Pulumi vs. Terraform: Choosing the Right Infrastructure as Code Tool for Your Needs

Pulumi Terraform infrastructure as code IAC tools HCL comparison benefits

3 min read | by Jordi Prats

Pulumi and Terraform are both infrastructure as code (IAC) tools that allow users to provision and manage infrastructure using code, rather than manual configuration. The main difference between the two is how they achieve this goal.

Meanwhile terraform is using it's own language to define infrastucture (HCL), pulumi can use a wide range of programming languages: JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, and Go.

Pulumi's benefits

Pulumi has some clear benefits over terraform:

  • Easier to learn: By choosing a programming language that we already know we can speed up it's adoption.
  • Debugging: Pulumi allows users to leverage their existing programming language skills and debugging tools, making it easier to troubleshoot issues.
  • Direct integration with libraries: Pulumi can be integrated with other programming languages, libraries, and frameworks, making it easier to build and deploy complex applications. This can be a double-edged razor, we need to evaluate whether the added complexity is worth it. The infrastructure code should be predictable and easy to read and understand.

When Pulumi was released it was, indeed, addressing some other issues that terraform had but , specially since the 1.0 release, to be fair we cannot count them as benefits any more.

Terraform benefits

However, Terraform has its own advantages too, such as being more mature and having more provider support, which makes it more widely adopted and supported.

  • Maturity and popularity: Terraform has been around for longer and has a larger user base, which means it has more community support and a wider range of available resources.
  • Provider support: Terraform has support for a wider range of cloud providers and infrastructure.
  • Strong community and ecosystem: Terraform has a strong community and ecosystem of providers, modules, and plugins that make it easier to provision and manage infrastructure.
  • Easier to use for simple infrastructures: Terraform's syntax is simpler and easier to use for simple infrastructures, making it less complex for beginners.
  • Mature state management: Terraform has a more mature state management system which allows for more advanced and fine-grained management of infrastructure changes. That's specially true with terraform 1.1 being able to move resources as code


In conclusion, both Pulumi and Terraform are powerful infrastructure as code tools that offer unique benefits. While Pulumi provides easier learning, debugging, and integration with other tools, Terraform boasts maturity, popularity, wider provider support, a strong community and ecosystem, and more mature state management. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on the specific needs and preferences of the user.

The main consideration we need to keep in mind is that the infrastructure code should be very clear: terraform forces us to be clear by using an almost declarative language. Pulumi, on the other hand, allow us to do whatever we want: It's our choice to choose how our infrastructure code will look like.

Posted on 24/04/2023