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AI / Cloud Native Ecosystem / Operations

Pulumi: New Features for Infrastructure as Code Automation

Pulumi has announced new product features, including the ability to convert infrastructure across a stack from an alternative such as Terraform with accessible IaC commands.
Jun 15th, 2023 9:00am by
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Given the enormous complexity involved, orchestrating cloud infrastructure manually, even with Infrastructure as Code (IaC), is time-consuming and tough. Enterprises often have dozens and sometimes hundreds of public cloud accounts, with new ones popping up all the time.

Without a unified control plane that keeps track of application stacks across clouds and cloud accounts, achieving operational consistency, cost efficiency and resiliency becomes near impossible.

Additionally, enterprises are missing out on the opportunity to learn from what worked and what didn’t work in the past, when creating new app stacks, Torsten Volk, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, told The New Stack.

He added, “Ideally, developers will be able to define their infrastructure requirements straight from within code functions, without having to specify the exact resources needed, while the IaC platform analyzes the new app, compares it to existing apps that are similar in character, and automatically derives the optimal infrastructure resources.”

Pulumi, an IaC provider, is seeking to simplify and automate IaC for complex cloud environments (Amazon Web Services, for instance, has more than 300 infrastructure resources alone). As part of that mission, it announced new product features during its PulumiUP virtual conference on Thursday.

For those organizations that may have cloud native ambitions and struggle with just getting started, Pulumi’s new AI-enhanced and other features and existing API are designed for the task.

Other newly introduced features include the ability to convert infrastructure across a stack from an alternative such as Terraform with accessible IaC commands.

AI and Insights

When managing thousands of resources across multiple clouds, manual errors can be devastating. A proper IaC platform must prevent manual errors and streamline operations. It should provide a single source of truth and become a necessity at the scale of cloud native environments.

For serverless architectures and Kubernetes applications, for example, managing infrastructure with a programming language of your choice — features that which Pulumi provides — is also critical as IaC becomes the default choice in the cloud native world.

“Pulumi is more suitable for this new world, where infrastructure plays a different role,” Aaron Kao, Pulumi’s vice president for marketing, told The New Stack.

Pulumi’s new features are designed to increase developer productivity and operational scalability by leveraging metrics from past projects to automatically compile an optimal application stack for new projects, Volk said.

For example, he said, the analytics engine might find that leveraging SQL databases over NoSQL ones leads to a decreased number of weekly deployments that at the same time show higher failure rates and a longer mean time to recovery.

The new features Pulumi announced at its conference include:

An On-Ramp from Terraform

New feature in Pulumi that makes converting Terraform infrastructure as code easier.

Tf2pulumi, which converts Terraform projects to Pulumi programs, is now part of the Pulumi CLI. The new Terraform conversion support includes support for Terraform modules, all core features of Terraform 1.4 and the majority of Terraform built-in functions.

The tf2pulumi feature previously converted snippets of Terraform to Pulumi, and now supports conversion of most complete Terraform projects. It is now integrated with the pulumi convert command in the CLI, which can also be used to convert Pulumi YAML to other Pulumi languages.

A Deeper Dive into Cloud Resources

Pulumi Insights now lets engineers ask questions about cloud resource property values, in addition to resource types, packages, projects and stacks. This property search capability allows teams to perform deeper analysis on their resources.

The Insights feature also now allows search filtering by teams. This allows organizations to analyze resources under management per team and better estimate usage and cost.

Pulumi Insights is where Pulumi’s AI capabilities particularly shine, with a heavy implantation of ChatGPT functionality. The information retrieved by issuing commands in conversational English, and Pulumi Insights offers actionable analysis and information about how to accomplish infrastructure orchestration-related tasks.

On-Demand Infrastructure Stacks for Testing

Review Stacks, a new feature of Pulumi Deployments, are temporary, on-demand infrastructure environments created for each pull request in a repository. They allow engineers to review and test IaC changes in an isolated setting before merging them into the main branch.

The features streamlines the development process by maintaining a separation between testing and production environments and catching potential issues before they reach production. With Review Stacks, organizations can enhance resource efficiency by spinning up a test stack only when needed, which is intended to accelerate deployment cadence.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Pragma, The New Stack.
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