Getting started with Pulumi

Managing Infrastructure as code (IaC) is dominated by well known Terraform.

However, you are confined to use the more Ops driven HCL.

Where Pulumi differs is that it lets you use languages most people are already comfortable of using - Python, Go, JavaScript, TypeScript, and C#.

Since Pulumi supports these languages it makes using loops, functions and classes easier to integrate, and enforce best practices.

In essence fusing the roles which Devs and Ops play.


A Pulumi project is any folder which contains a Pulumi.yaml file.

This file consists of the following properties.

  • name (name of the project)
  • runtime (associated language)
  • description (brief description of what purpose the project serves)


name: gcp-instance-nginx
runtime: python
description: Deploy a Nginx Server in a GCP instance


A stack is an isolated, independently configurable instance of a Pulumi program.

Stacks are commonly used to denote different phases of development (such as development, staging and production) or feature branches (such as feature-x-dev, jane-feature-x-dev).

Each stack has a configuration and update history associated with it, stored in the workspace, in addition to a full checkpoint of the last known good update.

With that being said I shall note down the steps to get up and running with Pulumi.

Installation steps for Linux

Pre requisite - Installation of runtime languages (Python, Go, JavaScript, TypeScript, or C#)

curl -fsSL | sh

Close, then open a new terminal to verify pulumi installation.

pulumi version

Access token

  • Head over to Pulumi to create a new account
  • Create a new access token (this is under your profile avatar > settings)

Make a note of the access token as it will not be visible again.

Basic steps

Using a stack

Out of the box Pulumi provides the following stack templates.

Available Templates:
    alicloud-csharp            A minimal AliCloud C# Pulumi program
    alicloud-fsharp            A minimal AliCloud F# Pulumi program
    alicloud-go                A minimal AliCloud Go Pulumi program
    alicloud-javascript        A minimal AliCloud JavaScript Pulumi program
    alicloud-python            A minimal AliCloud Python Pulumi program
    alicloud-typescript        A minimal AliCloud TypeScript Pulumi program
    alicloud-visualbasic       A minimal AliCloud VB.NET Pulumi program
    aws-csharp                 A minimal AWS C# Pulumi program
    aws-fsharp                 A minimal AWS F# Pulumi program
    aws-go                     A minimal AWS Go Pulumi program
    aws-javascript             A minimal AWS JavaScript Pulumi program
    aws-python                 A minimal AWS Python Pulumi program
    aws-typescript             A minimal AWS TypeScript Pulumi program
    aws-visualbasic            A minimal AWS VB.NET Pulumi program
    azure-csharp               A minimal Azure C# Pulumi program
    azure-fsharp               A minimal Azure F# Pulumi program
    azure-go                   A minimal Azure Go Pulumi program
    azure-javascript           A minimal Azure JavaScript Pulumi program
    azure-python               A minimal Azure Python Pulumi program
    azure-typescript           A minimal Azure TypeScript Pulumi program
    azure-visualbasic          A minimal Azure VB.NET Pulumi program
    csharp                     A minimal C# Pulumi program
    digitalocean-go            A minimal DigitalOcean Go Pulumi program
    digitalocean-javascript    A minimal DigitalOcean JavaScript Pulumi program
    digitalocean-python        A minimal DigitalOcean Python Pulumi program
    digitalocean-typescript    A minimal DigitalOcean TypeScript Pulumi program
    fsharp                     A minimal F# Pulumi program
    gcp-csharp                 A minimal GCP C# Pulumi program
    gcp-fsharp                 A minimal GCP F# Pulumi program
    gcp-go                     A minimal Google Cloud Go Pulumi program
    gcp-javascript             A minimal Google Cloud JavaScript Pulumi program
    gcp-python                 A minimal Google Cloud Python Pulumi program
    gcp-typescript             A minimal Google Cloud TypeScript Pulumi program
    gcp-visualbasic            A minimal GCP VB.NET Pulumi program
    go                         A minimal Go Pulumi program
    hello-aws-javascript       A simple AWS serverless JavaScript Pulumi program
    javascript                 A minimal JavaScript Pulumi program
    kubernetes-csharp          A minimal Kubernetes C# Pulumi program
    kubernetes-fsharp          A minimal Kubernetes F# Pulumi program
    kubernetes-go              A minimal Kubernetes Go Pulumi program
    kubernetes-javascript      A minimal Kubernetes JavaScript Pulumi program
    kubernetes-python          A minimal Kubernetes Python Pulumi program
    kubernetes-typescript      A minimal Kubernetes TypeScript Pulumi program
    linode-go                  A minimal Linode Go Pulumi program
    linode-javascript          A minimal Linode JavaScript Pulumi program
    linode-python              A minimal Linode Python Pulumi program
    linode-typescript          A minimal Linode TypeScript Pulumi program
    openstack-go               A minimal OpenStack Go Pulumi program
    openstack-javascript       A minimal OpenStack JavaScript Pulumi program
    openstack-python           A minimal OpenStack Python Pulumi program
    openstack-typescript       A minimal OpenStack TypeScript Pulumi program
    packet-go                  A minimal Go Pulumi program
    packet-javascript          A minimal JavaScript Pulumi program
    packet-python              A minimal Python Pulumi program
    packet-typescript          A minimal TypeScript Pulumi program
    python                     A minimal Python Pulumi program
    typescript                 A minimal TypeScript Pulumi program
    visualbasic                A minimal VB.NET Pulumi program

