The global infrastructure-as-code (IaC) market is projected to be worth $2.3 billion by 2027, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 24 percent for the forecast period 2022-2027. Along with this rapid growth of IaC comes the rise of solutions designed to improve IaC management. Embracing IaC, after all, requires the use of suitable tools and platforms.
One notable IaC solution is Pulumi, an open-source IaC framework designed to enable resource provisioning through commonly used programming languages. Introduced in 2018, it has already gained a large user base, including Atlassian, which uses it to make cloud infrastructure use easier and faster and reduce maintenance work significantly. The DevOps team at SANS Institute is also using the platform to streamline app delivery.
Here’s a summary of how Pulumi makes Infrastructure-as-Code more advantageous for organizations. The benefits go beyond the convenience of being able to use a common programming language for resource provisioning.
Additionally, Pulumi comes with a rich command line interface (CLI) as well as a service backend for the management of states and secrets. Pulumi is a multifunction tool for cloud infrastructure. It also supports the services of major cloud providers such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.
High level of abstraction
Infrastructure-as-code requires abstraction to ensure readability, reduce complexity, and enable portability. Pulumi helps achieve these through real programming constructs that provide a high-level abstraction for defining infrastructure. Real programming constructs include conditionals, loops, functions, and classes, which enable the precise definition of infrastructure. They are unlike the declarative configuration files in some IaC management tools that have limited programming possibilities.
Additionally, Pulumi ensures the high-level abstraction of cloud resources, which is vital as cloud technology continues to become more prominent. This cloud abstraction makes it easy for developers to code their intent without dealing with the low-level details of the APIs of cloud service providers. In an AWS EC2 instance, for example, developers can employ a high-level construct instead of writing intricate specifics. Also, abstractions with Pulumi are intended to support cross-cloud scenarios. It is designed to be cloud-agnostic, ensuring that infrastructures support multi-cloud strategies and are not bound by onerous vendor lock-in contracts
Support for both declarative and imperative approaches
Pulumi is not limited to a declarative style of defining infrastructure. It can also be imperative, wherein the steps for resource creation and management are specified as opposed to the plain declaration or description that happens in the declarative approach. This ensures flexible IaC management, allowing users to proceed according to their preferences or specific requirements.
Many infrastructure configurations tend to involve a combination of declarative and imperative approaches. It would be restrictive if the IaC platform used is limited to a specific approach. Pulumi’s support for both declarative and imperative styles ensures fine-grained control, easier adoption and migration, and the flexibility to utilize the most suitable approach for specific components of the infrastructure.
Another notable feature of Pulumi is that it treats infrastructure as software, which means that it employs software engineering practices in infrastructure definition, employment, and management. This approach is in line with the basic idea of what IaC is all about, which is to make sure that development and operations teams get to manage, track, and provision resources without the manual configuration of hardware devices and operating systems.
Pulumi’s infrastructure-as-software approach manifests in the use of real programming constructs, reusability of configurations, support for modules and packages, state management, and high-level abstraction. It also has robust version control and can seamlessly integrate with CI/CD pipelines.
Nowadays, collaboration is no longer an option. With cloud computing and infrastructure-as-code, collaboration thrives. Collaborative efforts become even more viable with Pulumi as it brings development and operations teams more harmoniously together by providing the same selection of languages and tools. The developers responsible for the infrastructure code can use the same tools they had as they worked on the application code.
Also, Pulumi makes collaboration easier with its robust notifications and monitoring system, comprehensive configuration tracking through centralized state management, and the use of modular and reusable components. It also can integrate common collaboration tools and facilitate sharing and discoverability through the Pulumi Registry. This registry allows teams to publish their reusable modules for easy access and use by other teams.
Pulumi’s state management function contributes significantly to the advantages already described above, flexibility and collaboration in particular. However, it deserves special mention here because of the crucial role it plays in infrastructure management. Most other IaC tools provide state management, but Pulumi stands out because of its rich set of features that ensure the reliable and secure management of infrastructure configurations.
Among the notable features are multi-cloud support, the availability of various backend options to suit specific requirements, the tracking of differential states, and the ability to import existing infrastructure into the state management system. Also, Pulumi’s state management system is a good complement to collaborative development as it centralizes the state in a backend for team members to work on the same infrastructure codebase simultaneously.
As a relatively new IaC tool, Pulumi may still have a long way to go to become a preferred solution for many. However, its refreshing take on enabling the use of popular programming languages for infrastructure configuration is sure to draw attention. It makes it a highly flexible IaC solution that comes with the benefits of familiarity, multi-cloud support, and affinity for collaboration. It helps simplify the complexities in IaC while also solidifying the idea of Infrastructure-as-Code with its infrastructure-as-software approach.