossguard/

The Author

Martin Gerhard Loschwitz is Cloud Platform Architect at Drei Austria and works on topics such as OpenStack, Kubernetes, and Ceph.

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