Creating a new project by initializing an empty directory

mkdir pulumi-dev; cd pulumi-dev

# where python is the name of the project template taken from the long list above
pulumi new python

Since this is the first time running Pulumi you will prompted to enter an access token.

Paste in the access token it’s the one you created earlier.

This will prompt for further Project information.

This command will walk you through creating a new Pulumi project.

Enter a value or leave blank to accept the (default), and press <ENTER>.
Press ^C at any time to quit.

project name: (pulumi-dev) 
project description: (A minimal Python Pulumi program) 
Created project 'pulumi-dev'

Please enter your desired stack name.
To create a stack in an organization, use the format <org-name>/<stack-name> (e.g. `acmecorp/dev`).
stack name: (dev) 
Created stack 'dev'

Your new project is ready to go! 

To perform an initial deployment, run the following commands:

    1. python3 -m venv venv
    2. source venv/bin/activate
    3. pip3 install -r requirements.txt

Then, run 'pulumi up'

Head over to the console to see the new stack called ‘dev’.

Lets take a look at the files generated.




name: pulumi-dev
runtime: python
description: A minimal Python Pulumi program

import pulumi



I’ve selected the runtime as Python here, so Pulumi encourages you to use a virtual environment for isolating the install of the additional Python modules away from the main OS Python modules installation area.

python -m venv venv
source venv/bin/activate
pip install -r requirements.txt

Next, run pulumi up to create/update resources in a stack

Check the stack

pulumi stack
Current stack is dev:
    Owner: ###
    Last updated: 4 minutes ago (2020-04-22 18:30:51.201134571 +0100 BST)
    Pulumi version: v2.0.0
Current stack resources (1):
    TYPE                 NAME
    pulumi:pulumi:Stack  pulumi-dev-dev
More information at:

Running updates

Next, I shall make a slight change to the file and add in the following lines.

These 2 lines applies 2 properties to the stack



pulumi.export("a", "hello")
pulumi.export("b", "world")

To deploy the changes, run

pulumi up

Next, head back to the Pulumi console. You’ll find that the Outputs of the stack updated.

Viewing stack outputs

Make sure you are in the Pulumi project directory, i.e. the one with the Pulumi.yaml file before running the command.

    pulumi stack output
    Current stack outputs (2):
        a       hello
        b       world
    pulumi stack output a
    pulumi stack output b

Adding tags to a stack

# view all tags
pulumi stack ls
NAME                VALUE
pulumi:description  A minimal Python Pulumi program
pulumi:project      pulumi-dev
pulumi:runtime      python

# add a tag
pulumi stack tag set environment dev

Removing a stack

    pulumi stack rm
    This will permanently remove the 'dev' stack!
    Please confirm that this is what you'd like to do by typing ("dev"): dev
    Stack 'dev' has been removed!
Last updated on 23 Apr 2020
Published on 23 Apr 2020