Terraform VS Pulumi

03 Jun 2024

The Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) world is levelling up.

With more IaC tools popping up, DevOps teams are looking to the future and evaluating the best tools to use for their infrastructure automation.

The two most popular tools? Pulumi and Terraform.

In this article, we’ll compare Terraform and Pulumi, and dive into the pros and cons of each. Terraform stands as a tried-and-true favourite, boasting extensive platform support and a wealth of documentation. On the flip side, Pulumi emerges as the new kid on the block – a fresh, developer-friendly tool that’s quickly capturing attention with its rapid growth.


Terraform started trending around 2015-2016 when HashiCorp unleashed it upon the world. From there, it exploded! Everyone hopped aboard the IaC train, realising Terraform was the golden ticket for sorting out their tech across all those cloud platforms. People were in love with its no-nonsense syntax and how well it worked with every cloud provider.


Pulumi started to get noticed around 2017-2018, kind of like when a cool indie band starts making waves. Over the years, it’s been picking up the pace as more and more people dive into what it can do. People like Pulumi because it enables them to use their preferred programming languages like Python, TypeScript, or Go to handle their infrastructure. Plus, its real programming vibe and slick integration with different cloud providers make it stand out in the crowd. While it might not be as well known as Terraform just yet, Pulumi’s definitely making the right kind of noise in the DevOps and cloud world.

Let’s dissect the pros and cons, and shed some light on the future of both IaC tools.

Terraform Pros:

  • Easy Syntax: Utilizes a simple declarative syntax, making infrastructure management straightforward and easy to understand.
  • Strong Community: Benefits from an extensive community support network, providing a wealth of documentation, plugins, and modules for various use cases.
  • Reliable Deployments: Promotes immutable infrastructure principles, enhancing predictability and reliability in deployments.

Pulumi Pros:

  • Flexible Programming: Allows using familiar programming languages like Python, TypeScript, or Go, making it easier for developers to define infrastructure.
  • Dynamic Capabilities: Provides access to loops, conditionals, and functions, enabling infrastructure code to be more dynamic and expressive.
  • Integrated Cloud Features: Seamlessly integrates with cloud provider APIs, enabling efficient utilization of provider-specific features and services.

Terraform Cons:

  • Expression Limitation: Has limitations in expressing complex logic compared to full-fledged programming languages, potentially restricting flexibility.
  • Dependency Management: Managing dependencies in larger projects can be cumbersome and may require additional effort.
  • Update Challenges: Updates and releases may not always be backward compatible, necessitating adjustments to existing infrastructure code.

Pulumi Cons:

  • Learning Curve: Requires programming knowledge, which may pose challenges for individuals without a programming background
  • Version Limitation: Tied to specific language versions, which might limit flexibility in updates and require adherence to language updates and releases.
  • Limited Resources: Relatively smaller community and ecosystem compared to Terraform, leading to fewer resources, modules, and community-driven support.

When choosing between Terraform and Pulumi for IaC, both tools offer distinct advantages. Terraform stands out for its established presence, extensive module library, and simplicity, making it a reliable choice for those seeking a mature and well-supported platform. However, its limitations in expressing complex logic and managing dependencies can be viewed as potential downsides.

On the other hand, Pulumi’s use of familiar programming languages and its dynamic capabilities offer a modern approach to defining infrastructure. And, although it has a smaller community and limited support right now, its growing ecosystem positions it as an increasingly attractive alternative.

Ultimately, the decision will depend on your or your team’s expertise, project requirements, and personal preferences.

What are your thoughts?

For more insights into the current tech trends get in touch with Jamie: [email protected]

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