Building a future of cloud engineering

Posted by Joe Duffy on Oct 22, 2018 5:00:00 AM
Joe Duffy
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We founded Pulumi because of a deeply held belief that the cloud promises to change all aspects of software development and that there remains an incredible opportunity to reimagine the entire experience, from idea to creation to delivery to management, with one person in mind: you, the engineer.

Too often, we still think of the cloud as an afterthought, as though it were still 1998 with virtual machines and XML configuration. At Pulumi, we believe instead that the cloud is a first class application architecture concern. We still use thankless tools, markup languages, and brittle, homegrown delivery platforms. At Pulumi, we believe instead in a lovable and productive development experiences, with excellent collaboration and reuse.

Since getting started just over a year and a half ago, we’ve stood on the shoulders of giants, tapping into decades of progress our industry has made in programming languages, runtimes, and frameworks, and marrying it with all the amazing innovation in cloud containers, orchestrators, managed data and AI services, and serverless capabilities.

The best part of this journey has been hearing from our passionate community. Thousands of engineers, and hundreds of companies, have created and deployed cloud applications and infrastructure using Pulumi. We are proud to be an open source company, and thrive on the daily collaboration and evolution of the platform.

And we’re just getting started! Today we are thrilled to announce that we’ve raised $15M in additional funding from our partners, Madrona Venture Group and Tola Capital, both here in Seattle. We are honored by their shared belief in our vision and our team. Read more in our press release.

How We Got Here, a Tale of Cloud Evolution

We have seen stunning advancement in cloud platform capabilities. It’s hard to believe that Docker was launched just five years, and AWS Lambda only three, ago! And yet, these technologies change all aspects of how we create, deliver, and manage cloud software. Meanwhile, the cloud has become more programmable with APIs everywhere.

At the same time, “DevOps” as an approach to organizing teams and developing software has matured greatly, and is now the default for many organizations. New practices such as infrastructure-as-code, immutable infrastructure, and Site Reliability Engineering have modernized these roles, giving us approaches that can leverage more rigorous software engineering practices to tasks that used to be more ad-hoc, manual, and error prone.

But despite these fundamental changes, the way we engineer the cloud hasn’t fundamentally changed. We still think of configuration as an afterthought and a task best suited for JSON, YAML, or DSLs. Each individual resource we provision -- even fine-grained ones like serverless functions -- requires often an equal amount of configuration as there is actual application code. The lack of expressiveness has led us to resort to bolting on templating systems, writing mountains of bash, and overall find ourselves swimming in a sea of complexity.

The problem is, these are crude approximations of real languages. They lack real abstraction, sharing, and reuse. You can’t fire up your editor and refactor, test, or analyze your code to find bugs ahead of time. Instead, you find simple syntax errors when it’s too late, after production is on the floor. Developers hate to touch those configuration languages, and yet simultaneously operators want to be more productive and empower their teams to collaborate.

It's safe to conclude: we have hit the limits of the “afterthought” approach.

Towards Cloud Engineering

We believe in a future where developers and operators alike can meet on common ground to work together. We like to call this combined discipline cloud engineering. It's not Dev, it's not DevOps, and it's not SRE; it's the best of all of them. In this new future, our teams will experience more joy, collaboration, and productivity than ever before.

Enter Pulumi.

Using your favorite general purpose programming language -- whether it is JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, Go, or something else -- you can express the entirety of your cloud software. You can develop it in your favorite editor, with statement completion, built-in documentation, and interactive feedback when you’ve got something wrong. You can test things and benefit from static analysis and linters that enforce best practices. You can reuse packages, publish your own, and refactor your code just like with application code. In fact, after living in this world for long enough, the boundary between infrastructure and application code begins to blur.

This has led to a phrase we use a lot at Pulumi -- program the cloud -- our rally cry, if you will.

Just like code, we can collaborate with source control systems like Git -- code reviewing changes, pushing and pulling code to perform deployments -- using easy but robust continuous delivery workflows. Thanks to real languages, a cloud object model, and programmable cloud APIs, the system has true semantic understanding of your cloud software, its resources and their relationships, which can be used for rich deployment statuses and to organize and find information more easily. It's never been such a breeze to go from idea to production.

We’ve become enamored by this new approach to creating software that is truly born in the cloud. But it’s not just our own belief -- it is working terrifically in practice. We have worked with organizations of all sizes -- small ISVs to Fortune 500 Enterprises -- to vastly improve their team efficiency and velocity. We almost always reduce configuration sprawl by an order of magnitude thanks to Pulumi, leading to a level of productivity that these teams previously hadn’t imagined was possible. Developers, operators, and managers alike are loving living in this future of cloud engineering.

Pulumi’s Next Chapter

We’ve only just begun. Pulumi supports AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Kubernetes in a big way, with early support for VMWare vSphere and OpenStack. Our delivery platform works great with your favorite CI systems. Expect to see continued growth in all of these areas, in addition to new clouds, languages, and integrations.

Today we launched the Team Edition for our SaaS delivery platform. This includes many features that you, the community, told us you need to better operationalize Pulumi within your teams. We already have many happy customers using these features successfully for organizations big and small. Expect to see a steady stream of improvements, in addition to Enterprise Edition capabilities for the largest of organizations needing on-premises, advanced security, and custom identity. Please always let us know how we can better meet your needs.

This new round of funding will allow us to strengthen our commitment to open source and community, increase our R&D velocity, and also scale our business to enable organizations of all sizes to successfully achieve cloud engineering within their teams. We are hiring in all areas of the company as we enter this next exciting chapter of the company.

Download Pulumi for free over at pulumi.io -- we can't wait to see all the great things you build next with Pulumi!

Joe & Eric

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