Comparing Ansible, Terraform, and Pulumi: Choosing the Right IaC Tool for Your Project

Comparing Ansible Terraform and Pulumi

In this article, we will be comparing Ansible, Terraform, and Pulumi–three popular IaC tools, to help you choose the best option for your projects.

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In the rapidly evolving landscape of DevOps and infrastructure management, selecting the right Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool is crucial for ensuring scalability, maintainability, and efficiency in your projects. Among the top contenders in the IaC realm are Ansible, Terraform, and Pulumi. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the features, advantages, and use cases of each tool to help you make an informed decision for your project.

Ansible: The Configuration Management Powerhouse


Ansible is an open-source automation tool known for its simplicity and agentless architecture. It uses YAML-based playbooks to describe configurations and tasks, making it easy to understand and write.


Install Ansible using your package manager:

Ubuntu Ansible Install

					$ sudo apt-get install ansible

RHEL7/CentOS7 Ansible Install

					$ sudo yum install ansible

RHEL8+/CentOS8+ Ansible Install

					$ sudo dnf install ansible

Create an inventory file (inventory.ini) to specify target hosts:

server1 ansible_host=
server2 ansible_host=



Let’s create a simple playbook (webserver.yml) to install and configure a web server on the target hosts:

- name: Install and configure web server
  hosts: web_servers
    - name: Install Apache
        name: apache2
        state: present

    - name: Start Apache service
        name: apache2
        state: started


Run the playbook

					$ ansible-playbook -i inventory.ini webserver.yml

Terraform: The Declarative Infrastructure Orchestrator


Terraform is a declarative IaC tool designed for creating, managing, and updating infrastructure in a safe and efficient manner. It uses HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL) to define infrastructure.


Install Terraform using your package manager:

Ubuntu Terraform Install

					$ sudo apt-get install terraform

RHEL8+/CentOS8+ Terraform Install

					$ sudo dnf install terraform


Let’s create a simple Terraform configuration file ( to provision an AWS EC2 instance:

					provider "aws" {
  region = "us-west-2"

resource "aws_instance" "web_server" {
  ami           = "ami-0c55b159cbfafe1f0"
  instance_type = "t2.micro"


Run the following commands

					$ terraform init
$ terraform apply

Pulumi: The Multi-Language Cloud Development Framework


Pulumi stands out as a multi-language IaC tool, allowing you to use popular programming languages like Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, and more. It provides a flexible and extensible approach to infrastructure management.


Install the Pulumi CLI

					$ curl -fsSL | sh
=== Installing Pulumi v3.100.0 ===
+ Downloading
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
  0     0    0     0    0     0      0      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:--     0
100  147M  100  147M    0     0  73.3M      0  0:00:02  0:00:02 --:--:--  109M
+ Extracting to /home/admin/.pulumi/bin


Set up a new Pulumi project

					$ pulumi new aws-python



Edit the file in the created project to define an AWS S3 bucket:

					import pulumi
import pulumi_aws as aws

bucket = aws.s3.Bucket('my-bucket')


Run the following command

					$ pulumi up



Choosing the right IaC tool depends on your project requirements, team expertise, and preferences. Ansible excels in configuration management, Terraform in infrastructure orchestration, and Pulumi in providing a programming language-based approach. Consider factors such as ease of use, community support, and integration capabilities to determine the best fit for your project. By exploring hands-on examples, you can gain a deeper understanding of each tool’s strengths and make an informed decision for your infrastructure needs.

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