DevOps

What is Pulumi? Introduction to Infrastructure as Code

pulumi languages

The concept of managing infrastructure as code is essential in DevOps environments. Furthermore, it would be impossible to maintain an efficient DevOps pipeline without it. Infrastructure-as-code tools such as Pulumi help DevOps teams automate their resource provisioning schemes at scale.

This article will introduce you to the concept of infrastructure-as-code. You will also learn why Pulumi, a modern infrastructure as code tool, is a popular tool in the DevOps community.

Infrastructure as Code Explained

Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) is the process of automating resource provisioning and management schemes using descriptive coding languages.

Before infrastructure as code (IaC), system administrators had to manually configure, deploy, and manage server resources. They would have to configure bare metal machines before they could deploy apps. Manually managing infrastructure caused many problems. It was expensive, slow, hard to scale, and prone to human error.

With the introduction of cloud computing, deploying virtualized environments was simplified, but administrators still had to deploy the environment manually.. They had to log into the cloud provider’s web-based dashboard and click buttons to deploy desired server configurations.

However, when you need to deploy hundreds of servers across multiple cloud providers and locations as fast as possible, doing everything by hand is impractical.

Infrastructure as code with Pulumi, a diagram.

IaC enables DevOps teams to deploy and manage infrastructure at scale and across multiple providers with simple instructions. All it takes is writing a configuration file and executing it to deploy the desired environments automatically. Code algorithms define the type of environment required, and automation deploys it.

What is Pulumi?

Pulumi is an open-source infrastructure as code tool that utilizes the most popular programming languages to simplify provisioning and managing cloud resources.

Founded in 2017, Pulumi has fundamentally changed the way DevOps teams approach the concept of infrastructure-as-code. Instead of relying on domain-specific languages, Pulumi enables organizations to use real programming languages to provision and decommission cloud-native infrastructure.

A list of software languages supported by Pulumi.

Unlike Terraform, which has its proprietary language and syntax for defining infrastructure as code, Pulumi uses real languages. You can write configuration files in Python, JavaScript, or TypeScript. In other words, you are not forced to learn a new programming language only to manage infrastructure.

To see how Pulumi stacks up against other similar solutions, read our article Pulumi vs Terraform

As a cloud-native platform, Pulumi allows you to deploy any type of cloud infrastructure — virtual servers, containers, applications, or serverless functions. You can also deploy and manage resources across multiple cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, or PNAP Bare Metal Cloud.

phoenixNAP’s Bare Metal Cloud (BMC) platform is fully integrated with Pulumi. This integration enables DevOps teams to deploy, scale, and decommission cloud-native bare metal server instances automatically. As a non-virtualized physical server infrastructure, BMC delivers unmatched performance needed for running processor-intensive workloads.

Pulumi’s unique approach to IaC enables DevOps teams to manage their infrastructure as an application written in their chosen language. Using Pulumi, you can take advantage of functions, loops, and conditionals to create dynamic cloud environments. Pulumi helps developers create reusable components, eliminating the hassle of copying and pasting thousands of code lines.

Pulumi supports the following programming languages:

● Python
● JavaScript
● Go
● TypeScript
● .NET languages (C#, F#, and VB)

How Pulumi Works?

Pulumi has become the favorite infrastructure-as-code tool in DevOps environments because of its multi-language and multi-cloud nature. It provides DevOps engineers with a familiar method of managing resources.

Pulumi does this through its cloud object model and evaluation runtime. It takes your program written in any language, figures out what cloud resources you want to manage, and executes your program. All this is possible because it is inherently language-neutral and cloud-neutral.

Three components make up the core Pulumi system:

• Language host. The language host runs your Pulumi program to create an environment and register resources with the deployment engine.
• Deployment engine. It runs numerous checks and computations to determine if it should create, update, delete, or replicate resources.
• Resource providers. Pulumi automatically downloads packages and plugins in the background according to your language and cloud provider specifications.

Pulumi lets you manage your infrastructure through a web app or command-line interface (CLI).

To start using Pulumi, you first have to register and create an account. Once registered, you have to specify the programming language and the cloud service, provider.

If you prefer to use the CLI, you will need to install it on your local machine and authenticate it with your account and provide secret credentials that you get from your cloud provider.

For a detailed explanation of how Pulumi works, take a look at this quick tutorial.

8 Features and Advantages of Pulumi

1. Open-source: Pulumi is free for unlimited individual use. However, if you want to use it within a team, you will have to pay a small yearly fee.

2. Multi-language: Use your favorite programming language to write infrastructure configuration files. As a language-neutral IaC platform, Pulumi doesn’t force you to learn a new programming language, nor does it use domain-specific languages. You don’t have to write a single line of YAML code with Pulumi.

3. Multi-cloud: Provision, scale, and decommission infrastructure and resources across numerous cloud service providers. Among them, phoenixNAP’s Bare Metal Cloud platform, Google Cloud, AWS, Microsoft Azure.

4. Feature-rich CLI: The driving force that makes Pulumi so versatile is its simple yet powerful command-line interface (CLI). Through the CLI, deploying and decommissioning cloud infrastructure and servers is conducted with a set of commands issued in the terminal. You can use Pulumi on Linux, Windows, and OS X.

5. Cloud object model: The underlying cloud object model offers a detailed overview of how your programs are constructed. It delivers a unified programming model that lets you manage cloud software anywhere and across any cloud provider.

6. Stacks: Stacks are isolated instances of your cloud program that differ from your other programs. With Pulumi, you can deploy numerous stacks for various purposes. For example, you can deploy and decommission staging stacks, testing stacks, or a production stack.

7. Reusable components: There is no need to copy and paste thousands of lines of code. Pulumi helps you follow best coding practices by allowing you to reuse existing code across different projects. The code does not define just a single instance; it defines the entire architecture.

8. Unified architecture: DevOps organizations can use and reuse components to manage infrastructure and build a unique architecture and testing policy. Such freedom enables teams to build an internal platform.

Conclusion

Pulumi’s support for the most popular programming languages helps DevOps stay productive without wasting time managing infrastructure. While Pulumi might not be the only infrastructure-as-code tool that doesn’t enforce a proprietary language, it is undoubtedly the most flexible because it’s cloud-agnostic.

You can leverage the power of Pulumi across multiple cloud providers by writing configuration files in languages that you are already using to run your apps.

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